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My Life is My Career

Being Green

Christine Maccabee

December, 2009

I believe Kermit the Frog said it best when he sang "It's not that easy bein' green" on the Sesame Street TV show many years ago. I used to watch it with my my kids, as did many of you I am sure, and I know I benefitted from it as much as my children did. We all learned that it is ok to be different, and just fine being who you are, even if you are green!

The words in Kermits song go very deep. As a performer I would like to sing it at my next concert as it touches me in all the right places. I was always a shy, self-conscious person and somewhat troubled, as was Kermit, for "people tend to pass you over 'cause you're not standing out like flashy sparkles on the water or stars in the sky".

I like this famous frog's values. After much struggle he ultimately resolves that it is ok to be simple, to kind of "blend in with so many other ordinary things" like green pine trees and lily pads. I think I could have been a frog and been very happy, for "green is the color of spring, and green can be cool and friendly-like, and green can be big like an ocean or important like a mountain or tall like a tree."

All of us are learning these days, especially our children in school as they study ecology, just how important those oceans and mountains and trees really are. Like lowly little green frogs these things are not to be taken for granted.

In fact, frogs and other amphibians are one of nature's monitors as to the health of our planet and many scientists are keeping a close watch on their precious habitats many of which are unfortunately disappearing or becoming contaminated.

As you all know, I am sure, Kermit and all his relations, some of which are much flashier and fancier than he, are endangered by the encroachment of human activities such as mining, industrialization of all sorts, suburban sprawl, deforestation of rainforests for agriculture and raising of beef cattle for meat consumption, etc., which inevitably, and sadly, leave destruction of habitat in their wake.

These days, whenever I am tempted to eat a beef burger I think of my elephant and giraffe friends who get along quite well on a vegetarian diet. Many of my friends are eating lower on the food chain for both ethical and health reasons.

Being green is challenging because it requires changing our habits, which isn't always easy, but ultimately can be very gratifying.

The lesson I have learned from Kermit is that it is ok to be a tree hugger and a flower child. Many years ago while hiking in the Rockies, I came upon an ancient tree, easily 600 years old or more. I stood there transfixed by its awesome majestic beauty. And then, yes, I reached out and hugged it. So true, Hermit, it hasn't been easy bein' green, as there are people who have mocked me, ignored me, and judged me for my values.

Indeed, I judge myself, for as a human being living in these modern times it is impossible to live up to my highest standards. However, my experience goes much deeper than supporting environmental groups or buying a Prius automobile, though these things are good if you are able. At the deepest level my life here in the Catoctin Mountains revolves around what is known as "deep ecology" which is a spiritual understanding of the interconnectedness of all living things.

Daily I am touched by the awesome mystery and beauty of the plants, animals and insects around me and I deeply understand their importance for the health and well-being of our truly living planet. It is a privilege to be able to garden in this Eden, and I never take it for granted.

Happily, I am not alone in these feelings. Multitudes of nature lovers, tree huggers and flower children and activists around the world care deeply as well. They are green, and they embrace it. They likely even embrace a tree now and then!

So Kermit, you are not alone!

Besides Kermit the frog I have many other heroes and heroines. One woman who has inspired me tremendously is Julia Butterfly. If you do not know of her you really should Google her.

For a little over two years in 1997 she lived in the canopy of a 180 foot, 1,000 year old redwood tree in California. She said she would not come down until her tree (which she named Luna) and those around it were permanently protected. This 12-foot-thick tree was marked for harvest by the Pacific Lumber Company.

By the time Julia had climbed up into Luna, all but 3% of ancient old growth redwoods had been timbered and mudslides destroying homes and natural habitat were the result. Julia was drawn like a magnet to the tree, and with lots of help from her friends, endured rain, wind and cold until the lumber company committed to preserving Luna and a two mile radius of forest around her.

This courageous young woman did something very few of us would try…she put her life on the line for her beliefs. She was not the ordinary run of the mill tree hugger, that's for sure! She was being herself, and she was being green. It was a proud moment for Kermit and all his tree frog relatives around the world.

There is not enough news in our papers about the good things that are going on and things that people are doing to make a difference. I have noticed some change and that encourages me. People are standing up for what they believe and I applaud them for it.

Businesses in Frederick are working together to recycle as much of their waste as possible, some churches are setting a good example and are working towards leaving a smaller footprint on this precious earth, God's Creation, which we really do NOT own, and lots of people are creating habitat sanctuaries on their properties and in their backyards.

Thank heaven for all such persistent visionaries. I say, stay strong, keep pluggin' and keep the faith. Our precious earth needs you. MY personal goal is to live more lightly on the earth and to find happiness with growing things be they children or plants or animals. What is yours?

"Simplicity, simplicity" said Thoreau. "Look at the lilies of the field…" said Jesus. "I am green and it'll do fine", says Kermit the frog. "It's beautiful and I think it's what I want to be." It's really not that hard. In fact, it's a joy! Thanks Kermit for reminding us!!

To learn more about efforts to preserve remaining old growth forests visit

To learn more about creating a backyard wildlife habitant, visit the National Wildlife Federation at

Read other articles by Christine Maccabee