Is it time for you to say ‘Enough!’?

Filed in Blog by on April 22, 2011 14 Comments
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Find your passion and say 'Enough!'

Find your passion and say 'Enough!'

Welcome to the Earth Day Blog Carnival

This post is part of the Earth Day Blog Carnival hosted by Child of the Nature Isle and Monkey Butt Junction. Each participant has shared their practices and insights of earth friendly, environmentally conscious, eco-living. This carnival is our way to share positive information and inspiration that can create healing for our planet. Please read to the end of this post to find a list of links to the other carnival participants. Happy Earth Day!

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One of the greatest setbacks to humans achieving their full potential is lack of belief.

Back in January 2008, when I announced to Mr Green I wanted us to recycle more he said “what difference can we make? We’re just one family’.

He had a point, right?

What IS the point of putting yourself through something difficult when your work is undone by your neighbours dumping 3 bins of rubbish each week?

What is the point making careful purchasing choices when other people don’t bother?

What is the point of voting with your money and ‘going without’ when a huge corporation doesn’t even notice the drop in sales you have created?

What’s the point of going to the effort of reducing your waste when households are only responsible for a small fraction of the overall waste created in this country?

What is the point of separating your recycling when you see collectors dump it all in the same receptacle?

These are the questions we get asked all the time and the very ones Mr Green presented me with at the beginning of our challenge.

Don't let your neighbours actions dictate yours

Don't let your neighbours actions dictate yours

The thing is, humans are also capable of doing great things. We’ve put man on the moon. I can stand in a field in the middle of nowhere and send an email to someone on the other side of the world from my telephone. We can get into cases of steel, take off into the air to arrive on the other side of the world in a few hours…

One of the things I repeat ad nauseum to journalists is that if every one on the UK recycled just one more tin can per week, that would be 60 million tin cans being kept out of landfill. So my point here is that collective impact can be phenomenal. No one person has all the answers, but if we work together we can achieve things we once thought impossible.

We’ve got women the vote, abolished slavery in some parts of the world and fought against apartheid; all because enough of us stood up and said ‘Enough!’ Imagine how different the world would look if we said ‘Enough!’ to wasteful practises.

If we voted with our money, realised the power we hold and refused to buy excessively packaged items – we could change the world overnight…

But we have to have Will.

A man who stood up and said "Enough!" to racism and Apartheid

A man who stood up and said "Enough!" to racism and Apartheid

We have to be prepared to go through some inconvenience, to change some of our comfortable habits, to maybe even go without a few of our favourite items, to be an advocate for change, to do things that might seem a bit ‘weird’ – and going against the herd presents us with deep psychological challenges for very good reason. If we go back to our cave-dwelling days, being ousted from the herd was a dangerous place to be because our survival depended on us being part of the clan. Those instincts, despite no longer being necessary for our survival as such, still run deep within us. The majority of us care about what others think of us and want approval from others before standing up for what they believe to be right.

Sometimes though, we have to put aside these feelings and listen to our conscience. We have to do what we know in our hearts to be right, no matter how difficult our choices might be. Sometimes we have to walk away from the herd and go alone. We have to be the pioneer (and being a pioneer is never easy), we have to walk through the jungle of consumerism with a machete and clear the way for others.

Sometimes, we have to stand up and say ‘Enough!’

It is time to clear the path towards what you know is right?

It is time to clear the path towards what you know is right?

3 years ago we were like the average UK consumer – we threw 2 bins of waste away per week, we recycled nothing and we didn’t give any thought to what we put into our bin. As long as we got up in time to get the bin to the kerbside, that was all we cared about.

I believed I cared about the environment, but I guess I didn’t care enough to do something about it.

Then we found ourselves in a a traumatic situation and found an article and photo that changed our lives forever.

The situation was being caught in flash flooding where I thought I’d never see my husband again. The article was about marine life dying from eating plastic. An albatross was found dead with plastic toothbrushes, broken toys and bottle caps in its stomach – the things we were using as a family on a daily basis.

A turtle was choking on an carrier bag; that bag belonged to a consumer at some point in its short life – maybe that was OUR bag!

This, coupled with the fact we now have a child who we need to leave a beautiful and healthy planet to was our ‘Enough!’ moment.

Recognise anything you've thrown away recently?

Recognise anything you've thrown away recently?

We realised we had to say ‘Enough!’ to doing harm to the environment, plants and animals.

We realised we had to say ‘Enough!’ to big corporations that continue to harm the environment.

We realised we had to say ‘Enough’ to reliance on manufacturers to make things for us which we can make ourselves.

We realised we had to say ‘Enough!’ to throwing things away and buying new, when it was good enough to repair.

We realised we had to say ‘Enough!’ to aggressive marketing that lures us into buying things we don’t need.

We realised we had to say ‘Enough!’ to accepting we were without power to make informed and conscious decisions.

We realised we had to say ‘Enough!’ to believing things were not our responsibility and that it was time to take action, no matter how small.

We realised we had to say ‘Enough!’ to believing anything other than we all have the power to change the world.

Today is Earth Day – could you use it as a platform to rise up and say ‘Enough!’ about something you feel passionate about?

Or will you absolve responsibility and risk ending up leaving this as your legacy?

itmaylookbleakson

Earth Day Blog Carnival - Child of the Nature Isle and Monkey Butt JunctionVisit Monkey Butt Junction and Child of the Nature Isle to read all about the Earth Day Blog Carnival.
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Going Green in 2011 – Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama discusses the way she and her family are going “greener” in 2011.

Our Greatest Teacher – Amanda at Let’s Take the Metro shares her experiences with her children and nature, their greatest teacher.

Dreaming of Spring Gardening – Erin of the Waterloons talks about the ultimate in local food, her backyard garden.

Earth Conscious Minimalism – Nada at miniMOMist thinks minimalism can help you save the world — as long as you don’t just toss everything in the trash! Check out Her list of places to donate (bet you haven’t thought of them all!).

Blessings to the Earth – Amy at Anktangle believes that a simple act, such as being intentionally grateful for our food, is just the catalyst we need to bring about large-scale change.

Eight Movies to Inspire Change – Mrs Green at Little Green Blog shares her top 8 movies that have inspired her to take action to make the world a better place. She’d love to hear your suggestions to add to her viewing list!

Can I Have a Green Period Too? Kelly at Becoming Crunchy shares the environmental impact of switching to sustainable menstrual products, along with offering a great Mama Cloth giveaway for anyone interested in making the switch (and for those who already have and want to increase their stash!).

An Eden to Call Our Own – Lucy at Dreaming Aloud shares how learning to care for the Earth starts in her own garden.

Elimination Communication – Melissa at the New Mommy Files discusses the environmental impact of diapering, and why elimination communication was the best choice for her family.

The Living Earth: A Meditation in Science and Reverence – Seonaid at The Practical Dilettante asks you to pause to wonder at the blessing of the fact that our living planet is here at all.

Earth Day Anthem – Amanda at Let’s Take the Metro created a poem in honor of Mother Earth, women and nurturers everywhere.

The Plasticity of Compromise – Zoie at TouchstoneZ shares how she is working to compromise on healthy family living and avoiding plastics whenever possible.

Earth Day Resolutions – Charise at I Thought I Knew Mama shares why she has decided to make Earth Day resolutions, what those resolutions are, and how they are a step up from her current efforts at green living.

Is it time for you to say “Enough!”? Mrs Green at My Zero Waste asks you to rise up and say ‘Enough!’ on Earth Day.

Homeschooling with the Earth – Terri at Child of the Nature Isle shares her desires and dreams for Earth-based learning and the ways her two young children have already started a natural curriculum.

Beyond the Green Sheen – Jenn at Monkey Butt Junction offers some advice on how to avoid greenwashing and make purchasing choices that really have a positive impact.

About the Author ()

I am a long time supporter of the Green and Sustainable lifestyle. After being caught in the Boscastle floods in 2004, our family begun a journey to respect and promote the importance of Earth’s fragile ecosystem, that focussed on reducing waste. Inspired by the beauty and resourcefulness of this wonderful planet, I have published numerous magazine articles on green issues and the author of four books.

Comments (14)

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  1. Julie Day says:

    Yes, we do have to say enough. I for one now want to up my recycling intake after reading and seeing this. I am seriously thinking of doing what you do and write to companies asking why their packaging isn’t recycleable. And am thinking of starting up a business talking about this.

  2. Nick Palmer says:

    Wow Rachel. That is a superb bit of writing. It would work brilliantly as Henry V/ I have a dream type oratory.

  3. Ever since you submitted this article to the blog carnival, I have thought about that picture of the decaying bird filled with plastic trash. I see that picture in my mind every time I see trash along the freeway, or worse, along my beloved running trails. A project that I have for myself this summer is to dedicate one of my long runs each week to cleaning up the trash as I run…carting a trash bag with me that gets progressively heavier will be good for my workout too.

    For my family, we need to learn to reduce. We reuse, we recycle, but we buy way too much tossable trash. This year we are making an effort to make choices that result in less trash, less throwaway. It isn’t easy – nearly everything has packaging! But it is worth it. I see that picture of the bird from your blog, and I remind myself, it is worth it.

  4. Nada says:

    Just before I read your post, I said to my husband, “I”ve read some of this lady’s posts before and she is hardcore green.” And then you go and prove me completely right. Oh Mrs. Green, your passion is catching! More and more people are standing up and saying “Enough!” Everywhere you look, there are more gardens sprouting, more blue bags appearing, more hybrids on the roads. And with people like you leading the charge, I think we have a fighting chance of having our “Enough!” heard!

  5. What an absolutely incredible and inspiring pep talk! I’m going to share this post in various ways!

  6. What an inspiring read! I love what Nada said; change is here, and it has started rather small, but I believe it will grow and it’s people like you who encourage me to continue to being a part of it. Thanks for this!

  7. Yes – ENOUGH! I think that you have put out a call to all of human kind that needs to be heard, taken seriously, and acted upon. Too many people ingore their environmental responsibilites becuase they feel that one person won’t make a difference. You show that yes, one person can. Amazing post! Brilliant! Thank you for such an important contribution

  8. Kelly says:

    Thank you for sharing your story here – and the power one person can have. It is all too easy to forget that sometimes – along with the extent of garbage just one person can produce!

    It is time to say enough. Thank you for this powerful post…

  9. Terri says:

    This is a powerful piece – yes it really is time to say Enough! You are so right about the challenges one faces when stepping away from the herd, the crowd but we must make that leap. If we just made one little change it makes a huge collective difference. As Nada says, people are starting to pick up on green living now so in lots of ways, the path is being cleared.

    This post has inspired me…I use cloth bags but always seem to allow plastic to sneak in on me. Now is time for my enough moment – the thought a turtle choking on a bag I have used…no I can’t let that happen. I’m making a full commitment to cloth bags again.

    Love the photo of the machete – these are a common part of life where I live. I’m going to think of myself with one in hand as I step out on a path less traveled.

    Thank-you for submitting such a powerful post to the Earth Day Blog Carnival

  10. Amy says:

    Wow, thank you for this inspirational post! I feel a renewed sense of (productive) anger about what we’re doing to this Earth with our waste. We can all strive to be better, and every little bit makes a big difference. Thanks again for writing this!

  11. Poppy says:

    Amazing Mrs G and a good reminder of the cause we support and the route I drag my oft reluctant dh along, Luckily Master P is usually more supportive and I’m very pleased to say, that with the arrival of the new waste policy in town, more of neighbours appear to be joining in.

  12. What a powerful and persuasive piece of writing. Well done! Really hard hitting – great structure. And yes, what a shocking pic of that albatross. Go Mrs G! Will be sharing it with hubby who may well share with the Cork Environmental Forum…

  13. This is a perfect Earth Day carnival post, I think, because it is a compassionate call to action. I agree with you that each of us can make a difference. We can practice our ideals. We can educate ourselves. We can be compassionate advocates with others who may be struggling or feel that an individual can’t make a difference. If enough of us, individuals, take action it will create global change.

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