Sometimes we have to make choices in our lives that don’t give us pleasure, that don’t make our lives easier, that go against the popular majority. If we are to live with a strong moral and ethical code, we will have to make a stand somewhere, even if we are standing alone.
In my Druid practice, there is a very strong ethical stance with regards to the environment. It’s why I’ve been vegetarian for nearly twenty years, and why I’ve since gone vegan. I’ve made a vow not to buy any new clothes for over a year, in order to learn to make do with what I have, or to buy second-hand items when necessary. I use organic, SLS free bath and beauty products as much as I can. I recycle. I use vinegar and water to clean my house, sometimes scented with an essential oil. My garden is organic. These choices have not made my life any easier – in fact, rather the opposite. But it’s a choice that really wasn’t a choice – I couldn’t follow my religious path without making those changes in my life.
This weekend I had to make a choice about one of my many hobbies as well – LRP, or LARP (live action role-playing). This system runs its events on land that is leased from other landowners, which has several large fields and a patch of woodland – a great site. However, this spring, the event held battles in the woods, which were in full bloom with bluebells. Large sections were trampled underfoot by hundreds of people.
An active member of The Woodland Trust, this shocked me to the core. Bluebell woods are protected, but this was still happening. After writing to the company owner, I’m still not certain anything will change, or be done about it. I am sincerely hoping that they will get in touch with the landowners, The Woodland Trust and Natural England about the issue, and how it can be resolved. I have written to all concerned about the issue. Until then, I cannot give the company any more of my money, for that would be condoning the destruction of bluebell woods. It’s terribly sad, for I have a lot of friends within that community, but I cannot compromise my principles in this regard.
Druidry is all about relationship, and we can easily forget that relationship is not only with each other as human beings, but with the earth as a whole. To run through bluebell woods, destroying them underfoot as I “play” out a battle is completely disregarding any relationship to the woods, the protected flora, and all future sites as well. We must make a stand for what we believe in, when things aren’t right – and especially for those who cannot speak for themselves, whether it be a bluebell, a dog being kicked by its owner, violence towards women, a teenager throwing a soda can onto the verge.
Balancing strong environmentalism whilst living in the 21st century is difficult. I still have to drive a car fuelled with a non-renewable resource. My house is heated with oil. Our electricity is from coal-fired power stations and nuclear power stations. However, I strive to do the best I can – it’s better than doing nothing at all.
A good resource for living ethically within the Druid Tradition can be found on The Druid Network’s website here – http://druidnetwork.org/what-is-druidry/ethical-living/
I know I could do more to be more green myself, and I feel embarrassed when I realise the reason why I haven’t done any of these things is – I’m too lazy. This is why posts like yours hit home and are an awesome reminder.
We try to buy organic when we can, and we’re growing our own spinach, peas and strawberries on our balcony (though I tried organic oats, and they were awful. Back to store brand). We buy our meat from the butcher when we do eat meat, which is not always organic but at least better treated than supermarket meat (and it tastes better too). We don’t have a car, and I don’t really want one until absolutely necessary. But we don’t recycle as often or as much as we could, and I wish there was a place I could deposit of our organic waste – but a balcony isn’t really the place for a compost pile. I’m also slowly replacing my wardrobe as I’m entering the corporate world from being a student, though I do donate all the clothes I don’t wear anymore. But it really feeds my vanity, so I try to limit myself to one or two new items per month, and donating as much.
I didn’t know you could clean with just vinegar and water, I’ll need to look into that. I’m not really fond of the chemical smell we have in the house after my boyfriend washes the floor, or I clean the kitchen. I’ll also have to look more into organic soaps, shampoos and shower gels – it only recently occurred to me how much we wash or flush out every day that contains chemicals.
Thanks – and have a look at The Druid Network link for more ideas on ethical living. x
Just a word (or ten!) to Trine: It can be overwhelming at first, when you realize just how much you could be doing, and are not. When I first began following a Druid path about 8 years ago, I felt incredibly overwhelmed — and guilty — because the issues were shown to me en masse, while the answers were not. But I just started taking one step at a time, doing what I could do, as Joanna said — and when I realized there was something I could do that I hadn’t been doing, then that was the next step I took, without guilt for not having done it sooner (part of my Druid training was to give up guilt and replace it with joy!).
Just the other day, while I was running water in my bathroom sink waiting for it to get hot, it occurred to me that I must be wasting an awful lot of water this way. I got a quart jar and started letting it fill, and then another quart jar, and so on. Turns out it takes a gallon of water before the hot water reaches my bathroom! I had no clue! I live in an area that has been experiencing draught for several years, and water is a precious commodity. I have rain barrels and have made dry creeks so the runoff from my roof waters the plants by my house, and am replacing my lawn with native plants. Now I will go one step further and save the water I am “wasting” in the bathroom to water my house plants and other potted plants outside.
It’s just a matter of becoming conscious…and while sometimes it requires more work, when you think of it as doing it as an intense act of love, it doesn’t seem like so much work after all.
That’s brilliant! x
This is a shame. To see the collision of things you love. Perhaps some one could contact land owners, place signs, or (sadly) erect a small fence. Perhaps points could be deducted or gaming penalties enacted as a result of straying into the area if it were designated as some poisonous region to the charecters.( for example, a swamp or enchanted area) Maybe this way the respect for protected species doesn’t interfere with the fantasy of the game itself. In any case, I’m sorry to hear about it. I hope you are able to continue to enjoy LARPs!
Well, I have written to all concerned at the beginning of the week, and the response from the company that I have received isn’t adequate, so I wrote to Woodland Trust, Natural England and Royal Forestry Society. The company doesn’t think it is doing anything wrong, and more importantly, chose to focus on the financial repercussions of changing tactics more than anything, which I found incredibly disheartening. It’s in the hands of WT, NE and RFS now… and I will be moving to other game systems! x
Well, looks like there is no budging on their standpoint from this company. They feel that they are doing enough to protect the land, and that it threatens them economically if they remove the battles from the woods. Running battles in the woods in spring, and collecting deadwood six times a year for over 7,000 people – the little forest is going to be a “dead” forest very quickly. At the previous events held it was good, because people didn’t use the woods – the natives lived there, which numbered maybe 100 in total, and they could kill you quite easily in there. so, the woods were left virtually alone for the 5 years that they ran events on that site. And it was financially viable then. So what has changed now, I wonder? Nothing – it’s just an excuse. Very well worded, but it still doesn’t hold up to the facts.
But I’m not on the boards any more to argue this point. I doubt very many would listen to me anyway, now that the company director has spoken (the thread has been closed as well). Apparently I’ve also been slated disrespectfully by others on the online group, who have had no recriminations for their bad behaviour towards someone who simply had an differing opinion and a choice to make (the company says it has a strict no bullying policy, and they do take some matters seriously, but internet bullying is still bullying). Far too many people are content to believe that those in “authority” know what is best for them and for all, which sadly just isn’t the case. Those who wish to investigate further can, and it is now up to each person individually to make a choice, or to even see that there are choices, but I’ve been silenced on this matter. Sadly there are far more people who believe that their own self-interest is more important – from companies and customers alike. Ah well… I’ve done what I can, and am no longer supporting this company.
Sadly, so many times things like this come down to money. The LARP – won’t change because of greed. Most the year I can’t afford to feed my family organically, though I would truly love to, here where I live it costs almost twice as much.
Human greed will be the total downfall of this planet and of our species, and all the others we will take out with us.
It just sickens and saddens me – there is no need for the bluebells to be trampled, battles could be taken out of the woods during the season. But no, the cost to other’s “fun” is more important. I am seeing so much of this lately that it is completely and utterly disheartening. It’s a good thing I’m a stubborn gal though 😉