How I Gave Up Being an Environmentalist Fem-Bot & Learned True Personal Responsibility

For many years I considered myself an environmentalist ‘fem-bot’ and supported the environmental movement with my money. I wanted to save everything and would feel despair and anger when I saw what people were doing to our planet. I did whatever I could to ‘be part of the solution’ by:

  • Recycling long before recycling was the norm,
  • Using my car as little as possible,
  • Only buying things that were from socially responsible companies,
  • Planting trees and huge vegetable gardens,
  • Turning the lights off,
  • Using less water,
  • Keeping the heat turned down low,
  • Reducing meat consumption,
  • Occasionally riding my bike to work to reduce fuel consumption.

I felt guilty when I did something that wasn’t socially responsible, like throwing something in the garbage knowing it would end up in a landfill.

SAVING THE WORLD, LETTING GO OF THE GUILT AND PUTTING MYSELF FIRST 

Many years later, I realised that in all of my efforts to save the world, I was forgetting about myself. I was putting myself second – or possibly last – and living in a way that did not support me by giving my power away to a belief system about how I should be living and not considering how it was best for me to live. Photos of seals being killed or polar bears that seemed to be stranded on icebergs or monkeys and cute animals in cages would instantly bring up strong emotional responses in me – grief, anger, despair and desperation. I felt a deep connection with them. At the same time, I held myself back from connecting with people around me, and took very little care of my own body – and had the health issues to show it.

Eventually, I cancelled all my memberships, started throwing away (or recycling, rather) invitations to donate money to charities. The veggie garden got smaller and included only things I wanted to eat. I bought a reliable car and kept the gas tank full. I looked at where I could make changes in my life that supported me and therefore in return naturally supported how I lived and interacted with everything around me. I started taking a water bottle with me whenever I left the house, and keeping lights on so that I wouldn’t run into furniture if I got up in the night. I started eating animal products again as I felt more into what my body needed for nourishment. I started to plant what I would once have considered completely impractical flowers for no other reason than that I felt they were beautiful.  And – horror of horrors! – I actually cut the flowers to put in a vase for us to enjoy in the house…

When I let go of guilt and developed a greater commitment to myself and began putting myself first, I felt a huge weight being lifted and felt more open and lighter. It was amazing.

It was easy to see how, as a society of human beings, we’ve bought into a belief that we are the problem, even though we have as much right to live harmoniously in this world as any other part of nature.

OUR TRUE CONTRIBUTION TO THE ENVIRONMENTAL PROBLEM AND PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY

Recently I realised something else about the ‘saving-the-world’ movement that doesn’t work. We pour billions of dollars into saving this or preserving that, but we never once consider what our TRUE individual contribution is to the environmental problem and the problems of our natural resources.

When do we stop to look at how each of us is personally living that is not in harmony with nature? Pointing the finger at societal problems does not consider each one of us as individual contributors. We allow ourselves to blame big business, governments and societal norms, which is looking at how ‘everyone else’ is living but not how I am living; not just in my actions, but also my relationships with others, my health and well-being, my commitment to work, how I connect with and feel compassion for others and live life in a loving way with myself first so that I can truly love others.

Taking personal responsibility is not about fuel efficiency or clean energy. It’s not about rebuilding forests and wetlands. It’s not about feeling guilty for living or feeling that human beings are a plague on the Earth. And it’s certainly not about saving endangered species that I believe are meant, by the natural order of things, to become extinct.

I feel that we all have a personal responsibility to look at how we are on an emotional, energetic, and behavioral level. We can look at our energy usage behaviours, but have we also looked at the excessive drug and alcohol consumption that we use to numb ourselves? What about the fact that we live in emotional drama and conflict, and justify it by seeing life as a challenge that needs to be overcome? Have we considered what the impact on our planet is of us being silent about violence in the world?

Until we consider ourselves in all of the ways that we live, we don’t know what living in harmony with the planet looks like. We live on this planet too. We are part of Nature too.

I still do things that support our environment because I am a responsible person and understand the importance of acting with personal responsibility in my relationship with Nature. But I no longer consider myself to be an environmentalist on a mission to save anything: I just feel a deep sense of appreciation for the beauty that is all around me, and that this beauty is also within me. I celebrate nature now, but no less than I celebrate and cherish me.

Inspired by the work of Serge Benhayon and Universal Medicine (UniMed).

by Julie Goodhart – Human Resources Coach and Consultant, Vermont USA

184 thoughts on “How I Gave Up Being an Environmentalist Fem-Bot & Learned True Personal Responsibility

  1. With the understanding that we are part of the all, if there are certain, situations which we don’t like in our outer world, then it is wise to look at our contributions towards these, and see them as reflections of what is occurring in our inner terrain.

  2. Imagine you have a grotty old pair of sneakers. What is the level of care they receive? Very little. Now consider the care people give to a newborn baby. But as adults do we care for ourselves like that precious baby or old sneakers? How we personally are with ourselves is how we treat our environment.

  3. When we understand that we are part of the all, the universe, we live in we can start to make the changes that has us living in the truth of the all we belong to.

  4. We go from one extreme to another at times and it could be said that you were more aware of the harm and the impact we have as humans on each other and the environment. Yet there is another level, an energetic level that we don’t often consider which means that we make choices that add to the impact and not reduce it. Thank you for opening the door to a deeper consideration.

  5. This is a very revealing piece of writing… There is a big resurgence in the popular media people doing exactly this… and of course… with no reference to the energetic quality of what is going on in the houses and people’s lives.

  6. I love this sharing Julie. I can related to a lot of what you shared about being part of the environmental movement, but yet not devoting any time caring for myself. I was allowing myself to live on a little as possible to get by, financially; never going to the doctors stubbornly believing that I could fix things myself, never going to the dentist. Basically there were many things that I did not do to care for myself, but yet I was talking about the environment and concerned about what we were doing to the planet. I too began to realise that true care for our environment begins with caring for our own inner environment. For we are not mutually exclusive, what we see on the outside of us is how we are being with ourselves first. Maybe if we did stop and began to look at how we cared for ourselves then we would see the reflection of our external environments in a whole new way.

  7. Amazing that you have managed to let go of a huge identification. This cycle of ‘problem → reaction → solution’ has been keeping us human beings very busy for ages and it is a perfect hiding place for us to think that we are committed to life while in fact there’s no true commitment to taking self-responsibility.

  8. Having met many environmentalists and hippies over time what always struck me is how angry and driven some of them can be, they have no awareness how toxic their emotions are to the earth. I agree Julie in the responsibility each of us hold in healing the planet that begins by taking steps to heal ourselves first and to make our movements harmonious and loving.

    1. I spent some time in a community that was seeking to be self-sustainable and held numerous courses and workshops to propagate its intent, and I agree with you about those activists emotionally pretty wound up. It’s to their own detriment that while they may hold a big great ideal about caring for nature, they often show zero regard for their own immediate environment – pretty easy to see through that their raison d’être, is not even about protecting this or that, it is about self filling emptiness with a sense of being on a mission and getting some kind of attention/reward at the end, and as a result, not many would want to support or be part of that cause.

    2. Yes that anger has always struck me as well and I can relate to the despair that we do, in fact, know that how we are living is an abuse to our environment but we are not prepared to do anything about it. Yet there is an opportunity to look at the impact of our emotions as well and if we are not willing to be open to that possibility then we are not part of the change that is needed for us to live harmoniously with each other or the plant.

  9. Do we need to change how we abuse this planet? Yes absolutely, but our abuse of our planet is an extension of our abuse of ourselves and each other. We cannot learn how to respect, appreicate and cherish the world around us if we cannot do that for ourselves first.

    1. Yes, it is such a simple and logical fact and yet we have such a hard time to bring it into action, instead we repeat what hasn’t worked for centuries.

  10. This is a superb piece of writing. Nothing we do, without considering and honouring our own part in it with all the responsibilities it holds, will lead to true change as we are only going for one small part of the all that we call the universe and leave everything else unnoticed and uncared for.

  11. Saving the world should never be a priority over taking care of ourselves for how can you save anything if you have compromised your own health and well-being and thus potential.

    1. Yes, exactly, and this should be taught from day one. The world would not be in the state it is if we knew and applied how very important it is to care deeply for ourselves.

      1. I totally agree Esther, it should actually be in the curriculum of schools as we grow up so it can prepare us for adulthood.

  12. Being socially responsible is a good thing if we are able to leave the world of images around it and wonder into the world of energy just to make sure that we are not adding to the huge level of pollution that is out there.

  13. It is really fascinating how guilt can drive us, and that guilt can be so submerged that we don’t even recognise how subversive and corrosive it is in our so-called righteous actions and lifestyles.

  14. “Until we consider ourselves in all of the ways that we live, we don’t know what living in harmony with the planet looks like.” When we react emotionally to everything around us we are disrupting the very harmony we believe we are trying to ‘save’.

  15. A great example of how even in our care of nature with causes such as environmentalism we in fact hold ourselves apart from nature and do not include us in that equation and consider truly how we are part of the rhythm and flow of nature and how if we live in that we offer true care and respect for us and it.

  16. Thank you Julie , its so wonderful that you have come to the clarity of true support for ” your environment ” and not ” the environment ” . The environment of your body and how this lives in harmony with your environment on this planet just lovely.

  17. Once I learnt about energetic integrity – the quality of my movements with decency and respect for all and everything around me was I now ‘saving me’ and the world.

  18. Caring for and loving ourselves first as a foundation, then allows us to bring this energy and quality naturally to everyone and everything else.

  19. We all have a responsibility in how we are, the quality of our energy and what we bring to the world, and so it is important to have, ‘developed a greater commitment to myself and began putting myself first, I felt a huge weight being lifted and felt more open and lighter. It was amazing.’

  20. Thank you Julie, it is easy to fool ourselves into thinking we are taking responsibility when we are putting the environment first, yet when we do something at the cost of our own wellbeing, or simply ignore looking after ourselves we cease being responsible, love how you have turned things around for yourself.

  21. Julie the subject of personal responsibility is one we overlook. Thank you for raising it and also drawing attention to how important it is to take care of ourselves.

  22. What a wonderful turnaround Julie… Truly an inspiration and a article of reflection for so many people who have become casualties of the same inner dysfunctional voices pushing one into looking after everyone else but oneself first

  23. I love what you are saying here Julie, so very to the point and exactly highlighting the missing link in activism. If we do not care for our self the care we want to bring to anyone or anything else is fruitless.

  24. Julie this was me all over. My most incredible wake up call my from held belief was when I started to look at everything as energy. With this fact I seen how my hardness within was contributing to everything I detested. Being the change you want to see in the world is the only way to give to our world. Be love.

  25. The notion of feeling guilty for being human is actually a very thick consciousness that people choose to believe in. It then runs peoples movements to avoid society, the systems and being part of humanity. These are the people living ‘off the grid’ struggling to not be seen, felt or heard by the majority. Ultimately, this consciousness is asking people to renounce the fact that they are human and have a job to do here, which is evolve out of here!

  26. I’ve never signed up for saving the world with environmental pursuits but I have jumped into fixing others and trying to be a perfect mother and feeling plenty of guilt and despair of not getting it right. I see how we can call on pretty well anything as a distraction away from taking responsibility for ourselves. I’m learning all the time how when I take care of myself and my body everything else that needs taking care of is much easier.

  27. An amazing transformation Julie from environmentally-correct nazi to lovingly appreciative, respectful and honouring of yourself AMIDST the environment that is equally there to support you as well as all else.

  28. We are seeing more and more of extreme behaviour and corruption around the world, and we see ‘problems’ all over the places, but all of us individually are part of the Whole and we can only start changing the way we are to bring about a big change we want to see out there.

  29. I love how you describe so well the difference between our perceived idea of what we think being responsible is and true personal responsibility.

  30. I love that you have come to realise the power in taking personal responsibility for how we are on an emotional, behavioural and energetic level and the harm we otherwise perpetuate, contributing to the disorder already present across the globe. When we truly cherish and honour ourselves is when we can truly honour and cherish nature from a truth rather than a reaction to a belief.

  31. Julie I couldn’t agree more.The more care I take of myself the more gentle is my impact on the earth. Life is more simple when I am in harmony with myself, my work and others, and I do not need ‘things’ to make me feel better.

  32. It is most revealing to actually observe and feel the energy of activism in all its guises, and then to feel where each individual is at in their embracing of this energy.

  33. Thank you for your sharing Julie. You are on track when you say we need to consider ourselves,by loving and nurturing ourselves first. We cannot save every animal on the planet from extinction or all of humanity from suffering, we first have to start in our own backyards.

  34. ‘Until we consider ourselves in all of the ways that we live, we don’t know what living in harmony with the planet looks like.’ This is so true Julie, we need to consider every single aspect of our lives, every little part, it all makes a difference and contributes to the whole world we all live in.

  35. A great topic to write about Julie and you have expressed very clearly how convenient it is for us to jump on a bandwagon or crusade about something in an emotional way, thereby unwittingly adding to the emotional soup of disharmony that we all have to live in, regardless of how right or worthy we may believe our cause to be. Living in harmony is such an important thing for us to learn how to do on this planet and this includes living in harmony with nature and each other and ourselves. Harmony for me means collaboration, inter-connection with everything, and no disturbance of anything inside or outside ourselves.

  36. Having been in this place myself, the despair of how the earth is being treated, I can now look back and see that the understanding of energy was not there. Now my perspective is more like ‘well, I look around and see us human beings not caring about our own bodies, the vehicles that we move around in and with every second of every day, so how on earth are we supposed to care or have any regard for the planet and it’s native inhabitance..?’

    1. Love it Rachael, I wonder if we cared more about our body as a vehicle that we use every second of every day, if everything else, like our motor vehicles etc would evolve naturally into something that better supports our bodies and environment? It’s amazing the decisions and choices that are made and put into action from a body that is loved and adored.

  37. I love this Julie and can very much relate to what you share. I was once full of angst with the state of the world and was quite righteous in my views on saving the world. Yet what was I contributing to the world – all that anger and bitterness.

  38. How I am in everything I do affects everyone and everything. It wasn’t until I came to Universal Medicine presentations that I truly embraced this. It is so easy to look outside ourselves, be it environmental or political issues and blame ‘the other’, taking no responsibility for the part we play in it all.

  39. It is not so much the action that we do, for whatever reason, but rather the quality that is held in by us, in that movement… is what offers all a potential next step of evolution.. or not. this is learning what true responsibility is.

  40. The belief, ideal, investment or attachment to something as in this case ‘saving the planet’ can be huge. The most harmful thing about it is that we think we are doing good but in fact we are contributing to the evil in the world.

  41. ‘Until we consider ourselves in all of the ways that we live, we don’t know what living in harmony with the planet looks like.’ Bringing harmony to ourselves and our own lives can’t help but heal the environment and if we were to all look at that and begin to heal everything that is getting in the way of our living harmoniously there would be monumental changes in this world.

  42. We can get lost in so many endeavours thinking we are doing the right thing, but ultimately the biggest healing for ourselves, humanity and this planet is when we are starting to be responsible with ourselves and treat our bodies in a way that we do not dump on them and therefore don’t dump on the earth, but grace it with lightness, laughter and joy.

  43. Reading some of the other comments, makes me realise how many of us adopt these issues in our lives so we can feel like we are making a difference, all the while completely neglecting ourselves. Saving the world is a really good distraction.

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