Eco-Living Magazine

A Choice of Words

Posted on the 26 December 2011 by 2ndgreenrevolution @2ndgreenrev

A Choice of WordsTo achieve our goal of getting people to care about the peril the planet is in, perhaps all we need to do is change a few words. The first is such a little word it shouldn’t matter but I think it represents the kind of shift we need to make in our collective psyche about how we treat our planet.

Our global society thinks of THE environment. THE environment frames our supportive life systems as an IT, a THING. THE environment is something separate from ourselves. References to THE environment can be something one care’s about on par with caring about THE schools, THE health care system and other progressive issues.

But what if we were to change that little article THE to OUR? Our environment is a more powerful, more intimate connection. Our environment is in trouble, it is our soil, our air, our fresh water which we depend on. In that context everyone is an environmentalist, because it is ours and no one is exempt from caring for what sustains us.

Once we attach ourselves psychologically to OUR earth, we are more likely to envision an active role in acts of sustainability.

When we change this small word we create the possibility that people can hear our messages. The other word we need to use is frequently is LIMITED. We live in a place of LIMITED resources. When we understand that we have a limited world, with finite amounts of fossil fuels, rubber, water etc, we will understand that the worse thing we can do is permit an unlimited demand on them. Growth will become the buzz word for disaster, instead of the buzz word for good news.

When we overgrow, we overspend our limited resource “accounts”. The concept of “Overpopulation” still lives under the shadow of age old taboos, but it could come out of the closet and stand tall as a story that is real and in need of our attention.

When “limited” becomes the adjective attached to the vocabulary of our resources, we just might begin to see the foolishness of worshiping growth on a limited earth. When we can understand the suffering that can be prevented by limiting our numbers on a limited earth we will be able to truly make a positive difference on OUR planet.

[Image created at Wordle]

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