Tree Hugger’s Lament


I wouldn’t call myself a tree hugger but others do.  I never saw a tree I didn’t like but I’ve never stopped the car along the highway to give an oak a squeeze.  Climbing trees is fun, but I can’t say for sure when I last did that.  I expect all are familiar with the benefits trees offer, though the haters probably ran into one of those hostile trees like in the Wizard of Oz.  It’s understandable.

I was born on Earth Day so perhaps that predisposes me to being mindful of the earth though I never really bought into all that Age of Aquarius hullabaloo.  In fact, I wasn’t that concerned about it at all until a few years ago when I read Serve God, Save the Planet by J. Matthew Sleeth.  I couldn’t ignore what I learned about where our garbage goes and how it impacts our neighborhoods as well as developing nations. So, we started collecting our paper and plastic.

Since that time, we’ve had a series of discussions with family and friends most of whom fail to see the point.  “So, you’re into recycling…”  is spoken as if its a weird hobby.  “Do you get paid for it?”  and “It all goes to the same place” are two we hear often.  Some of our house guests have purposefully defied our simple request and toss empty bottles into the garbage.

Mainly, we have the conversation with Mary.  Every time that we bring the bags of recyclables from the back to the front to carry out, she asks what it is  and then rolls her eyes and says, “Ya’ll have more patience than I do.  I’d just wad it up and throw it away.”  Another round of that chatter took place today.  Donna explained that magazines made from recycled material are much cheaper.  Mary intoned a sort of, “that’s what YOU think…”  The world should know I don’t do things without knowing a bit about them first.

For some, being green is synonymous with hip.  For me, its a matter of personal responsibility.  It’s inconsiderate to throw away what could be reused.

You don’t have to hug trees, but you ought not to go picking fights with ’em either. One day they’ll retaliate…

Further reading: The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein

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