10 Reasons Real Men ‘Go Green’
Teddy Roosevelt & John Muir at Yosemite Valley
Photo from Teddy Roosevelt.com
This is a guest post by Sara Ost. Sara is the editor of the fast-growing blog ecosalon.com, where sexy, smart women are hoping you men will get with the program already. (A little secret: what women really want is for you to lead.)
I can hear the groans already: dude, not that green crap. I am so sick of hearing about going green. It’s a marketing gimmick!
If leading an earth-friendly life is just a marketing gimmick, it’s one of the longest running, most successfully manipulative gimmicks in all of human history. Some of the toughest, strongest, wisest men throughout time have intuitively grasped the wisdom of a proper relationship with nature - her beasts, her weather, and her wrath.
“Never does nature say one thing and wisdom another.”
- Juvenal, Satires
Seneca and Marcus Aurelius. Napoleon Bonaparte (unfortunately, he and his men learned the hard way). Galileo and Spinoza. Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau. Bob Marshall and John Muir. Theodore Roosevelt.
The truth is that conservation - the active respect for the earth and her resources - has a rich history vetted by thousands of years of wisdom from philosophers and scientists, heroes and warriors, poets and writers, captains of industry and presidents. Today we call it “going green” and it’s everywhere, but that doesn’t diminish the inherent righteousness of the message. Thanks to mass media, 24/7 advertising, and popular culture, the context of our lives has changed in ways our forebears never could have conceived, but that just means men must shine brighter. You must act better. You must face bigger challenges despite greater distraction.
“Nature teaches more than she preaches. There are no sermons in stones. It is easier to get a spark out of a stone than a moral.”
- John Burroughs
No one is demanding you buy a vegan man purse, wear Birkenstocks or slurp the slimy type of tofu. There is a generous spectrum of what it means to be green, but only a lesser man scoffs at what his predecessors knew and better peers already understand.
Here are the last five of ten - you'll have to go the blog to see the top five.
6. Real Men Aren’t Selfish.
“The richness I achieve comes from Nature, the source of my inspiration.”
- Claude Monet
One huge reason I think men need to “go green” is because it requires growing out of self-absorbed immaturity. We live in a culture where narcissism is epidemic. We have food and movies on demand, speed dating and text breakups, postponement of marriage and a real career while we all “find ourselves.” Emotional selfishness is at the bottom of it all. Get in touch with something larger than yourself. Life is not just about the iPhone and getting laid.
A real man lives in awe of the tremendous gift of being alive on planet Earth.
Imagine the very possible alternative, as Carl Sagan did: “There would be no more big questions, no more answers. Never again a love or a child; no descendants to remember us and be proud; no more voyages to the stars, no more songs from the earth.”
7. Real Men Aren’t ‘Cowboys.’
Photo from History Commons
Teddy Roosevelt fought with the Rough Riders and went on to lead the fight to conserve American lands. You can roll up your sleeves, talk tough and even clear some brush, but a real man does not react to important information by buying his head in the sand or excuse himself from rational inquiry and action with simplistic beliefs and cliche one-liners. Forget the faux cowboy schtick. Being a man isn’t about driving a truck and tearing into a bloody pork chop. If you really want to cowboy up, take the issues of your day seriously and do something about them.
8. Real Men Know the Secret to Good Relationships with Women.
“When we understand that man is the only animal who must create meaning, who must open a wedge into neutral nature, we already understand the essence of love. Love is the problem of an animal who must find life, create a dialogue with nature in order to experience his own being.”
- Earnest Becker
If you are sick of the ever-growing string of failed relationships, start working on the one you have with yourself. It’s a big myth that men and women want different things - we all want great sex and genuine love. (It’s if they occur together where the disagreement begins.)
It’s been said that women get in touch with their emotions by sharing; men, through activities. But before you can truly bond with anyone emotionally you have to get in touch with your own emotions. Emerson believed that time in nature is essential for a man’s soul and character development, and I couldn’t agree more. Men have an intimate relationship with the land, just as women do - it’s not all Gaia and earth mamas. Lest you discount this as a bunch of woo-woo, ask yourself if men would have better relationships with women if they had a handle on themselves and a grasp of their role in the world. There’s nothing like confidence and self-sufficiency to attract a quality lady. And time exploring and working in the great outdoors is an obvious way to build these qualities.
9. Real Men Take Care of Themselves
Flickr photo: ericmcgregor
“Man has been endowed with reason, with the power to create, so that he can add to what he’s been given. But up to now he hasn’t been a creator, only a destroyer. Forests keep disappearing, rivers dry up, wild life’s become extinct, the climate’s ruined and the land grows poorer and uglier every day.” - Anton Chekov, Uncle Vanya, 1897
I’m sorry to say it, but men are largely responsible for the environmental mess we’re in thanks to a widespread lack of self-discipline and flaws like greed, selfishness, and laziness. And men increasingly do not take care of themselves in even the most basic ways. I’m talking about diet, exercise, and finances (forget intellectual development and relationships). Until you start caring for yourself, it will be impossible to care for the environment in which you live. No wonder we’re in such a state. Stop destroying yourself: your mate, your offspring, your community and your planet need you to man up. Take pride in yourself.
10. Real Men Even Eat Tofu.
Photo from Cafe Press
“Rabbit food”. Please. What kind of man is afraid of a lettuce leaf? Didn’t the tofu jokes start stinking back in 1998? You hear a lot about how mainstream media demean women, but they don’t seem to think much of men, either. Despite what Carl’s Jr. ads teach us about men’s decision-making and culinary deficiencies, plenty of real men know their nutrition and make a point of trying out earth-friendly fare. Come on: a man doesn’t have the mental capacity to grill up some veggie fajitas and organic margaritas? A real man doesn’t have to love it, but he is not scared of tofu.
OK, I'm not sure about the tofu thing -- soy shrinks a man's, um, stuff.