Why Do You Have to be a Hippie to Love the Environment?

natural hot spring pool
Pool of water from a natural hot spring in Olympic National Park

A few months ago my wife and I took a short weekend trip to get away from it all and relax after a couple pretty hard weeks at work. We happen to live in the Pacific Northwest where the weather is pretty mild and the geography as varied as any region of the US. From the Pacific coast to the rain forest of Forks, WA to the deserts of Eastern Washington and pretty much everything in between, we’ve got it all.

Including a large population of environmentalists apparently.

The weekend we decided to get away from it all was the very same weekend this happened. You can also read more about a similar incident here. (Basically these articles are about a few college students chained themselves to the anchor chains of a large exploratory oil drilling ship in order to prevent it from drilling in the Arctic this summer.)

Back in the 70’s the people who did this kind of stuff were probably referred to as “hippies.” You know, the young and young-at-heart that would sing about saving the forest, living off the land, recycling and sharing everything they could? In our modern era of political correctness, “hippie” probably isn’t the best description of someone who loves the environment, maybe the term “environmentalist” is more appropriate.

Now I don’t have anything against hippies or environmentalists, so please don’t take my tone as critical. In fact I try to uphold many of the same values one might consider such a person to maintain. I do my best at recycling at both work and home, reducing my carbon emissions by taking public transit wherever possible, using as few resources as possible at home like turning off the water when brushing my teeth and various other small deeds.

Indeed these actions are small and at the very foundation of what an aspiring environmentalist might start out doing; but that’s not where it ends. Maybe what really makes someone an “environmentalist” is political action.

Politics is what really separates “us” and “them” don’t you think? Why do we let that happen? Why do you have to be a hippie to love the environment? Why do we try to separate ourselves from people who love the environment by calling them “hippies”? Perhaps some like the term and embrace all that it represents (perhaps even apathy at times of certain types of intoxication?). Perhaps some take offense to the word and prefer a different term, or none, altogether.

Either way, I’ll ask again – why can’t you just love the environment and be one of “us”? Why don’t we try to listen to what our fellow citizens are saying. Must someone actually chain themselves to an oil rig in order to be heard? Of course, that is an extreme political action, but it sure got a message across…but was it the right message?

I’m convinced that the earth is a living thing and it’s trying to tell us something if only we’ll listen. Need a little help understanding what I mean? Take a look the wildfires burning across the country, especially in Washington. The President of the United States declared a state of emergency here where “490,000” acres have burned or are burning. How about the earthquakes we’ve seen over the last few years and warnings we’ve read about? Heck, there’s even a movie about the San Andreas
fault! (really good movie by the way…you should definitely go see it in the theatre or buy it on Amazon soon through my affiliate link – thanks for the support!)

Of course I could go on and on with examples of how I think the earth is telling us that it’s alive, so I’ll leave you with one last example for now – natural hot springs. I had the opportunity recently to visit some natural hot springs and if you ever really want to experience the beauty of nature, visit a natural hot spring. For some reason and I don’t know why, sitting in the middle of a stream of hot water coming out of a mountain was the most surreal experience in nature I’ve ever had.

You don’t have to be a hippie to love the environment. You just have to have enough mental capacity and maturity to think about more than just yourself.

Here’s a good rule, let’s just start with this – Do more good than harm.

Go Forth!

natural hot springs
Natural hot springs in Olympic National Park

Back to School

School, Quad
Back to School

Well, it’s that time of year again. Summer is winding down. Schools are starting back up. Families are getting back from vacations. Labor Day will be here before we know it and we’ll officially start planning our fall activities…especially our fall sports traditions!

With this changing of the cultural seasons, let this be a reminder to us of the resolutions we set at the beginning of the year. How are you doing on those? Not counting the rest of this month, you’ve got at least another 4 months to close out the year strong. Every day is a opportunity to make things a little bit better than they were before. Fall down, get back up. Fall down, get back up. Fall down, get back up again. It’s only if you don’t learn from your mistakes that you’ve truly failed. Don’t do that. Choose the way of growth…without pain we’d never fully appreciate joy and happiness.

So with that said, how is your fall shaping up? Maybe football season snuck up on you and you’re not quite ready? For those of us on the West Coast, it can be somewhat awkward if your school is on the quarter system…things are starting up but we’re not quite ready for summer to be over yet. School won’t start until the middle of September when most other students have already had their first day of school today. It’s kind of weird going to a college football game with very few students actually attending, especially for a larger school with most of it’s student population not residing in the immediate vicinity, or at least a short drive away. If this is your school or team, do you best to get out and that show your support during this treasured time of warmup for what’s to come. These early days count and should be cherished for the unique atmosphere you’ll find.

Finally – good luck this fall! Now is a great time to re-evaluate, re-energize, and re-start whatever it is you want to improve. Hopefully your summer, or what’s left of it, has been an opportunity to refuel your physical and spiritual and emotional energy to take on the speed of all that the autumn season has to offer.

Here’s to a great season. Go Irish!