After a rough last couple days, I experienced a rush of generosity from friends and strangers alike. A volunteer on the farm where I worked treated my co-worker and me to a lunch that we then savored together in the shade. On the way home from my second job, I stopped in to buy a couple groceries: when the cashier learned that I still had a half an hour left to go home, he gave me the goods for free. My mother patiently and lovingly listened to me on the phone as I cried; my best friend made time in her hectic day to Skype. No one I spoke with ever made me feel rushed. I was given the space to work through a difficult living situation, and was warmly reminded, in my interactions with those I knew and those I was just meeting, that many people are motivated by a fundamental spirit of generosity.

Being generous is a practice, one that we can build on through simple acts of kindness. Whether it's freely sharing food and drink with friends for the night or listening to a stranger on the bus vent about a bad day, learning to relinquish a sense of scarcity puts us in closer contact with our environment and those living in it.

Practicing generosity strengthens our social bonds and can help us feel more at home in our hearts, more open to experiences. But it's also a core environmental value. Operating from a place of scarcity contributes to the excessive plundering of resources, underlies materialism-induced anxiety, and creates a culture of reflexive consumption. We are now dealing with the effects of this scarcity mentality as resources dwindle worldwide. Generosity of spirit may very well be a surprising ally in the fight to combat climate injustice. And it begins with giving, be it our time or empathy or support. Get the ball rolling. Share. Trust. Donate. Listen. The simple things are almost always those that can serve a bigger vision for social justice and environmental conservation.

Kate WeinerComment