It?s Pretty Easy Being Green, If You Just Take It Easy, Man:
The Nuevo Green Fad
By Rev. Art Schaub
Have you Dudes noticed lately how this “Going Green” thing has gone from a handful of radical tree hugging hippies a few years back to a mainstream media everyday concern? Ever since the Bush administration admitted global warming actually exists, under the crushing pressure of irrefutable, overwhelming evidence, generally in the form of state sized pieces of melting ice falling into polar waters, there has been a surge of “Let’s all pay attention to the environment now that it is too late.” Sorry to the crazy hippies we’ve been making fun of for years, seems like you deadbeat losers were right all a long. “My condolences sirs, the bums were right.”
But now, in this “New Green Movement” we can, ostensibly, stop global warming, save the polar bears from treading water, halt deserts from expanding into agricultural lands and pretty much fix up the whole earth in general by purchasing the right products. We can decrease our “carbon footprint” with environmentally friendly purchases. Here in America the precedent has already been set, when there is a crisis it’s time to go shopping!
Unfortunately, as a dude who has worked with environmental issues for some 20 years or so, I gotta say this new “Go Green” hits me as too little too late. And all the sudden hype and advertising over this issue, that implies I personally have to take action by buying the right stuff, leaves me feeling like I’ve been thrown a ringer for ringer.
I’m not saying buying a hybrid vehicle, recycling, using biodegradable washing detergent, changing my light bulbs and eating organic won’t have an effect. I’m not even saying it’s not the right thing to do. I’m just saying they knew about this global warming stuff 30 years ago and no one in the mainstream cared to pay attention until now. The same people that were calling this environmental crisis a myth and a hindrance to the economy and progress a couple years ago are suddenly are out there pushing for making our corn crop into “green” car fuel.
The bottom line is this, buying “green” products and recycling is not going to save the planet, plain and simple. These actions might help alleviate guilt but until people worldwide dramatically change their habits, consumptions rates, reproductive rates and the economic model which drives us the planet is eventually screwed.
Yet, now, I feel like “green” is being crammed down my throat ever day through media hype and advertising. It has also been used to create a new market for selling more stuff. You may notice these “green” products generally come at a significantly higher price tag then the regular “brown earth” equivalents — enough so to exclude the masses of poor to middle income people it would take to purchase enough of this stuff to make any difference. Therefore, due to this fact, the whole “Go Green” movement comes across to the average Dude as an elitist, high brow endeavor that allows the politically correct, eco-groovy rich to alleviate their guilt and feel superior to the rest of us at the same time. They can now go to their cocktail parties and brag to their friends how they have “Gone Green” by purchasing a hybrid vehicle which sits parked next to the SUV in the driveway of an oversized mansion that houses two people. At the same time these elitists can point out how “brown” everyone else is and if people were just a bit more informed and enlightened enough to care as they do the world would be a better place, etc. Meanwhile, as a society we need to keep consuming more than we ever have or our entire economy will collapse. Where is the “green” in this scenario?
The Grass is Always Greener
When I let go of what I am,
I become what I might be
— Lao Tzu
The nature-minded dude sees past the hype and realizes this “new green” movement for the superficial pretentious fad that it is; in a nutshell, a bunch of fucking amateurs. Fortunately, as a dude you can relax (as if you weren’t going to anyway), you’re already doing your part, perhaps without even realizing it. I’m not saying Dudes are the greenest out there but they are greener than most. Dudes tend to consume less by doing less and generally do not fall into the income bracket that allows them to be significant consumers. OK, so, Dudes are fairly green by nature and that is cool but let’s now pay tribute to the real hard core greenists out there. When it comes to being green, these creeps can roll, man.
To find the greenest out there you have to climb down off of the La-Z-Boy and go outside. We do not recognize these “ultra green” low impact, earth loving citizens as the awesome environmentalists that they are. No, we generally pity them, look down upon them, throw them change or pretend that they are not there. We call them the homeless. Those lowly losers that should just do as their parents had to do and get a job are without a doubt the “greenest” citizens we have. Being green is all about consuming less resources and no one consumes less then people who do not have any money and cannot participate in the consumer economy.
Case in point; I was out hiking along a local wash looking for birds last summer here in Tucson, Arizona. I was out behind a shopping center when I stumbled across an encampment in an abandoned weedy lot. It was a bum camp. A nice bum camp at that. This guy had an array of fresh produce that he had salvaged from the local dumpster, onions and potatoes mostly, neatly stored in bins, completely edible and for all I know possible organic. Other dry goods where stored under tarps. All these supplies which were sustaining this Ultra-greenist would have ended up in a landfill requiring fuel and resources to take it there and bury it. Never mind all the fuel, water, chemicals and labor that went into producing this perfectly edible food that ended up in the dumpster. This happens everywhere, every day all over America — an endless waste of perfectly good food. Except when there is an Ultra-greenist there to intercept and use this “waste”. Our earth lover was not using any electric, very little water and I really doubt he owned a car. So, perhaps necessity is the mother of invention and if that is true there is no one more “green” out there then the self sufficient homeless. Nevertheless, we as a society do not value these people for their “go green” approach or lack of carbon footprint, we ostracize them as unproductive bums. They are seen as parasites, not recyclers. This shows that being truly green is not a path that our society actual respects. Reducing the guilt of over consumption is the true goal of the “new green movement”.
The Dude In The Middle
The middle path is the way to wisdom.
— Mevlana Rumi
All right, I know what you?re thinking: “So, the real hard core bums are the ‘greenest’ around? Well, they can have the title because I’m not giving up my recliner, my old beatup car or my apartment, even if I am behind on the rent.”
No need man, I’m not even suggesting it. The Ultra-Green bum is an extremist. We can admire him and compliment him for his purity and sacrifice for the green cause, yet realize that we as dudes do not want or need to take it that far. We can take the middle path — live in relative comfort but still know we can walk up to any mansion living, hybrid-driving holier-than-thou and proudly state “Greener then you are.”
We as dudes can take a lesson from a much wiser man then the lot of us who over 2500 years ago showed us the Middle path is the correct path. His name was Siddhartha Gotama, the Buddha.
The Buddha came from a rich elaborate palace; he was a prince and lived a very extravagant, consumptive, non green life for about 30 years or so. He went outside his palace one day and saw how much suffering there was in the world, so he left to try and figure a way around all that bad stuff he saw out there and hoped to teach others how to not suffer. He knew his rich life style at the palace was not the correct way to live. Yet, he was not immediately successful in finding the correct path. He spent time dabbling in Acetism, living out in the woods in rags and eating almost nothing as a way to gain spiritual purity. His life style was extreme, in many ways similar to the guy living in the back lot off dumpster food. Buddha was as green as could be but he found no enlightenment there, only hunger and more suffering. He did not run back to the comforts and luxuries of the palace, however. Far from it. He kept at it and eventually found that having just enough food and shelter to be comfortable and spending a lot of time sitting and concentrating on doing as little as possible was the way to Nirvana, ultimate bliss. Sound a bit familiar? Put a white Russian in his hand and a spliff in his pocket and you got your self a genuine Dude.
Any Major Dude Will Tell You
Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.
So, we as dudes have found the middle way. Ideally, we are as green as we can comfortably be. We do not over consume because — most likely — we do not have the resources to do so and, perhaps more importantly, we do not have the desire. The simple life is the happy life for the dude and it is also a greener way of treating the planet. Too many possessions would be too much to keep track of and maintain — too many strands in the old duder’s head. A trusty beat up car is a car that does not have to be made from raw extracted natural resources — it’s greener than a new car, no matter what the gas mileage, because it already exists. And we certainly are not making a carbon footprint by rushing off to commute to work everyday. Throw in some nice worn-in furniture, a rug to practice Tai Chi on and a bathtub for meditation and that’s it, we’re peaceful, happy and green. Dudervana — or at least getting there.
Great! We are already green. And how proud we all are of us. So, can we go greener? Sure. There are lots of opportunities. If you are a Dude with a plot of land put in a vegetable garden. Gardening is a pretty passive and peaceful activity which results in food that didn?t have to be picked by a machine, driven across the country to the grocery store and hell, you didn’t even have to drive the old beater to go buy it for that matter — just walk out there and pick ‘er. Besides, if you are crafty you might even find a secluded suitable area to grow some good ganja weeds.
If you don’t have land try joining a Community Supported Agriculture farm. These things are popping up all over the country and the world for that matter. You pay for a share at a local farm and get a weekly haul of fresh veggies. Usually more then a dude can eat. Maybe you can barter rent with the remainder. Who knows, there might even be enough potatoes for you to take a try at making your own vodka. Perhaps this can expand into a home made Kaulua endeavor, but please, Dude, fair trade, organic coffee only.
And let’s not forget to keep avoiding getting that next job as long as possible. Going to work uses up lots of resources and let’s face it, most jobs in our society are useless and generally interested in justifying their own existence. Besides, if you work you will have more disposable income and feel more inclined to buy shit you do not need therefore becoming part of the problem. It’s a vicious cycle, don’t get sucked into the lie.
Also, as a final note, dudes tend to not be big into the whole reproductive thing. Not making more people could be your greatest gift to the planet and you can feel OK about consuming a few extra white Russians for pay back. Now, if you are helping a lady friend conceive, well, that really isn’t your decision is it?
So, Dudes, consume as little as possible and try to make what you do consume local. Simply Abide, as you already do, walk the middle path, enjoy the simple life and you’re doing your part being green.
So there ya have ‘er, bout raps it up, the Green dude, takin ‘er easy for all the carbon producing over-consumptive sinners out there. Fellow dudes can and should take comfort in that.