EIGHT FOUNDATIONAL PRINCIPLES FOR GREEN LIVING
by CS Sherin
(This was previously published in Recipe For A Green Life, chapter three, the following is an edited version, by the author, on October 12, 2017.)
Green living is renewable, sustainable, and holistic.
Green living is rooted in ethics, personal responsibility, and grassroots efforts.
We invest in a Green world, and divest from what isn’t Green.
Green living fosters mutually beneficial and healthy relationships, and is based on core values that are rooted in respecting and honoring health, Nature, and all life.
The Eight Foundational Principles For (Sustainable, Renewable, Holistic) Green Living, in-depth:
- GREEN LIVING IS RENEWABLE. Ethical practices are employed and adhered to when using and managing materials and resources in a renewable way. The materials and resources themselves are renewable when they are easily and naturally replaced through natural cycles in and of Nature. These cycles must occur in a time frame that allows for renewal of the material or resource so that it may continue to thrive in Nature. Ethically responsible assessment, standards, and management are essential in maintaining balance. From another perspective, one’s own personal life needs to be treated with a renewable approach as well. Our daily choices of what to invest our time, energy, skills, resources, and currency into need to be aligned with renewable practices and standards for self and others. At another level, we make our Green lifestyle renewable through walking our talk and by practicing holistically minded self-care. We must care for ourselves responsibly in order to have enough health and energy for Green actions and values that are transparent and effective. From the personal, to the collective and global, renewable practices and standards are of primary importance.
- GREEN LIVING IS SUSTAINABLE. When something is sustainable, a big-picture and long-term perspective is being employed along an ethics-based aim for responsible stewardship of resources, pollution levels, and non-renewable resources, practices, and materials. Successful sustainability means that negative impacts are eliminated and long-term ecological health and balance are maintained. This is the Green living moral code and undertaking. Consumerism, exploitation, factory and other institutional models objectifying life and resources; pollution and toxicity, and materialism are not sustainable, and haven’t been sustainable for some time. These root causes take a heavy and destructive toll on all life on Earth. We, who strive in Green living, see this, and seek to embody sustainability in as many ways as possible, maintaining a perspective for the big-picture and long-term with action, education, and networking. This approach to and of sustainability can be applied to every choice that is made in each day: from the smallest decisions to massive operations in cities, countries, and worldwide. From macro to micro, a dedication to sustainability is applicable in multiple ways, and is of primary importance for health and balance.
- GREEN LIVING IS HOLISTIC. We cannot talk about health and balance for people without talking about health and balance for Nature, and how all lives are interconnected. A Green life seeks to maintain that interconnected balance—preserving health, habitats, resources, communities, diversity, and biodiversity. Green living isn’t one niche, such as “plastic-free” or “zero-waste,” “minimalist” or “vegan.” Green living encompasses all of Nature, whole communities of living beings, resources, health, ecosystems, and our one essential ocean, as well as all water sources on and under land. Holistic traditionally means that the medical, mental health, or spiritual care provided addresses and takes into account not just the injury/disease/diagnosis, but the person as a whole. Holistic medical care recognizes that everything about a person (background, genetics, family life, work, education, mobility, hobbies, resources, beliefs, stress levels, effective coping tools in one’s possession, relationships, habits, strengths, disabilities, traumas, opportunity, and internal components as well—mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical) is all interconnected. A holistic approach, in the traditional context, attempts to ensure that you are not solely identified by or reduced to a diagnosis, which can dehumanize and compartmentalize interrelated issues. Similarly, Green living is best approached holistically. And so, aims for Fair Trade principles for all wages and workers—domestic, foreign, and local. A Green life aims to be toxin-free, single-use plastic-free, cruelty-free, conflict-free, minimalist, and waste-free. A Green life commits to a perpetual aim to be ethically renewable and sustainable in daily choices and actions at home and out in the world. All issues and crises on the planet are symptoms related to the whole. And even though a single person may not be able to directly deal with and address all issues, the holistic mindset and awareness is necessary. Recognizing, facing, learning about, and addressing barriers to Green choices and actions is required in order to effect real and lasting positive change for the better. Barriers to Green living, in general and in broad terms include: organized corruption, abuse, exploitation of life and resources, cruelty, neglect, pollution and waste, lax standards, poor leadership, financial instability, and lack of ethical leadership. In addition, factory, industrial, corporate, and military models for institutions of all kinds, along with discrimination, illness, oppression, and slavery are also contributing barriers and problems. Not all barriers mentioned are directly related to general Green living on a personal and daily level, yet all barriers affect the ability for all to have the freedom and basic rights to a Green life—to healthy water, air, food, relationships, habitats, and homes. A holistic perspective and awareness, as well as a willingness to address any barriers, when there is an opportunity to, are of primary importance.
- GREEN LIVING IS ROOTED IN CRITICAL THINKING, CREATIVITY, PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY, AND GRASSROOTS EFFORTS. We (those striving for a Green lifestyle) embrace and encourage critical thinking, adaptability, practicality, simplicity, creativity, and grassroots efforts. We live by and promote ethical standards, transparency, walking the talk, critical thinking, and responsible, ongoing research. We depend on adaptability and creativity in dealing with dynamic and continually changing conditions, situations, and needs. Our unique, individual, and grassroots efforts are the opposite of Greenwashing. Grassroots efforts happen in our personal lives and at home first, and grow from there authentically and transparently. Conversely, Greenwashing is a façade that in someway hides corrupt strategies. The act of Greenwashing attempts to steal away the real grassroots movement for profit, and/or to dissolve it through commercialization. The human role of being on Earth is crucial; we must recognize and stand for equity, respect, independence, and the natural birthrights of healthy air, water, food, quality of life, diversity, and biodiversity. Humans have the responsibility and the ability to take necessary steps to help enforce and maintain ecological balance and health across the various landscapes of the planet. This is our integrity: to act as kind and wise stewards for other living beings with whom we share the planet, as well as for ourselves. We hold true that all living beings feel pain, want to live, survive, thrive, and enjoy their lives. We uphold equity and compassionate action as the foundation of daily practice, action, and decision-making. Ecosystems maintain balance and health with multitudes of integral and interrelated parts that make up the whole. Some humans/corporations have endangered and critically threatened that wisdom. We recognize that there is no real ownership over the water, rain, sun, and air. All living beings share land, air, and water together on one priceless planet. We recognize that creativity, invention, counter-cultural approaches, and grassroots efforts are highly valuable assets and approaches that serve a Green lifestyle well.
- WE INVEST IN A GREEN WORLD. Healthy, thriving ecosystems, waterways, biodiversity, and healthy, thriving diverse communities of people and animals are a sign of successful Green values in action. We must invest in infrastructure, actions, sources that are more in harmony with Nature, equity, and health. This is what we envision and work towards. We proactively invest time, energy, space, skills, resources, and currency into activities, projects, products, businesses, and other groups that are also proactively dedicated to Green actions and standards. We aim and strive to make day-to-day habits, choices, and actions conscious and in harmony with health and Nature. These choices and actions have a positive focus and outcome—personally, collectively, and environmentally. Investing in the world we want to co-create, and taking concrete steps towards it each day in as many aspects of our lives as possible is the best and swiftest way forward to a better future. We invest in wellness, responsible action, and kindness.
- WE DIVEST FROM WHAT ISN’T GREEN. We aim and strive to remove personal contributions and all forms of support from projects, products, businesses, institutions, and other organizations that fund destructive, toxic, dangerous, cruel, irresponsible, and otherwise harmful actions and practices, which are a threat to and endanger the environment, resources, communities, species, survival, and the ability for future generations to survive. Anyone who puts the short-term profit, violence, exploitation, cruelty, corruption, and abuse of power before health, basic needs, and respect for people and all life goes against the wisdom and balance of Nature, health, and Green living values. We choose to divest from these sources whenever and however possible.
- GREEN LIVING SEEKS TO FOSTER AND CHOOSE MUTUAL, BENEFICIAL RELATIONSHIPS. Biologically defined relationships on Earth have been identified in general as symbiotic, parasitic, or predatory. A Green life seeks to develop and maintain symbiotic relationships that are mutual and commensal. A symbiotic relationship is a physical or close and long-term interaction between species (we will add, also within species). Symbiotic mutualism is a relationship where both beings benefit. Symbiotic commensalism is a relationship where one being benefits and the other being is unaffected and unharmed. With a Green lifestyle, we choose to build relationships between humans and between species, and even towards ecosystems that have mutual benefit or at least cause no harm. A Green life refuses to engage in parasitic relationships and strives to refuse predatory relationships as much as possible, and within reason. In parasitic relationships, one being benefits while the other suffers. Since humans have choice and free will, there is no sound reason to ever inflict harm through this kind of relationship. It is unacceptable. In predatory relationships, one being kills and may or may not eat the being they have killed. A predator causes serious harm and/or death to another being for the sake of hunger or for no sound reason. Both predators and parasites are relationships observed as naturally occurring on Earth. Yet they are not, for people with choice and free will, Green, or kind choices. Yet, we must consider the fact that a being that eats a plant is also a type of predator to that living organism. Therefore, we need to realize that at this point on the planet—the reality of life and living are intrinsically tied to a certain level of predatory relationship for the sole reason of survival through satisfying hunger. However, levels of predatory relationships vary from natural hunger to cruel and unnecessary. Predatory behavior between humans, and as a leisure (“sport”) activity by humans is not desirable within a Green life, nor is it ethical.
- GREEN LIVING EMBRACES THE FOLLOWING CORE STATEMENTS:
a. The Earth’s ocean is our main source of life. There is no life without healthy water. There is no life without healthy air. We must ensure protection of natural resources. We must set unprecedented global standards and approaches that demonstrate the utmost in responsibility to and for all water, soil, and air—for the sake of all life and future life on Earth. We must ensure long-term protection, conservation, and preservation of health and balance on Earth for the survival of all living beings.
b. Life is a gift. Treat all life with respect and ensure basic rights for all living beings based on equity and kindness. Life and all beings naturally seek wellness. Our human systems, which are geared for corrections and healing, must be structured to support this natural tendency with holistic, organic, restorative, kind, affordable, and preventative approaches.
c. We can live gently and lightly on Mother Earth. We put into action zero-waste approaches, such as: fix, renew, restore, repurpose, reuse, recycle, upcycle, invent, pioneer, trade, share, gift, preserve, simplify, and conserve for health and future generations.
d. We value creativity, adaptability, and diversity. Individual, unique, and contrasting approaches, small groups, and adaptability in times of ongoing change are all strengths of a grassroots movement.
e. Fair Trade principles need to be applied to all work and wage situations—foreign, domestic, and local.
f. Cruelty-free and kind principles need to be applied to all relationships.
g. Commerce, ingredients, products, and practices need to be kind, healthy, ethical, renewable, and sustainable.
h. Everyone’s time, energy, space, quality of life, and personal resources are equal in importance at a fundamental level.
CS Sherin, Recipe For A Green Life 2018© Please feel free to share this article–in its entirety with author, source credit, and this copyright notice–on social media and for non-commercial educational purposes only.