WWII posters depict eco as patriotic.

Via Waylon Lewis
on Feb 9, 2009
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Last night I gathered with 20 fellow Buddhists in Hotelephant for a meditation/study/dinner and, for a few hours, turned the heat up to 70, enjoyed a half-non-organic dinner, responded to requests for paper towels and turned on five lights simultaneously over three rooms. 

Normally, my thermostat is off at night. Completely. And I’m cozy, if not hot—thanks to passive solar during day, curtains dropped at night, windows open whenever warm outside (which it is 1/3 of the winter in Colorado). Normally, during the day, my thermostat (if I’m home, which is about half the time) is set at 60. I wear a sweater or hoodie or jacket, I wear slippers, I’m good to go.

So it always amazes me how soft we Americans are, now. In the summer we blast the air-conditioning, even as we leave open windows or, if a retail shop, leave the door open. In the winter we blast central heat (with doors wide open, if we’re retail), which gives me half a headache half the time.

Fact is all that energy consumption adds up to something: the need for…surprise…more energy. So we melt shale and drill for offshore oil and, once every 10 years or so, put our foot down on top of the Middle East. And half the energy demands that motivate us to do these things come from young people (my lovely next door neighbors all—each—drive SUVs, leave lights and ceiling fans on when not home, probably heat too) and liberals and hippies. 

So let us pause, Republicans and Democrats, farmers and hippies, patriots and cynics, and remember the WWII poster. We already did an entire article on this notion, and adapted the notion for our last print issue of elephant journal. But Treehugger did a great lil’post on this today. Click the image for more posters on Victory Gardens, etc.:


About Waylon Lewis

Waylon Lewis, founder of elephant magazine, now elephantjournal.com & host of Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis, is a 1st generation American Buddhist “Dharma Brat." Voted #1 in U.S. on twitter for #green two years running, Changemaker & Eco Ambassador by Treehugger, Green Hero by Discovery’s Planet Green, Best (!) Shameless Self-Promoter at Westword's Web Awards, Prominent Buddhist by Shambhala Sun, & 100 Most Influential People in Health & Fitness 2011 by "Greatist", Waylon is a mediocre climber, lazy yogi, 365-day bicycle commuter & best friend to Redford (his rescue hound). His aim: to bring the good news re: "the mindful life" beyond the choir & to all those who didn't know they gave a care. elephantjournal.com | His first book, Things I would like to do with You, is now available.


2 Responses to “WWII posters depict eco as patriotic.”

  1. […] here at elephant have complained about the practice of leaving doors open in winter, talk about Global Local Warming, or Summer, when the AC just flies out the door, like your shop was a giant refrigerator with the […]

  2. Matt Embrey, Jim Sincock, Mike Edelman and 5 others like this.

    Tamar Victoria Scoggin
    Regarding water usage: my 90 year old grandmother still collects all the water from her kitchen faucet (in two buckets) to pour on her yard and gardens – and has only stopped doing this in the wintertime this year because, well, heck, she is 90 and it is pretty icy out there right now! And yes, the tradition has been inherited by her granddaughter…

    Aunt Liz
    Hey, there ain't no one more conscious of too many lights on and too much waste than your very own grandma, Way!

    Waylon Lewis
    Yay for Miss Richmond VA!

    Matt Embrey
    Matt Embrey
    That sentiment was born out of patriotism rooted in the war and made possible by the discipline the country developed through the depression. I don't think it was really about "responsibility," as much as it was about security and duty. If we could tie environmentalism to the war on terror, then I think we'd be able to make some inroads with the segment of the population that resists everything they view as liberal.

    How about a poster with the slogan "Don't let the terrorists win! Turn the water off when you brush your teeth."

    Derek Markham
    I think you're on to something big, Matt.

    Waylon Lewis
    Back then, Hollywood stars (and everyone else) were tearing bumpers off their own cars and donating them for scrap. "Every can a bullet."