“I’d like to join your group,” the woman said to me conspiratorially, “but I don’t want to work with a bunch of angry environmentalists.” I stifled a laugh. I was working a booth for EcoLiving London, a new not-for-profit in my hometown, created by my friend Tiffany Roschkow.

Tiffany created the group because she was, if not angry, certainly frustrated by the lack of progress our city seemed to be making on environmental issues. She was convinced there was the citizen will, but it was the politicians who were dragging their feet. Taking matters into her own hands, she created a group that aimed to connect green-leaning Londoners with the local resources, businesses and experts that could guide them through. It’s a great idea and one that’s catching on. Hence the desire on the part of one Londoner to join in and help. As long as we’re not angry. I know how she feels.

Though I’ve certainly had my moments of anger – no organic waste diversion program in my hometown, lousy public transit, few bike lanes, parents idling their cars outside my kids’ school – my anger is occasional and short-lived.

Though I’ve cycled through anger – part of my Stages of Green, with apologies to Elizabeth Kubler-Ross – I’ve discovered that making a home there renders me too apoplectic to actually do anything…other than fume. I need to stay focused on the promise of change and what I can do. Not what I can’t.

The notion of angry environmentalists is, I suspect, a deterrent to many who might otherwise consider themselves greenies. Conversely, the fact that I’m not angry has been perceived by others as a lack of commitment. But because I’m not standing in front of a bulldozer aimed at old-growth forests, or sitting in the bow of the Sea Shepherd, or committing arson in new developments on environmentally sensitive land, doesn’t make me less concerned. Or effective.

The thing is, anger doesn’t necessarily create change. Action does. And I can commit to action unaccompanied by anger. In fact, I would argue I can commit to greater action with more positive change when I check anger at the door.

I invited the woman to join us and promised her that, though I might let loose with the occasional four-letter expletive, I wasn’t angry. Frustrated, yep. Impatient. Absolutely. But angry? No. Unless somebody mentions Stephen Harper…

Leslie Garrett is a national award-winning journalist, author and editor, based near Toronto, Canada. She is the author of The Virtuous Consumer: Your Essential Shopping Guide for a Better, Kinder, Healthier World and she has also written a dozen children’s books, including a biography of renowned environmentalist David Suzuki and “EarthSmart”, a book for young children on protecting the environment.

Visit: http://www. virtuousconsumer. com/

Via:www.greenmuze. ??m

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