Green Parenting: Most Good and Least Harm

What does it take to make our world a more just and humane place to live? What can we do as individuals and as a society to stop pollution, injustice and other problems that our world is now faced with?

It can all seem so overwhelming and most people don’t know where to start or if it even matters what they do. I found this theory that Zoe Weil, co-founder and President of the Institute for Humane Education, shared in a TED-x talk called MOGO (MOst GOod).

In her talk she poses the question, “How can each of us make choices in our lives to make the most good and the least harm to ourselves, other people, animals and to the environment?” As she says and I can reiterate: it’s quite challenging to put into practice but it can be done!

Here are her reasons why people DON’T do the most good and least harm:

1. We lack knowledge about the effects of our choices. We simply don’t know where and how the products we use are produced (think food, products, building materials).

2. Lack the will to get the knowledge. Faced with the reality to allow our desires to eclipse our values; that doesn’t feel that good. “I don’t wanna know.”

3. There are so many cruel and destructive systems we can’t extricate ourselves from- like car, cell phone, computer- so we just don’t think about how they are made and what had to happen for them to get into our hands.

4. Our choices don’t make a difference.

But she says we can all make a change by being the change we want to see. Like when we are acting as role models for our children and showing them how we want them to act, we too are being role models when it comes to how we want our children to treat our environment.

“All of our lives are our message whether we like it or not. Are we making choices that truly model our values? Like kindness and wisdom. Modeling a message of kindness means committing to learn about the effects of our choices and spending our money wisely. Consciously model our message by making choices that do the most good and the least harm.

We can change the catastrophes through our work, charitable giving and volunteering. Think about what skills and talents could you bring to the table? What do you love to do? What system do you most want to change? Find the point to the answer where those 3 questions meet and you might be on your way to finding your life’s purpose and calling.

The most profound way to initiate change is to make sure our children have the knowledge, skills and conviction to the most good and least harm. The world becomes what we teach.”

Take 20 minutes and watch Zoe’s TED-x video. She has many more on YouTube as well and she gives some great ideas and shares some profound encouragement on how we can do the most good and least harm to our environment.

Zoe is the author of six books and hundreds of articles and tours with her one-woman show, “My Ongoing Problems with Kindness: Confessions of MOGO Girl.” You can find her on Facebook, follow her on Twitter @ZoeWeil, and read her blog at


Green Parenting is published every Friday.
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