“Bad things happen fast, good things take time,” writes Wendy Strgar, founder and chairman of GoodCleanLove.com, and the author of the newly published book, Love That Works: A Guide to Enduring Intimacy (Love Words Press, September 2010). Committed to creating a green philosophy of relationships that teaches the importance of valuing the renewable resources of loving relationships and family, her message resonates with readers in the Middle East and beyond who recognize that our relationships are intimately intertwined with the planet.
After all, Mama Earth doesn’t need us to survive, but we need her, which leads to the next eco-love conclusion: better make sure she comes first (a generous attitude to bring into the bedroom too!).
To that end, Greenprophet.com is expanding our eco-sexuality repertoire to include insights that fall outside of the practical, how-to approach to creating a greener personal life. Strgar’s newly published book inspires the first installment in this series designed to improve the ecology of love: an explanation of the five percent rule.
The Five Percent Rule
“Someone told me a long time ago that if you can change any area of your life by a consistent five percent, the effects will be remarkable,” she says by way of introduction into this concept.
Global warming is an excellent example of how a small shift can have a big impact, she points out. Whether or not we agree on the cause, small shifts in temperature, water levels, resource allocation, and the like, are linked to potential, long term planetary upsets. We’ve got to make adjustments in how we interact with the planet and her inhabitants, if we want to cope and ensure long-term survival.
“…in love and in life, even taking small steps creates the foundation for sustainability.”
For some, those five percent changes mean starting a compost heap; for others, it means using fewer petroleum products; riding a bike instead of public transportation; eating more organic fruits and vegetables; recycling gray water, etc. More adventurous environmentalists are getting completely off the grid, showing us how drastic changes are doable and eco-friendly. There are shades of Jade for the inner environmentalist in every person reading this.
And it must be said, particularly in a region like the Middle East where larger families are the norm, that population is central in this discussion of eco-sexuality. Imagine the pressures that would be relieved if growth trends were reduced by five percent; even the least environmentally aware readers know that too many people consuming too many goods is a real and pressing concern.
Good for the Planet, Good for Love
While major lifestyle adjustments do a green world good, Strgar suggests that, in love and in life, even taking small steps creates the foundation for sustainability. Relationships take work and sometimes (particularly when we are facing personal challenges or transitions, disagreements or conflict) we may find ourselves uncertain or unwilling to redirect our behaviors and responses. If we presume that the five percent premise is sound, however, we must acknowledge that love is as much about personal development and being conscious. Love is an action, not just a feeling, the wisdom goes.
So why are we resistant to fine-tuning how we treat one another? Reluctance can be rooted in many things including fear, inertia, righteousness and the stress of daily living, she suggests. It’s too much work! It’s too hard! We bemoan…and keep on going through the motions, burnt out and frustrated, only to be brought back down to earth when a crisis reveals a fissure in our relationship.
Again, a comparison with our need to finally show respect to our planet at a critical moment in our evolution should be obvious.
Relationships are fragile eco-systems
“Relationships are fragile eco-systems; just as in the aftermath of a storm, rebuilding and recuperation is a process that takes the time and patience that is the daily work of sustaining,” she writes.
She also suggests that partners consider the five percent rule a continuous improvement plan, where we agree to “remain attentive to our own attitude and willingness to participate.” Subtle improvements in communication (i.e. practicing active listening vs. needing to be right) and adopting a sense of humor (instead of stewing in self-righteousness) are love skills that can be learned with an attitude compatible with the five percent rule. Strgar is a realist, and her ecology of love earned through life experience. It’s no surprise that she concludes with emphasizing how it takes time for seemingly “imperceptible changes to be felt and experienced.”
Any way we look at it – the planet, our intimate affairs, and even global politics in the Middle East and beyond – being aware of our imperfections, and setting realistic intentions toward making small and regular shifts takes courage, maturity and a strong sense of responsibility.
Then again, these are the foundations of good stewardship, period. Five percent – it’s an eco-friendly step to putting love and the planet first.
To learn more about Wendy Strgar and her company, visit GoodCleanLove.com
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