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Pagans and the Environment: Leaders or Laggards?
NOTE: For a complete list of articles related to this chapter... Visit the Main Index FOR this section.
Pagan Carbon Footprints
Article ID: 13444
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Posted: March 28th. 2010
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Do you know what your carbon footprint is? If you don't, you should find out. This essay came about as a result of conversations with coven members and attendances at past pagan events. As Pagans and Witches we know-or should know, about environmental issues, waste and recycling, the acres of debris choking our oceans, etc.
It is horrible of course. From what I have seen it seems that many people see an issue maybe aired on Oprah or in a magazine and get up in arms. For a while that may affect some change, but it's never consistent enough. I'm not saying that every little bit doesn't help, however if lasting change is going to happen it has to be molded on a responsible lifestyle choice all of the time, even when these choices are not convenient.
I always try to see how my actions and waste effect my environment. Through the years I have come up with many things I do to take responsibility for my family and our carbon footprint. I recycle, I can foodstuffs, and make as much as the types of things I can such as the basics, as well as chili, soup, pizza sauce, root beer, even Irish cream, etc. It all takes time. As a single parent 'doing it all' I have very little of it. I don't necessarily want to be 'doing' all of the time, but as I said it's a lifestyle and a choice that is responsible for less waste, because in some ways recycling is still waste, just not nearly as bad as the alternative. I also compost, shred my paper in a shredder to compost so it's not being burned and wasted.
As a pagan, I go through a lot of candles and incense. I keep all my candles that I use for Sabbat stuff in my own home wrapped up and labeled so that they can be used the following year if they don't burn all the way down, if I need a new altar cloth in the past, I wait till the material is on sale or do without. I make sure to buy quality and have enough now that I shouldn't need to buy those for a very long time. I take all my incense powder in the bottom of bags and boxes and keep it in an old baby food jar. I use this to make my own incense or add to spell workings. I grow as many of my own herbs as I can-of course aided by my compost.
I have found that it is important to think about every item I purchase in terms of what it took to make it and what waste it will be in the end. I also made a deal with myself that I wouldn't bring something into my house if it didn't have a use. I want beauty and function. If I bring something in, something goes out. Quality over quantity.
There has been a movement to try and stop waste by having people ask themselves how much do you need, what do you need versus want. Yet it seems to me when I look around that people will rationalize a want into a need, so it only partially cuts down on waste. I've heard people say that everything they have is needed. Is that really true? I read an article wherein a man suggested that people, 'RETHINK ESSENTIALS'. It makes much more sense to buy only what you need. Anyone can rationalize a want. But 'rethink essentials, ' I think, says it all.
A few years ago I joined thousands of other people and spent 18-months buying nothing new except food. I did draw the line at undergarments, but everything else was used. You know, it wasn't really that hard and it does a good job of pointing out your own impulse buying or the rationale 'I just have to have that'. I remember going out with some friends and one forgot the camera at home. What did they do? Went and bought a disposable. How about taking responsibility for the fact that you forgot it and must do without?
We see this all the time in the need for the latest gadgets and junk. If one really requires that stuff in his/her life maybe priorities need to be rethought. What is each person willing to do without somewhere else in order to offset that gadget or technology?
As Pagans I think it is time that we rethink our essentials by being mindful of every single item that is brought into our homes and the waste that leaves it. If the Earth is our Mother, then what are we doing? I go to events or pagan gatherings and find myself scratching my head as I look around and see the waste around me.
It is said that one should plan for seven generations ahead of you. When people try to rationalize to me their choices I have to ask why? Would one not feel shame at the lack of responsibility in terms of one's own relationship with the Earth and Deity and future generations?
We Pagans and followers of the old ways should be more responsible. Would we treat our Mothers the way we treat the earth? Would we bring the mess of junk into our mother's home or discard the junk there or waste her resources with such disrespect? If you were to look around your home and/or property, does what you see bring honor to your spirit, honor to the spirit in which you practice, honor to your relationship with Deity? What do you think? How do you help or hinder? What do you do to consume mindfully and take responsibility?
What are your rationales?
If you haven't checked it out before, there is a great website to see how you rate and contribute. You might be surprised at what contributes the most to your footprint.
_www.carbonfootprint.com/_ ( http://www.carbonfootprint.com/)
Copyright: Holly King
Location: Winlock, Washington
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