A while back, there was an ad for a new line of natural products at a major grocery chain, and it went something like this: parents wake up to a cow in their bedroom and they milk the cow first thing in the morning, Dad is seen harvesting wheat with a sickle in the backyard....cue voiceover on how trying to eat more natural, whole foods doesn't have to mean we always DIY all the way. Being more eco and healthy doesn't have to be this hard.
I LOVE this message because otherwise we all just throw up our hands at how hard and "unattainable" it is to be eco/natural/healthy/etc. Environmentalists have spent decades pushing for bigger, drastic change...pushing so hard that we all feel left behind seeing only occasional PSAs with polar bears on a tiny ice floe.
Which leads me to the second reason why this is inspirational for enviro(ish) - I wanted to find that ad on youtube so I could post a link in this blog, but could not because the grocery chain was sued for promoting this line of products "100 percent natural". I'm no expert in food products labeling, so I can't speculate who is right and who is wrong on this one.....but this lawsuit highlights the divide that exists...the divide enviro(ish) is trying to lessen.
In pushing for perfection - in this case, pushing food manufacturers to use only whole foods, no GMOs, organic, etc - we've left a giant gap in the middle. The average person has no alternative and feels like there's no point in trying at all. The customers that would've bought this line of products aren't going to suddenly start shopping at Whole Foods...they are going to keep shopping where they shop.
Environmentalists are great at criticizing and not great at finding solutions that inspire people to be more eco. There's a simple reason for this: criticism is easy because there's always something more eco to be done in any product, package, industry, process, etc. Always.
So we need to change our way of thinking, whether you call yourself an environmentalist or are like the rest of humanity and care about our future on this planet. Any parent or researcher will tell you that positive reinforcement is a better strategy for behavior change. Let's be positive about every step that you, family, friends, strangers, companies, society makes in the right direction...and encourage that next step no matter how small it is.
What if environmentalists approached that grocer and said "look, we get that your customers want this, and you want to make your product line more natural at a pricepoint they can swallow vs. buying organic...let's work together to see if there's a way"? I bet a more natural product line sans controversy would result.
I'm a firm believer that there's always a better way that can move us forward. I hope you check back...my goal is to help identify the small steps that we all can take, and keep encouraging us to do them together.
Each of our actions may be a drop in the ocean, but every eco drop deserves applause. So cheers to you!