Saving nature one t-shirt at a time

Let’s save nature, one t-shirt at a time.

When I studied abroad in West Africa, my friend and I had a joke that was born from observing a number of wayward, French dudes, each with long hair and sporting some version of Ché Guevara or otherwise politically inclined t-shirts. Each time a new, unkempt activist would appear, we would look at each other, laugh snarkily, and say, “I did it for the t-shirt”.

Before it seems that I am getting all high and mighty here, I should add that I have a ridiculously large collection of t-shirts. I love them! And there are plenty of super cool t-shirts denoting causes I believe in. For example, the organic 100% cotton green t-shirt with an image of a hive and bees that says “respect labor”. Love it!

What has happened to our species that we have evolved to believe that we need to be ever culling the planet, amassing more stuff to add to our already over?? lives. Are we that easily duped by advertisements?

I too will admit that I give in regularly to the impulse to buy, that desire to consume evolutionary trend that seems to be hitting our species with ever-increasing vehemence. I know full well that I likely have enough clothing and footwear in my wardrobe to last me for the remainder of my adult life—I have been collecting since my last growth spurt at the age of 12. While I joke that I am waiting for my next growth spurt, with each year that passes the reality that I am more likely shrinking than anything else has been slowly setting in.

I wrote recently of Thoreau’s lament to the changes he noted on the waterways of New England at the outset of the industrial shift in this country. Yet, the New England of Thoreau’s time was not exactly wilderness. Even the time he spent at Walden Pond could hardly be described a “roughing it”. Didn’t he eat meals at his aunt’s house and do his laundry there? I will have to check my sources on that one.

At the moment, we seem to be treading water with regard to the present and future status of our species and the systems we depend on for our survival. But we cannot tread water indefinitely.

Sink or swim. What will we choose?

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