Symbols of Sustainability: Rings, Sacrifices, and Symbiosis

Green with Envy already posted about my ring, however, they did not have the actual photo. So here it is, my beautiful engagement ring approved by Ken, and inspired by one of Liza Shtromberg’s designs; an Austrailian champagne diamond made with 100% certified recycled platinum.


Rings symbolize sustainability. They symbolize the circle of life, that life goes full circle. There is no actual destination. Engagement is not an end, and similarly, once you are married you have not arrived at any finality yet have entered just another phase of your life. Rings are a “take me as I am and as I will forever be, whatever that is” or a “journey with me”. To me, marriage or any long term relationship is “real”. You must lose the delusion or expectation of future. You can dream, yet you must accept the path, enjoy the ride.


The journey toward world sustainability is the same. It is not a destination but a path. It teaches you that life goes full circle. It’s a compact with life, a philosophy, a covenant. Take me, Life, seriously. Honor me, cherish me, enjoy me, but sacrifice for me all the same.

On this journey of wedding planning I have realized there are sacrifices as there will be once we are married as well. Sacrifices come in the shape of compromises. I originally wanted quite a few separate events …The Big Fat Green Wedding was to be an extravaganza of small events for the family and one big blowout party for our friends and associates. Now, it will be condensed to a more traditional wedding in that we will have our ceremony and a reception will follow. Although the ceremony will remain private, the reception will now be a larger affair than I had originally envisioned. I am marrying the man of my dreams though, so I have no complaints J

Sacrifices also comes in the form of what you need to cut back on. Both of us have been wanting to go to Burning Man for several years. The wedding is basically 2 weeks after Burning Man … most likely we will forfeit that trip as well. Ken also likes to go to a hockey dream camp in Niagra Falls. He was unable to last year because he was touring, and because of the wedding this year, he will again have to miss his beloved camp. However, sustainability means you can't always be selfish if you want to live harmoniously/ without harm.


As a culture, we have all been living life on the edge whether we have realized it or not. The industries that we take for granted are subconscious pillars of our society and we have leveraged convenience to the point of collapse as seen in the our financial industry as well as the environmental atrocities that continue everyday (most recently, the greatest oil spill in history, just days ago). Now regardless of choice, we as a species live symbiotically to all the other species and systems of the Earth. I realize now that choosing to walk the path of an eco-conscious citizen was like wanting to marry the Earth, or wanting to at least be in a long term relationship with It. Now that I am soon to be officially married, I see Marriage as beautiful. Marriage is on some level sacrifice, and it's beautiful. It causes us to slow down and look at what's important. You realize to make the relationship last, you must compromise, or sacrifice, but the bigger picture, that relationship is so much more important you are more happy to make any sacrifices -in fact, it's joyful. I guess I hope that one day we can all look at Life on this planet not just as a long term relationship but one that we want to be in. Sustainability would become a natural and joyous part of our everyday lives.

Learn more about Janine at Green Wave



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