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August 13, 2008

The Green Movement—in its Infancy.

This was originally published on June 12.

As long as there’s been dark green trees and bright white flowers, blue skies and flashing stars, there’s been Nature-lovers. But with the coming of the Industrial Revolution just a century-and-a-half ago, we starting cutting old-growth forests, supplanting native plants with Home Depot packets of un-wild flowers, we’ve browned our skies and dimmed our stars with light pollution. A century ago, there were hundreds of breeds of tomatoes, now there’s only, say, four in common circulation. And so it is, that a century into our bingeing on the natural resources of our rich, finite planet, mainstream America has begun embracing a simpler, more responsible, and strangely more enjoyable way of life. The mainstream call it green. We call it “the mindful life.”

Whatever you call it, it’s a fact that conscious consumers are responsible for the rapid growth of wind power, organics, yoga studios and farmers’ markets. It’s a fact that we’ve created a huge market—Paul Ray, author of CULTURAL CREATIVES, measures our market at $230 billion annually. And where new markets bloom, it’s a fact that entertainment follows.

First out of the gate, over the last few years, was Discovery Channel and Sundance’s The Green. As of one week ago, Discovery (which bought Graham Hill’s little web site a year ago for $10 mill) has anted up: investing $50 million and going live with a 24-hour new network called PLANET GREEN .

Thing is, much of Hollywood seems to think that “green” is cool. It is, of course: but, like yoga, it’s much more than a fad. It’s a way of life. It’s an enjoyable way of life that makes good old-fashioned common sense. Based on what little I’ve seen through ecorazzi, it appears that many of the shows are more about glitz and glam (and metal) than they are about what’s actually inspiring and fun about our Greeneration.

That’s why we here at elephant have printed on ecopaper since our advent, back when “green” was still a color. Because it’s the responsible thing to do. And that’s why we term our focus “the mindful life,” not merely “being green is the cool new thing.” Because it’s in mindfulness, an ancient well-recognized spiritual and religious virtue, that we find meaning in life. For it’s only in the present moment that life happens—and meditation, yoga, and various religious paths help us come back to that present moment. Some religions term it being in God’s presence. And so it is that we view living an environmentally-responsible life as the external manifestation of an internal harmony. If you meditate, your mind is orderly and awake, clear and powerful—and so will your actions manifest. You won’t want to get your lunch to-go, or turn on the A.C. and leave your front door open as so many retail spots do, or turn on a light when you could pull back a curtain, instead. Because I’ll be cognizant of my small but essential part in the knot of enernity, the web of interdependence—a fancy way of saying we’ll actually feel our “karma”—that our every action has an effect.

And so it is that, practicing living in the moment, and manifesting that practice in our habits, we can cool this earth, end wars and leave a nice home for our children’s children’s children, seven generations on down the line.

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