30 Day Paganism Meme: Day 9 ~ Environmentalism

It’s true, it’s true — Hellenists and recons in general are not known for their environmentalism. In fact, many seem completely misguided on the concept of urban paganism and seek it not because of the spirituality of the city, but merely to show everybody else that they are totes nuffin like those dirty (Pop) Wiccan hippies!

…but when we look at the ancient Hellenic world, we see that most of the people lived in sparsely populated rural areas, we see that rivers, springs, trees, clouds, flowers, all had minor deities connected to them. Even the major deities like Zeus and Demeter have aspects that are connected closely to the rustic world and its cycles. Even urban people are dependent on rural people, and even sometimes thwarted by the seasonal cycles (like the great Chicago snow of 1967). People in the cities may have different spiritual interests and needs than rural pagans and polytheists, but we’re not so far removed from each-other that I can accept down-looking from either side.

On the other hand, there does seem to be a certain chauvinism to rural pagans and polytheists that even permeates into material written for those who live in cities. While The Urban Primitive by Raven Kaldera and Tannin Schwartzstein attempts to avoid this rural bias by introducing it as not only for those who feel “trapped” by a city and long to escape, but also for those who love their cities — but is ultimately one of the guiltiest culprits by failing to differentiate in its advice, and even implicitly suggesting that everybody who is immersed in a city will become fatigued and depressed (failing to acknowledge that some are psychologically sustained and spiritually fed on that “constant energy”) and that without even periodic forays into the countryside, all will become insane — this sickening display of rustic chauvinism is one that they can get away with because it is all too common amongst pagans and polytheists.

Urban spirituality is not about avoiding environmental realities, but simply having a different understanding of them, and thus different ideas on sustainable living. Where the rustic pagan harvests, the urban polytheists buys locally-farmed foods from Trader Joe’s or farmer’s markets. Where rustic pagans have a huge compost heap off the side of the barn, the urban polytheist maintains a re-used plastic cat-litter bucket for composting under the sink for his indoor herb garden.

On the other hand, I feel there’s sufficient evidence that “certified organic” is a bit of a marketing scam, and that there’s no scientific evidence to prove conclusively that it’s really that much better for one, if at all. “Free range” is in the boat right after that, as any vegan can tell you. Similarly, as much as I tend to enjoy my friend Susie’s little cartoons, it’s the corporate cucumber than’s more likely to be huge, simply because it is bred (or “genetically engineered”) to be mostly water, which doesn’t make it very flavourful (this “rule” is especially true for berries, especially strawberries).

While I have no love for smoke and smog created by “dead tree media” (a term that I’ve come to find puke-worthy), at the same time, I have less love for further stripping the earth of its limited, non-renewable resources to produce non-biodegradable e-book readers. We’d be much better off, and it would prove more sustainable, to devise emission-reduction in paper production (a product that LITERALLY grows on trees) than it would to continue to mine for Kindles and Nooks — products which are designed to be obsolete in two years tops, and completely unusable (due to battery-life reduction) on three. It troubles me that one in ten people have apparently been suckered into this planet-killing scam just so they can pat themselves on the back and tell themselves it’s “greener” because some website said so and it kinda-sorta made sense in print.

And that’s my biggest problem with people, both in and outside the pagan and polytheist communities, who tout “greener living” — their own personal research is minimal, at best, and always geared toward making themselves feel better about themselves and their own decisions. It’s not about learning the hows and whys and what to do to actually make things sustainable and better for the planet — it’s about just as empty a consumerism as they often rail against, only this time tailor-made toward earning themselves a “Good-Guy Badge” and self back-pats and showing off this Cool New Gizmo™ that will make their way of life So Much Greener®©™, and fuck actual lifestyle changes, because buying the Cool New Gizmo™ is so easy! Hell, it even annoys me when certain pagan homesteaders go on about what great sacrifices they made to be oh-so-sustainable, when the reality of the fact that it’s not really a sacrifice if you get off on it, especially the attention and accolades you get from everybody who “admires” you for it. There should be no shame in admitting that you actually enjoy being a polytheist equivalent of Amish — nor should there be in actually enjoying your warehouse loft apartment across from the Philadelphia Whole Foods.

I believe every city has her nymphai, just like every countryside and every forest does; I believe this because I have communed with the nymphai of several cities, and have found complimentary personalities. The urban environment needs its own care and attention.


0. Intro to meme
1. Beliefs – Why Hellenismos?
2. Beliefs – Cosmology
3. Beliefs – Deities
4. Beliefs – Birth, death and rebirth
5. Beliefs – Sacred sexuality
6. Beliefs – Divination, mysticism and various woo shit
7. Beliefs – The power of prayer/reciprocity
8. Beliefs – Festivals
9. Environmentalism
10. Patrons – Eros
11. Patrons – Apollon
12. Pantheon – Mousai
13. Pantheon – Adonis
14. Pantheon – Nyx & Kybele
15. Pantheon – Every-One Else
16. Nature spirits, Khthonoi, & The Dead
17. My ways of worship
18. Community
19. Hellenismos and my family/friends
20. Hellenismos and my love life
21. Other paths I’ve explored
22. Hellenismos and major life events
23. Ethics
24. Personal aesthetics and Hellenismos
25. Favoured ritual tools, and why
26. Any “secular” pastimes with religious significance, and why
27. How your faith has helped you in difficult times
28. One misconception about Hellenismos you’d like to clear up
29. The future of Hellenismos
30. Advice for seekers

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2 thoughts on “30 Day Paganism Meme: Day 9 ~ Environmentalism

    • Tell it to Jack LaLane.

      The Quality Low Input Food (the 5-year study funded by the European Commission many organic proponents like to quote) study showed some benefits while mostly showing no significant difference in food quality nor nutritional content, and was ultimately inconclusive because its results could not be replicated, and this inability-to-replicate was most eloquently illustrated by the UK studies –; and believe me, a trip to the grocery store alone can show that there is the potential for big money behind "certified organic" farming, if there truly was a significant difference, a government would get behind it. The overwhelming majority of studies also show no significant difference in taste.

      That said, you're welcome to believe what you want, and buy what you want, as much as I'm welcome to place the value that I do in the scientific method. Hell, I've hypothesised that I'm not actually lactose intolerant, but allergic to something they feed or medicate the cows at non-organic farms with, so the fact that something is nutritionally sound and scientifically determined safe by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine doesn't necessarily mean that it's "good" for everybody — but I've come to this idea after noticing that I do best with raw milk from a local farm, but it's not just something I thought up one day and then ran with cos it looked good in print and "made [some] sense".

      Like

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