Sloth and Sustainability

Oh, Jane, you prolific little thing. 6 novels by the age of 41.   I imagine that, were you alive today, you would also make the time to be “green”, given your long and lush descriptions of nature (in between the juicy bits).   Indeed, it would seem that the characters portrayed in your books as righteous and moral would also be green~Mr. Darcy recycles, and Mr. Knightley’s dogs are no doubt rescues; with the indolent, creepy types being the sort of folk to eat endangered animals, or use plastic bags, or drive SUVS.   Certainly Mr. Wickham and Mr. Elton are in favor of the company oil line that runs through the heart of the rainforest?  Yes, I thought so.

Which brings to mind two questions: One, is it possible to be moral AND unsustainable, and two, is it possible to be sustainable AND lazy?

I haven’t the time (or energy) to answer the first question right now.  But since the second has been pointed out to me recently, I feel the urge to address it.  Is it possible to be both lazy AND green? Or does laziness imply a kind of intrinsic sloth when it comes to shopping green, living green, or thinking green?  That’s right-thinking green.  For it is not enough to exercise our greenness in the world or local marketplace or our recycling centers alone– we must also engage our minds, wrapping our brain into green knots in an effort to solve the global crisis/conundrum.

I mean really.  There’s a lot to be done and even more to think about doing. And some days I’m just not up to it. These days, for example.  For everyone who finds themselves un-invigorated by the seasonal time change, for all those who are loathe to “spring forward”, who would much rather fall back, or at the very least, remain in a stagnant hibernation, ensconced in a winter cocoon, ignoring phone calls, slurping soup, and watching trashy television….I have a message of hope.

I believe that it IS possible to be lazy and green at the same time. For example, when you’re lazy, you’re not likely to shop. It takes so much energy. So, not only are you saving the fuel required to drive to a shopping destination, you’re also not adding to traffic pollution by burning that fuel.  You’re also not buying products which pollute and contaminate our bodies and our planet with unsustainable practices and toxic ingredients.  You’re specifically not supporting companies which use child labor or sweatshops. You’re also not using plastic shopping bags, and you’re not adding all of that extra product packaging to the landfills. Finally, in a big way, you’re not fueling the multi-billion dollar advertising campaigns that flood all media sources in an effort to get you to spend money on said wicked products.  Well done, You!  And you didn’t even get off the couch!

Laziness is the power of Not-Doing.  It is the Tao of  Sloth. Given the perpetual motion of our current marketplace, and fast paced urban lifestyles, simply lolling around in your bathrobe is a lot better for the planet than going about your regular activities.  Sure, a lot of not-doing is not going to get you a lot of dates, or a new wardrobe.  Not-Doing is not necessarily great for your social life.   Not doing is not exactly entertaining, either, after you’ve watched ten seasons of Law and Order marathons, and reread Pride and Prejudice for the fifth time.  And it IS true that Doing can yield incredible results; when we choose to do one thing instead of another, or support one idea instead of another, or buy one thing instead of another, we are extending our ideas into the world.  We are doing with our MINDS; we are VOTING.  When we use our conscience to act in the world we can do the most good. But when in doubt, or when in bed, eating that pint of organic non dairy ice-cream and feeling guilty about not doing more….just remember…..What you DIDN’T do today probably saved a small piece of the rainforest, and for that Mr. Darcy might crack a smile.


5 thoughts on “Sloth and Sustainability

  1. Speaking of lazy and green….
    would you consider applying your knowledge and experience to putting together a green & safe list of recommended products to use for the famous “5-minute face”? It would be a fantastic tool for those of us who are lazy (especially about makeup) – but want to do it green if we must.
    Just a thought… would love to see what you’d recommend.

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