The most passionate environmentalist I’ve ever known was Chris Utterback. To her, all offenses were equally serious whether it was defiling a public space with graffiti or chopping down a rain forest. She cared deeply for the earth and couldn’t understand why everyone didn’t feel the same sense of responsibility.
One day we were driving though the quiet Connecticut countryside where she lived and came across a pile of trash heaped on the roadside. She slammed on her brakes and we jumped out of the car, picked up the litter, bagged it and put it on the back of her station wagon. As we got back in, I sighed and said, “Planetkeeping is a full-time job.” Chris looked at me as if I’d said the most brilliant thing and without saying so, we both volunteered to be Planetkeepers.
Planetkeeping isn’t just a full-time job; it’s a demanding one that requires vigilance and a willingness to do more than our share simply because it’s the moral choice. Planet-keeping is motivated by a sense of responsibility to nature and other people, whether we know them or not. It assumes that we’ll take care of whatever is ours to care for no matter how difficult or challenging that may be. Planetkeepers refuse to be influenced by the indifference or apathy of others.
As Marianne Williamson points out, folks who are part of the solution tend to be more optimistic about solving big problems than those who just fret. Here are a few idea starters for better Planetkeeping.
Master the 30-second commute. If you don’t already work at home, consider how much time and energy you could save if your office was only a few steps, rather than many miles, away from your living space.
Donate, don’t dump. Replacing your cellphone? Find a place that will recycle them or give it to a woman’s shelter. Cars and computers are two other items that can be recycled through community agencies. Start at Earth 911 to find out what’s happening in your part of the world.
Make your office or studio as green as possible. Go to GlobalIdeasBank.org which is a clearinghouse of information and resources. Another favorite of Planetkeepers is the sassy Ideal Bite site. They also send out a tip every day.
Vote for folks who are serious about taking care of the planet. And make a loud noise around those officials who are contributing to the problem—or who are profiting from bad policies.
Follow this example. Take a look at the way Virgin enterprises has involved both their employees and others interested in projects that make a difference.
There’s nothing unbusinesslike about sharing the benefits of your industry with happy, fulfilled people and a planet that is going to be there in all its glory for our children and grandchildren. ~ Richard Branson