Friday, May 16, 2008

Great Proustian (?) Green Idea

I'm basically going to cut & paste a whole bunch of Blogfish's post on the genesis of one's environmentalism and Proust. But really, you should go over there yourself and check it out. Great ideas abound!

Conservation, sensuality, and Proust

What was your first taste of conservation? Love of nature? My guess is that your senses were involved before your brain.

Maybe you saw something fantastic, or had a blissful time soaking up nature in a beautiful place.

Then what happened? You saw a threat and got worried or even angry about harm to nature?

If you're like me, you fell in love with nature first, and only later had your brain awakened to threats and the need for conservation action. You started with a loving connection to nature, and only later got all thinky and brain-centered about saving things.

This is well-said by Justin Van Kleeck over at sustainablog, where he writes

environmentalism is mostly about the amazing power and glory of nature. Indeed, environmentalism means luxuriating in the abundance of beauty lying just beyond your door. It is like a life lived within a Proust novel: every thing, every moment, is just dripping with sensuality.

I think there's a better solution, and it's found in Justin's "living community" that's "green with a heart." Rather than telling people to "grow up," we should invite them to feel connected and live their lives with a consciousness and a celebration of the connections between people and nature. That's the way to explode the myth that environmentalism is costly, gloomy, and smug.

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