Thoughts on Footprint and Handprint

Recently a fellow artist was telling someone about my low-footprint lifestyle. She said, “If everyone lived like Jenny, and aliens from another planet were looking down at Earth from space, they wouldn’t even be able to tell that anyone was living here!”

She meant that as a compliment, a tribute to the concept of “living lightly” to preserve ecosystems. But her words reminded me that I needed to write this post. Minimizing our footprint, while essential to our long-term survival as part of the interconnected web of life, is not the be-all and end-all. There’s something more that we human beings can do — MUST do — beyond just shrinking our footprint (our negative impact). We also need to maximize our HANDprint (our beneficial impact).

I mean, sure, we could all just try to hunker down and sit still and suck our tummies in and breathe as little as possible, but what would the point be? After all, humans are part of nature too. If you ask me, we’re meant to use our big brains to IMPROVE the world, make it better for all creatures, by working hand-in-hand with nature.

The fundamental essence of a human being is our creativity. Art, music, writing, design, engineering … If we don’t do our thing, we’re just taking up space on the planet no matter how small we try to shrink ourselves.

Many people say, “I’m just not creative.” But in fact, everyone is creative; it’s the essence of humanness. You may not have tapped into your creativity but it’s there, waiting to be utilized. Maximize your handprint! Find as many ways as possible to unleash your beneficial influence on the world.