Are Going Green and Natural Living Extreme?

To the uninitiated, going green and natural living may have the appearance of extremism. But is it really? Whereas we might term our actions going green or naturalistic, much of the same type of behavior would have simply been commonplace 200 years ago. Go figure.
Below are five mindsets, actions, or behaviors that are thought of as going green or naturalistic in the modern-day sense of those words, but would have been simply “normal” or otherwise par for the course for our ancestors.

Labor and Delivery – What whackos ever go through the process of labor and delivery at home! At least that’s what folks who are more “conservative” tend to believe. Why go through the hassles of childbirth at home when there’s a perfectly good hospital for that?! That is the current mindset of many in the healthcare industry as well as in the general populace who don’t factor in that their great-great-grandmother was born at home. And she lived – they’re here as proof of that.

Birthing at home isn’t for everybody, especially for those who have known medical conditions that would prevent it, but for those who wish to birth at home and understand the risks, it’s quite a natural setting to do so. Thousands of home births happen successfully each year. Preparation for pregnancy as well as a healthy pregnancy with no known increased risks, and a regimented and outlined program for accomplishing the home birth (with an emergency back-up plan) should be in place along with a certified midwife or attending physician. Much of the concern in birthing at home has to do with elevated risks due to modern-day lifestyles.

Organic Gardening – Less controversial than the above, organic gardening can be fun and challenging. If you’re an organic gardener, you may think of non-organic gardening as not only “cheating”, but also much less healthy in terms of the resulting produce achieved. Without all of the chemical treatments of a modern day, and the less nutritive soil, it’s no wonder many are turning to the type of gardening that their forefathers did. Ironically, our ancestors would never have considered their gardening activities as organic gardening, but just regular and traditional gardening. No extremism here, move along…

Diet - Today those who are uber-health conscious like to consume the type of organic produce as discussed above. The Farmer’s Markets that showcase organic produce are making a “comeback”, and the non-juiced (rBST injected) cows are en vogue for the “natural lifers”. The GMO (genetically modified) foods are a big tsk, tsk, but would our ancestors have ever had to worry about these things? The “Farmer’s Markets” back then weren’t anywhere close to a novelty, but instead a regular occurrence. Fruit stands with organic produce were the norm – no need for any certifications. And farmers would have bristled at even the suggestion of injecting hormones into their livestock. But today, those who are health conscious and careful in their food selections can find themselves a bit ostracized as being somewhat extremist. Funny, the farmers and regular folk of yesteryear would have thought of the methods that are used in our modern-day as being unconscionable.

Transportation - Transportation such as the bicycle is also making a comeback. Although its technology has advanced, it is still minus the carbon footprint of an automobile, and more and more people are taking up bicycling, racing, and mountain biking as a hobby. Since the bicycle has been around since 1869, and is often used for leisure, this is not an object that is often seen as extreme. And biking a 20-mile round trip to work and back every day isn’t as strange, especially because of our country’s rate of obesity and the need for exercise. Though, if you do have a car and you bike (or walk for that matter) to work on a daily basis, you might get some raised eyebrows, especially if you are doing it to lessen your carbon footprint.

Upcycling – Some pretty creative things can be made from upcycling. But our ancestors wouldn’t have called it upcycling. In fact this term wasn’t even around until 1994. Our ancestors’ mantra was, “Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.” This sentiment carried over into their use of all materials, and they just methodically took used materials and made new uses for them. It was considered smart and economical. Today you might be seen as a tightwad, miser, or cheapskate if you upcycle something, but it was a perfectly natural thing to do for your great grandparents.

All of the above activities are “a day in the life of” our ancestors, whereas they are things most of us have to consciously make an effort to do. Jump aboard the going green wagon and see what it was like for your ancestors! You’ll find these behaviors and activities aren’t that extreme after all.

-Written by Michelle Gordon

Michelle Gordon is a fan of living life to the fullest by living it as nature intended. She writes for

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