I don't consider myself a "hippie," nor was I raised by hippies. My parents were average middle class Americans, far from hippie. But I do have a fond memory of my childhood that could be characterized as "hippie." My mom used to collect cans and bottles for recycling, and when we had a bunch we would ride our bicycles to the recycling center. This was way before recycling was popular, and no one had even had a thought of curbside recycling. I credit my mom for my environmental bent.
I was having a discussion today with someone about carbon-offset credits. The person I was chatting with thinks they're a great idea and will be buying them as holiday gifts for all his friends/family members. For many reasons, I am not a fan (not the least of which is the lack of oversight). The person was going on and on about how important it was for me to buy these things especially every time I travelled (I fly more than he does). I finally reached a point where I got impatient with the conversation and asked him if he ate steak (knowing full well he does). I then told him that since I am vegan my carbon footprint is a tiny fraction of his. That effectively ended the conversation.
Everyone needs to make their own decisions, and hopefully there will be some thought behind the decision making process. I strongly believe that veganism has a much more positive impact than most any other "environmental behavior." That's not to say that I won't do other things that I consider important to the environment. I collect rainwater. I compost. I recycle. I am not a "consumer." But the thing that will make the most impact over the course of my lifetime, is that I don't consume animal products.
Then I got me to wondering which is better for the environment, recycling or veganism, both of which are behaviors I believe in. Well, it looks like recycling is becoming cost prohibitive because of the current recession.
So my environmental slogan is now: reduce your consumption, reuse what you can, and don't eat animals!