The Clean Hippie

Seeking the sustainable life in New York City

Why am I a hippie? August 5, 2009

Filed under: green angst — Alden @ 2:29 pm


I’ve never been too keen on people who are very religious. I respect them, I even understand why they believe what they do. But it always just got on my nerves a little bit when, as a college student, I would come stumbling home, hungover, wearing my mixer costume from the night before and that religious girl was the one to let me in the sorority house. She never said anything, but I could tell she was judging. You have poor morals, no direction, and are going to hell,” I imagined her saying to herself. At least I have fun, my inner voice retorted.

So you can understand my dismay when I realized this morning, as I reflected on my argument this weekend, that I am “that girl.” I am that judgmental, preach-to-people, you’re-going-to-hell person. Except instead of Jesus will save you, it’s carbon trading will save you. Mother Earth is my God, and the four polluters of the apocalypse are coming unless we accept green living into our hearts. There are believers and non-believers, and when I try to preach to the non-believers, their eyes glaze over. Now I know what it is like to be a Latter Day Saints member….


So how am I supposed to take this? I mean, a lot of what being an environmentalist is about is not caring what other people think. Take this excerpt from the No Impact Man blog:

Autonomy: By deliberately designing my own No Impact life, I got to make a lot of choices for myself, rather than feeling that my way of life was foisted upon me by my upbringing and culture.

This blog is supposed to be about being green and being normal at the same time. But a true environmentalist doesn’t buy anything but necessities. I’m sorry, but I like to shop, to blow dry my hair, to indulge in fried food every once in a while with friends!

I don’t know how to do this yet, to walk that line. It’s what I’m going to have to work through. And that is what this whole blog is about!


One Response to “Why am I a hippie?”

  1. Rob Favole Says:

    You’re so right about the “religious” aspects. True believers of any type share some outward characteristics.

    As far as being green and being normal — here’s my take. There’s no such thing as a No Impact life. Anybody who has a cell phone, a computer, has a book published, who eats, etc has an impact. No Impact has got to be a euphemism for a Sustainable Impact Life. Check out Daniel Goleman’s Ecological Intelligence. Most impacts are hidden from us.

    Bottom line — there’s no reason you can’t blow dry your hair. Don’t let yourself be hostage to the imagined judgmental reaction of somebody who is probably carrying a fully charged iPhone and laptop etc, who takes a hot shower, etc. And enjoy some fried foods once in a while. The nutritional science has not finally determined even such things as the health effects of saturated fats. Just in moderation. In some places, in a nod to transparency, a restaurant will tell what kid of oil they used. Go to those restaurants — patronizing the ones with transparency is having an impact.

    We designed Elegant Roots struggling with exactly these issues. Our motto is: Buy Less But Buy Better. When you shop, if you “vote” with your dollars for purchases that align with your values, you will be encouraging manufacturers to improve their products. And you will be rewarding those who are doing good things. Those manufacturers are often small and they are pursuing a green or socially responsible vision and they need the support. Hence, you’re Buying Better. Supporting the visions of eco and socially responsible artisans/designers/small businesses is our mission at Elegant Roots. And we present their products with transparency, so shoppers can make informed choices. Gifts with Style and Relevance.

    We shouldn’t make the perfect the enemy of the good — in other words, take steps to do better, recognizing that no one who is breathing can be perfect.

    Thanks for a stimulating blog!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s