Monday, September 1, 2014

Working for the Earth

On Labor Day, the Climate Crusader is thinking about the unpaid work that so many environmentalists do.

Today is Labor Day. This is a day to spend with friends and family, wringing the last bit of fun out of summer. It is also a day to think about work, and the contributions of workers to our society. As I was considering it today, I started to think about the work that so many environmentalists do - much of it unpaid.

I think about 'labor' differently now that I have children. My 'labor' is not just about my paid work anymore. My labor is also about the parenting I do, which is often harder and which no one compensates me for. This isn't the only unpaid work I do, though. My labor is also about volunteer hours, efforts dedicated to creating political change and work I do to make my own lifestyle more sustainable.

Many of us are trying to live more environmentally responsible lives. This often involves labor of one kind or another - a letter written to an elected representative, a garden planted and tended, a commute on a bicycle instead of in a car, time spent repairing something instead of throwing it away, hours of research into less-toxic products, blog posts published. For most of us, this time and effort represents real labor, and for most of us this labor is unpaid. These are things we do because we care, because we want to make a difference, because we believe it is up to us to help make the world a better place. These are not things we do for money or fame or recognition.

Just like the work of parenting, the work of living more sustainably is a labor of love and an act of faith. It expresses hope for a better future, and a belief that we can help make it happen. Will our efforts pay off? There's no real way of knowing right now. All we can do is put in the effort, and trust that it will make a difference.

Today on Labor Day, I invite you to take a few moments to think about the unpaid labor that you do to make the world a better place. Give yourself a pat on the back. Being green may not translate into a lucrative career or public accolades, but that doesn't mean you don't deserve to be recognized for the actions you take, and this is the perfect day to give yourself some of that recognition.

1 comment:

Deddy Hidayat said...

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