Virtue is in the Green
Being Green is genuinely making the best choices for the environment as can be managed in everyday action as its own reward. The action of being green is not just the means to an end, but an end unto itself : I feel better carrying my reusable bags or buying local just because I know I should.
The motivation for ecological choices, individual or corporate, must be simply to lead an honorable life, company, society or country, with the only reward being the knowledge that future generations of all the earth’s resources and species will benefit, perhaps even after no one here now is around to prove it.
The individual can only be satisfied with his or her choices because the best choice, for its own sake as it relates to conservation, has been made with the best information at hand: The company can not act to simply to improve corporate standing and the individual can not act based only on a need to define themselves to others, around the subject of environmentalism. Those actions are helpful, but not authentically Green.
If outside perception is relied on for validation, there are too many ways in which the will to continue can be interrupted. And though to act environmentally for the wrong reasons is better than not acting at all, surly once the shine has worn off the attention, so will the behavior diminish. In a 2005 article, David Roberts at Grist disagreed, stating that personal virtue isn’t enough to sustain environmentalism, because there aren’t enough virtuous people. He believes the structures of government and society are the means to environmental success. But those governments must be lead by individuals who will act justly around the topic of environmentalism. Classes on Environmental Ethics have wrestled with the concept for decades.
To me, Green is thoughtful behavior that is its own reward. Green is not being driven to act environmentally by law, popularity or financial gain, but by choosing to do it. There are longer definitions, but this one seems like the best way to get started.
Carrie K. Shoptaw
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