Somewhere between black and white there is an infinite series of shades collectively and rather nondescriptly known as gray. Gray is that place that cannot be defined as either here nor there. It is that place that is both a comfortable happy medium as well as a place full of opportunities to wrestle with the truth. At some point I began to realize that constantly struggling for the truth is part of my identity. Perhaps you are discovering the same. As I’m sure you are well aware, we live in a world that is highly fragmented by issues. -A world that often sees in terms of black and white. However, I don’t think this is representative of reality. We may see issues as black and white but the truth is most of us are just trying to do the best we can with what we have. Although I am not talking about moral relativism I think there are times, because of our backgrounds, resources and experiences that our solutions to problems may differ. What’s best for me may be a detriment to you. To be quite plain, there is a substantial amount of gray. It was in this wrestling with many of the issues and problems of the day, (personal to global) that I settled on the term “ecotarian”.
It’s a relatively new term to join the urban vocabulary scene. Wikipedia has this to say about it:
“When ecotarians make a consumption decision, they consider the impact on the land of growing the product, the impact of transporting the product from where it was produced, and the labor conditions for the people who grow the product.”
Why should we limit this term to our relationship with food? We are consumers of more than just what we eat. Why not expand this term to all areas of consumption?
My quest in taking on an ecotarian view is to make conscious choices in how I interact not only with the physical world but also the people around me. How does the food we eat affect our family, the farmers, the earth? Where do our clothes come from? Where does our trash go? What am I teaching my children through my habits and actions? How is the way I’m carrying myself in this world affecting the lives of others? It may seem like an impossible task -and it would be if things were black and white. But the good news is in between the black and white there are infinite shades of gray and you don’t have to be on one side of an issue or the other. Remember, like so many other things, taking on an ecotarian view of the world should not be all-or-nothing. It should be a journey. We shouldn’t let the (seemingly) clear-cut sides of the “issues” make us feel inadequate about where we are right now. We just need to keep moving, keep searching and keep wrestling.
So, I hope you’ll join me in discovering what it means to be an “everyday ecotarian”. -And journey with me to a place somewhere amongst the paradoxes of this world. -Somewhere between a content happy medium and an uncomfortable but necessary wrestling with the truth.