Thursday, June 01, 2006

The Misplaced Hippie of Good Fortune is Dead

To the protagonists of the Pie-Eyed Story: I'm in. Pieper talked me into it, and by that I mean he grabbed me by the ear and wrenched me into the room. I have been a loyal reader since the inception, keeping up on Minnesota current events and provoking worldly opinions...and the occasional pile of horse dung (sometimes I go back and read the Bearded Matriarch just for the heck of it).

Back in the day I was the MHOGF. However, a subsequent "haircut and real job" and other life changes convinced me I couldn't assume the name again. What did I come up with? A Green Cowboy. Weak sauce, I know. Truth is, I may be no more green than the average joe. I don't drive a hybrid, I don't belong to Greenpeace, and I have never ridden a 17-foot Zodiac on a suicide mission to foul the prop of a Japanese whaling ship in Antarctic seas. Nor am I a cowboy; in fact, one of the few times I have been on a horse I walked away bow-legged for days. However...I live in the cowboy part of the US and it is my team's mascot. Additionally, there is a lot to say for a "cowboy" approach to life; I have lived a good part of my life outdoors; and yes, once, I did help shoot, skin, and butcher a 900 lb. steer.

As for the title of green, I think Ilya touched on it nicely in his global warming post:

"Our environment will only be adequately protected once it becomes the object of our love, guarded with jealously against those who would despoil it."

I call myself green because I think ecological considerations of our actions must be inherent in everything we do. It's a simple position, but it has striking consequences. It is based on two ideas: 1) We live in, and are entirely dependent upon, nature. 2) Natural systems and organisms have an inalienable right to exist, and an intangible value, both of which must be respected. This in mind, I don't call myself an "environmentalist." That takes ecological considerations out of everyday life and puts them in the arena of politics. That makes concern over the environment a voter issue that belongs to environmentalists and that is only visited by other parties.

Instead, concern over the environment should be present in everything we do, from presidential votes to choosing toothpaste brands. We consider the effects of all of our decisions on our own welfare, it's second-nature. Consideration of the effects on the environment's welfare should be as such. We can't view the environment in a political context - we must view it in a personal context.

Thus, I'm no environmentalist. But I am green.


PiedPiper said...

By God, man, you're a natural! A fitting, touching introduction to the enigma wrapped in an enigma that is The GC. It has everything: whimsy, panache, and bit of good old-fashioned to-the-point-ness. Welcome to the fold, old chap. Welcome indeed.

PiedPiper said...

BTW, I cleaned up your formatting a little bit. It's kind of tricky sometimes. Let me know if you have any problems.

Ilya said...

Whimsy and panache? Pied, how do you come up with this stuff?

Green has come wielding a manifesto, no less! May we all be green in all that we do. Raising our awareness of the ecological dimensions of our existence is no easy task, but no one can do it better than the Green Cowboy (why "A GC", why not just "GC"?). Welcome.

Ecology should not be a political issue, says the Green Cowboy. We'll see about that...

Ilya said...

...your very invitation to consider the environment "in everything we do, from presidential votes to choosing toothpaste brands," is itself a political act par excellence, an attempt to alter our vision of the world, and thereby alter the world itself. Which is why I called your post a manifesto. The political overtones are unmistakable.

A Green Cowboy said...

Thanks Pied. When I post again, I'll mess with the format til it looks right.

Ilya - I was hoping to be called out on that. Yes, it remains a political issue. But I still stress that it can't be "just a political issue." It has to be a personal, deeply-felt understanding of our place in the grand ecological scheme; from that background, it can be pushed into the political arena. It has to be personal first.