Thursday, November 12, 2009

Time to Sweat the Small Stuff?

It's nice to give out green tips, and feel like we're helping the world. But sometimes, we just have to let loose and get it off our chests. Guess which I need to do now?

I say it's easy being green, and I really believe it is, but a lot of times it's hard to be a Greenie. Awareness is a terrible thing sometimes. I'll be honest, I get plowed under by the problems of this world really easily. How can we possibly fight the clean coal people? What about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch?? Oh no, is that ANOTHER picture of a polar bear on a tiny piece of melting ice??? It's big stuff out there. And I get discouraged.

And then, I see something close to home that REALLY makes me question what the heck I'm doing. I had a "Why Do I Bother" moment just yesterday. Driving to work, I observed 3 teenagers walking somewhere in Hollywood. 2 guys and a girl. The girl pulled an opened bag of Spicy Cheetos out of her massive purse. Mmmm, I love Cheetos. I smiled. Then... THEN... then, she took her gum out of her mouth and, instead of wrapping it in a tiny piece of paper and saving it to throw away later, instead of having made use of one of the millions of trash cans all over Hollywood, 5 of which they just passed, she flung her gum to the sparse grassy area between the sidewalk and the street. She smiled as she did it. She kept chatting as she did it. She didn't think twice. He companions didn't even flinch, didn't even look.

But Green Witch, you ask, why get so bent over such a little thing? I'll tell you why. It's a symptom. It's a tiny little thing that points to much much bigger issues. The complete disregard with which this child littered tells me that she might just throw that Cheetos wrapper on the ground too. Had I been walking and not on my way to work, I might have just followed her to see what happened next. (I know, I know, a little much, a little creepy. Sue me.)

I'll tell you why. Because such utter lack of concern for that piece of gum tells me that she doesn't think anything of what she uses, what she throws away, what is important. It tells me her parents, her school, etc aren't really impressing anything onto her impressionable mind about what manners are and what littering is. The way in which she did it told me she chews gum a lot and this isn't the first time she has flung it heedlessly to the ground for someone to step in. It reminds me that millions of people everywhere every day fling their gum to the Earth without a care. And THAT leads me to realize that it doesn't end with tiny little innocent pieces of gum. No. It STARTS with tiny little innocent pieces of gum. And, because if these kids don't care, these ones that we are working to save from all our bad practices, if they don't care, then why do I bother???

So yeah. It may have been the tiniest littlest thing and it really shouldn't have bugged me so much, but welcome to my head. Sometimes when you keep telling yourself, don't sweat the petty stuff just pet the sweaty stuff, you keep trying and trying... and then the little things, the petty things, sneak on in and just blow the lid off the carefully contained vat of angst/rage/fear/disgust/hopelessness mixture that was only barely controlled anyway....

I think it's time we started sweating the petty stuff. I believe we have ignored it for too long, and now all the little things have landed us in a real big mess.