Random Acts of Greenness
We have all heard of inspiring random acts of kindness that bring a little of the miraculous into people’s daily lives. When such acts occur serendipitously between strangers and bring about a positive change, it’s all the more amazing.
Discreetly contributing such “random acts of kindness” towards the environment can have the same effect. Though some critics unreasonably claim that environmentalists are people-haters – concerned about animals and trees and the atmosphere rather than their fellow humans – the realities of environmental conservation work actually prove the opposite. It is my personal conviction that working towards the conservation of the environment contributes to the preservation of human life. For without adequate environment and ecosystem services it is a challenge to support, let alone preserve and dignify human life. Environment conservation in this sense is as much as a moral responsibility as the preservation of human life itself.
If we care therefore for the welfare of our fellow humans random acts of kindness towards the environment are as meaningful as those which are aimed directly at our fellow humans. Some call this “random acts of greenness.” Holland College recently launched a campaign under this title that aims to encourage and reward “environmentally responsible” people. Earth Day Network launched A Billion Acts of Green this year to encourage people worldwide to pledge an act of green, whether as simple as not wasting water or as big as organizing a community event.
We too can contribute our random act of greenness towards the good of the environment. Here are some suggestions for a starting point:
Buy Local There are many benefits in buying local goods. Buying local food in particular means you are getting fresh produce, keeping food miles at a minimum, and supporting your local community. If there are other locally manufactured products you can buy like crafts, furniture, and other goods and commodities it would also be a good idea to choose them over imported ones.
Check that Box According to Joanna Yarrow’s book How to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint, the average adult receives a whopping 42 lbs. of unsolicited mail annually. She recommends registering with a mail preference service and checking the “Don’t pass on my address box” in application forms. Perhaps not many will notice your discreet act of greenness, but your mailbox (and the forests) certainly will.
Care for an Urban Tree After the fanfare of tree planting drives, most of these young trees are left behind and forgotten. Research says that the first five years are crucial to the survival and growth of an urban tree. If you see an urban treeling that looks like it could use a little TLC, why not start there? (It might be necessary to check with local authorities first before working on urban and street trees.) Urban trees usually suffer and die from improper pruning, topping, poor soil, etc. For a list of tips on how to care for an urban tree, visit TreePeople’s website.
Learn One Skill A simple skill learned with a little effort and patience can bring great benefits and advantages. Learn knife skills to reduce waste when preparing food. Not only will this help deal with those inevitable thick peelings but it might also save a couple of fingers in the future. Learn how to fix electronics or furniture so you don’t have to unnecessarily buy new ones. Learn how to go on a foraging hunt, or participate in a citizen science project for the environment.
Not only will you look good with your new skill, you can also share them with others anytime and contribute to the good of the environment.
Random acts of greenness can happen anytime, anywhere, as long as there’s a person willing to contribute something good without the need for recognition. And each time a random green act is silently accomplished, an unseen ripple of good travels through the web of life we are all part of, bringing something of the miraculous to each of us.
Photo Credit: Some Rights Reserved by Yogendra174 via Flickr.
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