Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Grass, Allergies, and Hippies

So, due to an increased homework load, I've been noticeably absent from blogging for what seems like forever. I apologize, but I feel that I must post a warning: I cannot promise to post regularly because of my crazy schedule this semester. With that disclaimer, let's get to the topic I've been really excited about for a while: hippies and the environment.

I recently took an Environmental Writing class and it wasn't what I was expecting. I thought that we were going to be forced to sit in a field and wax poetic about the grass and the trees and how we love mother earth. Now don't get me wrong, I love this planet ... but I think I'm allergic to grass and anything having to do with germs or dirt. That being said, you might be wondering why I took the class in the first place. Yes, it was a requirement, and yes, I wasn't exactly thrilled about it. At first.

So, with my lovely expectations for the class, and a full-blown anxiety attack hovering over me like a dog hovers over your feet just when you're about to get up from petting it, I walked into class with a smile pasted on my face and a serious case of jumping frogs in my stomach (yes, that's what it felt like, not butterflies, but frogs. Gross).

And guess what I found out. The class was about raising awareness, through writing, about our planet and how it's being treated by the dominant species that inhabit it (that's right, you guessed it - us). We read famous authors like Rachel Carson, Aldo Leopold, and Henry David Thoreau.

I also learned that we, the younger generation, are considered to be more environmentally minded.
Personally, how this came to be is a mystery to me, since I - like many of you Gen Y'ers out there - was raised by parents who just don't get the importance of helping our planet out. And so I was wondering about why there is such a difference in the attitudes of our generation as compared to our parent's generation regarding the "green" movement.

I blame the hippies. 
My dad (who is a wonderful man as well as a great father and husband) has always made references to the hippies throughout my childhood. Whenever I told my dad that our science teachers were teaching evolution in class, he would call said teacher a (and I'm paraphrasing the general intent here): chain-themselves-to-a-tree-crazy-hippie-that-has-smoked-one-too-many-tumbleweeds that had no right to abuse their position by teaching us lies. Okay, okay, most of the time he was kidding, but I have to believe that there was some seriousness in there somewhere, otherwise my childhood just got a bit duller. Anyway, eventually my dad would claim that all of my teachers were hippies. (Ironically, my mom is a piano teacher and whenever my younger sisters and I pointed this fact out to him, he would kind of choke on his words and then change the subject. My mom wasn't a hippie, apparently, but the rest of my teachers were. Irony, it kills me sometimes.)

So, those hippies that my dad was always blaming stuff on, well they loved the environment. And maybe that love, when combined with some things the younger generations hated about their parents, was associated as the thing that parents did. And we all know kids - they don't want to do what their parents did. So that love for the earth faded into something tainted by memory.

And finally our generation is coming back to it. Could it be that the same (well, in my line of reasoning at least) desire to do something different from our parents has brought us back to loving our environment? Because our parents didn't really care, does that mean that they conditioned us (in the crazy and nonsensical ways that parent-child bonds work) to love our environment?

Something to think about, I guess.