Here in the South Bay of Los Angeles where I live and across our Palos Verdes Peninsula there is no greener time of year than these months of March and April. St. Patrick’s Day next week is famous for its “wearing of the green,” and Earth Day has been the nation’s greenest environmental holiday since its founding on April 22, 1970 by U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson from Wisconsin.
Even without a calendar, green is the color of our local So Cal scene as spring arrives here long before reaching the rest of the United States and bursting, budding nature abounds to bless us in dazzling displays of trees, plants and flowers.
The birds wintering here have all paired up by now and are busy building nests. The “Zing!” and supersonic aerial displays of our abundant crop of hummingbirds fills the skies and our hearts.
All of this intense green focus brings us the perfect opportunity to seize this verdant moment to reach out and help bring our well meaning friends, family and colleagues into a Greenius state of mind in a movement I’m dubbing, “The Sharing of the Green.”
We all know people (some of you are reading this right now) who have good green intentions but who, for a variety of reasons are just not yet walking the walk. Some of my friends say they know all about CFL bulbs and how much they’ll save in energy use and shrink their carbon footprint, but they’re not going to switch from their incandescent bulbs until they burn out one by one. Not exactly the most insightful or responsible thinking, but it is what it is and they’re not going to become part of the solution without our help.
I say it’s up to those of us who have already gone green to help bring these slackers along, and there’s no better time of year to start sharing than right now.
St. Patrick’s Day takes on a
whole new green meaning when you explain that Ireland now leads the world in not just four leaf clovers but also in their reduction of plastic bag use.
The Irish are smiling like a Lucky Charms leprechaun after cutting their plastic bag proliferation by 90%. They did it by imposing a 22-cent tax for each bag taken home from the store. So rather than bring your St. Patrick’s day party host a gift of green beer, I suggest bringing them some reusable grocery bags.
And instead of bringing a bottle of wine or some flowers the next time we’re invited over for dinner at a friends, I recommend we share the green by bringing our hosts a pack of CFL bulbs or rechargeable batteries. I’m saying let’s use birthdays, Mother’s Day, anniversaries, baby showers and all the other regular gift-giving occasions to give our recipients things like a water filter pitcher and reusable water bottle to get them using tap water to replace bottled water.
We can give a gift basket of eco-friendly cleaning supplies to replace Mom’s toxic soup versions. Microfiber “miracle” towels are a highly prized gift. A rain barrel, a push lawnmower or a composter all make great housewarming gifts.
A solar powered charger for the cellphone, digital camera and MP3 player is the perfect gift for your graduate, one they’ll appreciate and also find very cool indeed.
I’m sure you can think of other great green gifts that would be perfect for your specific friends and their unique circumstances. Each one will make their own bit of difference and have the chance in their own subversive way of changing your friends forever more.
Many of these friends would never buy any of these green products for themselves, but they will give them a try if they receive one as a gift. And once they discover how easy and rewarding it is to be green we’ll have added another member to the green team.
Another easy way to drive the Sharing of the Green is to gift your friends with memberships in local park, beach and public lands support groups and larger organizations like the Sierra Club, National Audubon Society, Trust For Public Lands, Nature Conservancy, World Wildlife Foundation, Environmental Defense Fund, or the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society – to name a few.
This is the natural time of growth and renewal and here in my corner of paradise our local landscape is rewarding us once again with breathtaking scenes of joy and beauty.
But we Greenius types know that our idyllic slice of heaven – like the rest of the planet – is at great risk due to global warming, just as we know that we must vastly increase our ranks to meet the challenge. The enlightened on this subject are still a small percentage of the masses. Even our own seemingly intelligent and informed family and friends can easily become so overwhelmed with the pressures and stress of getting through their day and week that they just have no bandwidth left to go green.
Those of us who ARE doing everything we can to protect and improve our environment need to realize our own efforts will never be enough and that everyone we have any influence with must also come over to the green side to force a true tipping point. To make the force work for us, we’ve all got to be green Yoda-style, if you grok where I’m coming from.
Through The Sharing of the Green we can creatively exert that Jedi-like influence by enticing our friends using the same successful technique drug dealers have historically employed – The first time is always free. Once they get a taste of how easy and satisfying it is to be green they’ll be hooked and they’ll be one of us. Then we’ll begin to wield an impact far beyond our current numbers and we can become the weight that tips the balance and the straw that stirs the drink.