The hardest thing about loving your planet is being accused of being against progress. Don’t I want other people to make money? To lift themselves to a comfortable middle-class life? Don’t I want the area I live in to be well-lit, and safe? Doesn’t everyone deserve to benefit from all the opportunities that tourism can bring?
I’m going on the record: I’m not against progress. I want people to make money. I want to know that I live in a safe neighborhood.
But I also want to hear birds chirping, to see fireflies glowing, to watch flowers blooming and fruits ripening. These pastoral joys are simple and not ‘progressive’. So sue me.
Is it going backwards when you don’t accept a plastic bag with every purchase you make? Or when you take the bus instead of a private vehicle because of (1) insufficient parking and (2) fuel that’s costly in more ways than one? (Progress would be accepting the ‘modern’ plastic bag, or using your own vehicle, correct?)
I am not one of those who think that you ought to follow all the traditions or none. I’ve always been fond of the Middle Way. Consciously choose what's right for you. Balance is difficult; it’s perfected over time. But it is precariously possible. If you want it.
There’s no point in being reactionary, and saying ‘Down with change!’ merely because it is change. There’s also no point in saying ‘Ooh! Shiny new stuff!’ and running after it especially if it will find its way into your system and kill you. We can’t go back to the Middle Ages because the world has changed a whole lot since then. But we can shape the future using what we have learned since that time.
A cleaner world can mean a vibrant economy. It definitely means more responsible citizens of the planet. It means a better you and me.
This is the season for repentance, yes, but action too. Here's to that!