Tough Love

September 13, 2007

smallstoplight.jpgWe were leaving town in my dad’s gas-guzzling Ford pickup with us kids seated on bean bags in the back when suddenly, the 16 year old son of my dad’s girlfriend opened up the tailgate and jumped out at a stoplight. He didn’t want to go to the beach with the rest of us and apparently nobody could make him. As the light turned green and my dad sped out of the intersection leaving Scott running in the opposite direction, I think now that I was witnessing my first course in tough love.

Tough love is a behavior modification technique that is about not enabling the child to ruin a family unit through destructive behavior. If you apply that notion to a group of people, it is not letting an entire population behave in a way that adversely affects all others and the surrounding environment. Sound familiar?

Americans are the red-headed step children trying to piss off mother earth. We consume more food, more water, more oil than ever before, we dispose of toxic chemicals, electronics and food waste by burying it landfills and then buy more and more and more. And guess what the earth’s response to all this is? Let go.

We throw tantrums about having to cut back on consumption, point the finger at other countries, other races, other political parties. We physically abuse the environment by deforestation and contained feed operations, ignore the warning signs of drought and climate change but at the end of the day, our tough loving earth will say enough is enough, and let go.

We are now faced with the opportunity to either continue our bad behavior and suffer the consequences, or realize that there is a new set of rules to live by if we want to be part of this global family. The earth is not going to give in.

Change is confusing, frustrating and stressful. It seems unfair and painful and from our own selfish perspective, pointless. But if my dad hadn’t driven away from the intersection that day, and let a 16 year old figure out what it takes to be part of a family, maybe he never would have stopped his own downward spiral.

Is our government enabling us to continue our own self-destructive behavior? How bad do the consequences have to be before we decide to change?


2 Responses to “Tough Love”

  1. alottaerrata said

    I fear things will have to get pretty darn bad before the masses change. Everyone is so centered on the individual… “so what if I use teflon or this or that, it won’t kill me, it’s just one thing” but that one thing multiplied by every household in America is a lot of very bad things.


    I’ve been feeling a bit defeated in the green department lately!

  2. Barefoot-Gardener said

    You know, I have said nearly the same thing for years. All we (the human race) are is a parasite sucking the life-blood out of our host. When we kill it, there will be nothing more for us. I figure Global Warming and all the storms, floods, droughts, etc are just mother earth’s version of a flea-bath.

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