Why? Because fear and guilt are short-term motivations and stressors...they exhaust, they limit the energy you have available for the long haul of environmental care. Joy in the beauty, love for the plants and animals and atmosphere and rivers and ocean, appreciation of it all...that will sustain you in your decisions, and make your life (and that of those around you) much easier and more productive.
How many of us like to be guilted and shamed and scolded? (I'm not raising my hand!) Tell me I'm bad, I need to "fixed" to be like you, or like some ideal you have for me, and I'm outta here. But tell me what you love, and why it's important to you...try to lure me into your passion for something, and I'm much more likely to follow. Tell me how beautiful it is, how worthy it is of my respect and regard--and I'm looking at whatever it is, from a mosquito to a sequoia, and seeing it in a new way.
So what do I do that's aimed at raising awareness? I write and photograph and publish about a piece of land we're restoring to health. I show the little things that you can't see if you drive past on the highway, or if you walk along thinking how many houses would fit on this acre or that, or how much profit you could get by selling it. I try to show the abundance, the complexity, and the sheer gob-stopping beauty that exists on this place. Because once you see it as beauty--once you see it as something other than an inconvenience, an investment, a profit--your values will begin to tip towards protecting, nurturing it, creating more of it.
I'm not doing organic gardening right now (I'm "gardening" 80 acres for wildlife use--and that takes up a lot of time), but when I did, I did it because I liked the flavor of the foods--because I could grow all this stuff in one small yard and it was delicious and it didn't cost as much as store-bought (of course I didn't put a money value on my time spending digging, weeding, pruning, picking...) I've done what I've done for the environment more from love than from guilt, and the things I used to do out of guilt have fallen away. OTOH, I used to use city water for my garden without a thought: water that had been pumped by electrically powered and gas-powered pumps, water that had been treated to make it safe to drink, water that wasn't as good for my garden as rainwater. I didn't know, then, about rainwater harvesting. Now I do...and now we have about 13,000 gallons of storage capacity at the house and barn--and all the water we use on the yard, the backyard water garden, for the horses, is rainwater off the roofs. Water not being pumped from aquifers, not requiring chemical treatment, not requiring much pumping (we do pump from tank to tank when we can't use gravity flow--which we do mostly.) That's also rainwater that's not falling off the roofs in hard, soil-compacting sheets to run away as surface runoff, picking up pollutants to dump in somewhere else. We raise our own beef (grassfed on native grasses, no antibiotics, no added hormones--and grassland benefits from managed grazing.) On the wildlife management area, we've planted trees (both for wildlife and for long-term carbon capture) and are slowly restoring overgrazed, eroding pasture to permanent grassland--eventually to many of the original prairie species. We've returned historic grasses from remnant seedstock (rescuing grasses from construction sites and roadsites about to be widened)--and this has required use of a gas-powered vehicle to get to those sites and transport the plant materials--but in the long run, that should even out. Native plants and wildlife are both increasing. I don't feel guilty about the collecting trips--I look at the 80 acres and see with great joy that we now have spreading colonies of switchgrass, big bluestem, little bluestem, Indiangrass, and many more. I rejoice in the Maximilian sunflowers that feed butterflies and birds and bees and other insects...the many more dragonflies we have now...the migratory birds that drop by on their way south or spend the winter here.
But--though it may seem like it--we don't do all these things and more so we can brag about how environmentally "right" we are, but because we love the land and rejoice in seeing it come back, seeing the creatures that are moving back as its health improves. It is that love, that joy, that gives me the energy to get back out there and move a few more rocks to slow erosion here, to stop by a county road and collect some seeds to try, to stop and notice--just notice and appreciate and give thanks for--the tiny white flowers of the heath aster or the tiny blue butterfly that's sucking nectar from them.
So my suggestion today is--before you blog about the environment or after--go out and just be in it, and look at all the shapes of the leaves (on the plants or fallen, depending on your location.) Look at the sunlight on everything, or at the raindrops hanging on twigs or spiderwebs. Look at the spiders, look at the caterpillars, look at it all, and fall in love with it...don't think , for a short time, of the damage other humans (and maybe you) have done with what you eat, drink, wear, use, want...just let the land itself hand you its gifts, and then fall in love with it. Celebrate every kind of life, including your own. Be refreshed.
As for me, it rained last night and early this morning and I'm going out now to see what's where and what it's doing.