Forgive me, world, but while your valuable resources dangle on life support, I am carelessly stumbling over you like a gluttonous drunk from hell. I am locked into a thoughtless lifestyle full of habits that I stubbornly refuse to change, or even recognize exist. I am arrogantly pretending that someone else will make sacrifices that I will not. I am like a negligent parent who rolls over and pretends not to hear their sick child crying out in the middle of the night. I am a weak and greedy man who is doing nothing to help you because I am selfish and I am lazy. I am an environmental negligent, and I am sorry.
This all really dawned on me the other day when I noticed myself carelessly tossing my empty, plastic soda bottle into the wastebasket. It must have subconsciously occurred to me, at least at that moment in time, that it was too inconvenient for me to stand up, walk three steps, and toss it into the cardboard recycling box. Hell, with the right aim I probably could have tossed it into the basket without even standing. I wonder how many times in the past I have acted so carelessly without even thinking about it?
I do not want to be too hard on myself. It is rare, I think, that I consciously choose to make such stupid decisions. In fact, the soda bottle incident is my proof that my actions are not intentional. One would have to be full-blown prick to choose that kind of behavior. Not that it is any better, or any kind of acceptable excuse, but I simply do it out of habit.
Did I mention that I teach Environmental Science at the high school level? Soak in that chilling bath of irony.
Okay, let us now move on from that embarrassing detail of my life and get to the moral of my story. Environmental negligence, I think, stems more from habit and/or convenience then it does from choice. People, I think, do not intentionally enlarge their carbon footprint. I think we just move through the day unaware of many of our actions, which is understandable. We are busy folks and our minds are constantly occupied with the thousands of little tasks that we need to complete throughout the day just to keep from being crushed by the suffocating lives that we decided we want to live. So, we forget the green promises we make to our fellow humans and to ourselves. We neglect the environment, and the resources we need to survive.
Know that the purpose of Project Green Steps is not to climb up on a virtual soapbox and self-righteously preach a greener way of life. This is not my style. The purpose of Project Green Steps is for me to develop a greater awareness of the negligent actions that I exhibit everyday so that I can be more in tune with my personal goals of reducing my own carbon footprint, even if it is only one small, habit-breaking step at a time.
I will share my experiences and thoughts with you, and you may receive them as you wish. Maybe you will be revolted by my lazy and selfish ways and want to tell me what a degenerate I am. This is welcome. Maybe you will find tidbits of wisdom in my writings and feed my arrogance with showers of compliments. This, too, of course, is welcome. Or, maybe you will just feel less guilty about your ways, and realize that you are not the only one on this beautiful planet who acts in environmentally negligent ways. There is at least one more of you here (me). Any of these responses, I hope, will allow the content on this site to resonate with you long enough that it might surface in your conscious thought tomorrow. And, if that thought smacks you with the right force and at just the right time, maybe it will result in you too making one tiny step toward a “greener” planet.
Put another way, the philosophy behind Project Green Steps is not to aim for monumental, lifestyle-changes that will help you “Save the Planet”. Further, I will make no delusional promises about eliminating our dependency on non-renewable energy, solving the world hunger problem, or providing fresh water to all people of the world. Project Green Steps is nothing more than one fool’s personal reflections on his own negligence, and the hope that the awareness that comes from those reflections can lead to at least one person (me) reducing their carbon footprint in at least a small way. I do invite you, of course, to learn from my foolish experiences, and join me by becoming more aware of your own environmentally negligent habits.
Now, if you will excuse me, the lights in my basement have been on for hours and nobody is down there. I think I should turn them off.