The Campaign For Ecological Responsibility
Druid Spirituality isn’t just about improving your own life: it’s about making a difference to the world too, it’s about becoming environmentally responsible.
Imagine how the world would be, if each of us, individually, was ecologically responsible - if each of us made sure we didn't pollute the rivers with the detergents we used, didn't cause trees to be cut down for toilet tissue or damage the air we breathe by using so much petrol.
It would be a very different world from the one we see around us today, in which our environment is subjected to continual degradation because of our individual and collective reluctance to take responsibility.
But it's hard for us to take responsibility when the problems seem so massive. We tend to feel that it is governments and industry that must make the changes: we feel like tiny insignificant parts of the whole. But we know that changes in consciousness in small numbers of people can affect the consciousness of whole groups, and our Campaign is focussed on changing awareness and consciousness.
More and more people are realising that they can affect industry and governments by making choices about what they purchase, and by uniting with others who feel the same way. The most graphic example of this is the way that consumers and pressure groups in the UK and Europe have succeeded in dramatically limiting the introduction of genetically modified foods. This proves that we as consumers do have power, and that we should wield it consciously, and with a sense of responsibility which says: "I am determined to do as little damage to the environment as possible."
Having decided to take responsibility, the next step is to find out how best we can do this in tangible, practical ways. Since the Campaign was launched in February 1988 there has been an explosion of interest in ecological responsibility.
Here are some links with lots of good ideas on how you can make a difference. After these there are details of books that provide detailed information on changes we can make to our way of living:
Ways to reduce your environmental impact
1. Try eliminating or reducing meat consumption: the most wasteful and polluting way of producing food. (Download the Vegetarian Society's informative booklet 'Why It's Green to Go Vegetarian')
8. Don't fly: holiday at home [try camping, it's great fun and planet friendly]
9. Install energy efficient lightbulbs
10. Plant trees: in your garden or anywhere else you can find
12. Use less water: bath with a friend; don't flush after peeing; don't clean teeth with tap running
13. Install solar panels or a wind generator
14. Complain when you see wasteful behaviour: whether corporate or private
15. Write to your MP about bad government policies: like airport expansion and road building
The Consumer's Guide to Effective Environmental Choices: Practical Advice from the Union of Concerned Scientists
by Michael Brower, Three Rivers Press 1999
The Green Home Handbook Published by Friends of the Earth 1996
The Green Office Action Plan Published by Friends of the Earth 1996
Take the Heat off the Planet! How You Can Really Help Stop Climate Change Friends of the Earth 1993
Don't Throw it All Away! Friends of the Earth 1998
Use Less Stuff: Environmental Solutions for Who We Really Are
by Robert M. Lilienfeld, William L. Rathje (Fawcett 1998)
A permanent exhibition of green living in the UK well worth visiting is at The Centre for Alternative Technology in Machynlleth, Powys Wales SY20 9AZ Tel. 0654 2400. It shows all types of alternative technology in action - including wind and solar driven systems, organic gardening, and new types of housing- all with a bookstore, health food restaurant and adventure playground. They also organise residential courses.
If you haven’t already done so, put this aspect of Druid spirituality into practice now by becoming environmentally responsible as an individual: recycle as much as you can (glass, cans, newspapers, and sometimes plastics, can all easily be recycled at local recycling centres in car-parks, council tips, etc. Some areas arrange weekly collections from your house.) And see if you can switch household cleaning and paper products to more environmentally friendly ones.
If you want to get actively involved in environmental work, join a local conservation group. It’s a great way to make friends too. In the UK contact BTCV (British Trust For Conservation Volunteers) 36 St Mary's Street, Wallingford, Oxon, OX10 0EU Phone 01491 8397 656 email email@example.com
Recycling and buying environmentally-friendly products is a start, but only a start. We need to protect our environment by consuming less and driving less. Our society is based upon massive over-consumption, and it is this over-consumption that is driving the ‘machinery’ that is ravaging the earth. By focussing our lives on opening ourselves to the power and beauty of Nature and Spirit, rather than on consuming more products, we not only reduce some of the damage being done to the earth, but we also free up enormous amounts of time, energy and money.
If you’re in the USA contact The Center for a New American Dream, and ask them for a copy of Yearning For Balance which is filled with ways you can make this shift away from a consumer-oriented lifestyle. The Center is at 6930 Carroll Ave, Suite 900, Takoma Park MD 20912 email firstname.lastname@example.org
Wherever you are, consider taking a 'Be the Change' workshop entitled Transforming the Dream of the Modern World. Organised by The Pachamama Alliance, the Awakening the Dreamer initiative offers transformational workshop experiences around the world. As a participant, you will “wake up” to both what is at stake and what is possible at this moment in history, and discover your unique role in creating a new future.
Consuming less sounds straightforward, but it requires a radical shift in awareness. Have a look at the following books: The Joy of Not Working by Ernie J. Zelinski, Ten Speed Press, 1997, Un-Jobbing by Michael Fogler, Free Choice Press, 1997, How to Live Green, Cheap & Happy by Randi Hacker, Stackpole Books, 1994, Simplify Your Life with Kids by Elaine St. James, Andrews McMeel Publishing, 1997.
Shifting our awareness away from trying to make ourselves happy by consuming, to becoming contented and at peace with ourselves and the world, without having to ‘get’ anything, lies at the foundation of the practical application of Druid philosophy in the world today.
A bit of history about the Campaign - behind the scenes at OBOD
Having launched the Campaign in February 1988, we began gathering information about environmentally-friendly products. We discovered that there were hundreds of them: over-priced and often difficult to locate. We started a project to initiate the development of shops that would sell these goods, and which would spread across the country as health food stores did years before. We researched the products, and in conjunction with a director of Greenpeace and a colleague from the European Business School, produced a 34 page report which was circulated to all the major financial institutions, selected corporations and key figures in the business world. We held a number of meetings with such figures, including one in Amsterdam with the director of Holland's largest supermarket chain and with the Bodyshop. We also spoke with publishers and exhibition organisers about projects to promote the idea of ecological responsibility.
We didn't achieve our original objective - which was the setting up of a chain of shops that would actively help people become ecologically responsible. But what has occurred since that time is far more important. The concept of individual ecological responsibility has become more and more current, and as environmental degradation intensifies, both the consumer and the retailer are becoming aware of their responsibility.
The Order’s Campaign for Individual Ecological Responsibility focuses at the level of consciousness change, from which flow practical applications. The Campaign aims to change the idea that we are powerless, and to encourage the taking of individual responsibility. Once we act with personal responsibility, we can turn to the world of industry and commerce, and work to promote the idea of Corporate Ecological Responsibility, and to governments and nations to promote the idea of Global Ecological Responsibility.
In the videos below you can learn about the campaign to eradicate Ecocide (lower right video), Transition Towns (top right), the Be the Change project (lower left), the Life Cairn (lower centre), hear activist Julia Butterfly Hill talking about reducing our impact (top left), and listen to Archdruid of the Ancient Order of Druids in America, John Michael Greer (top centre), talking about our move into a post-industrial age. John Michael's blog The Archdruid Report: Druid perspectives on nature, culture, and the future of industrial society offers regular and highly informed debate about environmental issues. His books on this subject are highly recommended: The Long Descent: A User's Guide to the End of the Industrial Age, The Ecotechnic Future: Envisioning a Post-Peak World, and The Wealth of Nature: Economics as if Survival Mattered.