I’m starting a running list of Frequently Asked Questions (or frequently received comments):

Q: “Do you think we can do this here?” {referring to community gardens, neighborhood composting, Repair Cafes, community toolsheds, public food forests, or some other monstrously cool thing that’s being done by people someplace other than “here”}

A: “Yes!” {Followed by utter silence. Because nothing else needs to be said. The truth is, people can do whatever they set out to do. Now, some folks might not be able/willing to join forces with other people to get whatever they want done. And some people might lack the tolerance for exploring different viewpoints on how to accomplish XYZ … but those are answers to different questions.}

Q (from someone not a close friend or family member): “I need help with professional service XYZ, but I can’t afford to pay you.” (I have heard this one from a number of rather wealthy people.)

A: “Then I can’t afford to work for you.” Or (in cases when you sense that the people have sincere intentions), “OK” {and then offer them a free resource, and let them know about the services you offer for a fee, if/when they want more.} (Learning to talk with people about your professional services is really important. We can’t build a sustainable society if people can’t make a living.)

Q: “Did you ride your BICYCLE all the way here?” {typically accompanied by a look of pity or horror}

A: “Yes.” {and it was great getting all that exercise and fresh air, while building social capital} “Did you drive your CAR all the way here?” {Mustering equally pitying, horrified look} Or: “Yes!!! Maybe you would ride with me next time!”

Q: “I worry about you riding your bicycle.”

A: “I worry about you driving your car.” {And at least on a bicycle, there’s almost zero chance I would ever get anyone else killed.} And: “Maybe we can go riding together sometime. It’s fun, and it might help ease your fears.”

Q: “I feel guilty because of {not recycling, or using paper napkins, or whatever}.”

A: “Yeah, I feel guilty too, for {eating nonlocal cheese, or forgetting to specify no straw, or buying a drink in a plastic cup}. But wallowing in guilt doesn’t help. We have to just keep moving forward.” And: “I’ve found it helpful to participate in groups of likeminded people, like Riot for Austerity and Journey To Zero-Waste. They’re both great sources of tips and moral support – why don’t you join us?”

Got any FAQ’s you’d like to add? Drop me a line!