Managing One’s News Intake

In my book, I mention that I’ve found it helpful to deliberately moderate my intake of news. This doesn’t mean avoiding reality; it just means not taking in more media stories than I need to stay informed and on-task.

I’m well aware of the biospheric crisis, and don’t gain anything from hooking myself up to a steady drip-feed of horrific reports.

Then again, taking in a certain amount of the really scary news helps me maintain a healthy sense of urgency. When I say sense of urgency — in my case, I always know it’s urgent, but sometimes I need to be nudged to step up my communication with public officials and community leaders. The scary stories help me with that by reminding me of what’s at stake. Also they help me feel less “weird” and “goofy” in the face of mainstream people (or even fellow environmentalists sometimes) looking askance at what they see as my “excessively radical” lifestyle.

The horrifying news reminds me that nope, my lifestyle’s not at all inappropriate given the gravity of the situation. So when I find myself hanging back in my civic communication and other advocacy, I make sure to take in some scary climate coverage, backed by science, from the sources I trust. On the other hand, if I find myself getting despondent to the point of being paralyzed or nihilistic, I have no qualms about taking a news break. And this is my suggestion for everyone: Regulate your media intake as needed.

Here’s the latest horrifying report I’ve read. From Umair Haque, writing at medium.com The Age of Extinction Is Here — Some Of Us Just Don’t Know It Yet :

“My friends in the Indian Subcontinent tell me stories, these days, that seem like science fiction. The heatwave there is pushing the boundaries of survivability. My other sister says that in the old, beautiful city of artists and poets, eagles are falling dead from the sky. They are just dropping dead and landing on houses, monuments, shops. They can’t fly anymore.

“The streets, she says, are lined with dead things. Dogs. Cats. Cows. Animals of all kinds are just there, dead. They’ve perished in the killing heat. They can’t survive.

“People, too, try to flee. They run indoors, spend all day in canals and rivers and lakes, and those who can’t, too, line the streets, passed out, pushed to the edge. They’re poor countries. We won’t know how many this heatwave has killed for some time to come. Many won’t even be counted.

“Think about all that for a moment. Really stop and think about it. Stop the automatic motions of everyday life you go through and think about it.

“You see, my Western friends read stories like this, and then they go back to obsessing over the Kardashians or Wonder Woman or Johnny Depp or Batman. They don’t understand yet. Because this is beyond the limits of what homo sapiens can really comprehend, the Event. That world is coming for them, too.

“The analogy is often used to describe ‘climate change’ of frogs in a boiling pot. It’s useful, but only to a certain degree. When the pot boils, they’re taken out and eaten. We were in a boiling pot, and now we’re at the stage where we’re about to get taken out and eaten. This is when things start to get really, really bad — really, really fast.

“I don’t use the words ‘climate change’ to describe any of this, because, well, they’re inadequate. The way that we tell that story has led to a kind of shocking sense of apathy and ignorance about the reality of what we face. People read the science, and think that if the temperature rises by one degree, two, three, what’s the big deal? Ha ha! Who cares? That’s not even a hot day? Wrong. A better way to tell that story is something like this. On average, when the temperature rises one degree, the seasons change by a factor of ten at equatorial regions. One degree, one point five, which is where we are now — the summers are ten to fifteen degrees Celsius hotter. Two degrees? Twenty. Three degrees? Thirty.

“We’re heading for three degrees.

“It’s already 50 degrees Celsius in the Subcontinent. Spain is bracing for an extreme heatwave, of about 40 degrees plus as is Europe, as is much of America. That’s at one degree or so of global warming. At two degrees? The Subcontinent hits 60 degrees Celsius. Spain and Europe hit 50. At three degrees? Equatorial regions hit 70 degrees Celsius or more. Spain and Europe hit 60.

“Extinction happens.

“This is the threshold. We are already hitting it. We can see it now in startling, grim, vivid detail. The Event is not some kind of abstraction or prediction. Extinction is now really happening in plain sight in places around the globe — and they are revealing to us the limits of what our civilization can survive. That limit is hit somewhere between 40 and 50 degrees. After that point, life as we know it comes to an end.

“My Western friends still don’t really grasp this at all. They imagine that as the seasons get exponentially hotter, they can simply…turn up the air conditioning. LOL. Sorry, it doesn’t work like that. Why not? Not just because energy grids will fail, or even because at a certain point even air conditioning just fails. It’s because of life.

“My Western friends don’t think these days. This fantasy of turning up the air conditioning and sitting in your apartment or house? They ignore the now obvious signs. Birds falling from the sky, Dead things lining the streets. What are you going to do, sit in your air conditioned home while everything else goes extinct?

“It doesn’t work like that. Those things, those beings — birds, cows, sheep, chickens, whatever — they provide us with the basics, too. They perish, we perish. Insects nourish our soil, birds eat insects, and on and on. My Western friends don’t understand that we are part of systems. Ecosystems, in this case. And as their foundations are ripped out, we can scarcely survive. The idea that you can sit in your air conditioned home in comfort while everything else goes extinct is a fantasy, a delusion. What will you eat? Who will turn the soil? Who’ll keep the crops healthy? Where will the basics of life come from?

“Our civilization collapses somewhere between fifty and sixty degrees Celsius. Bang, poof, gone. Nothing works after that point. Everything begins to die — not just animals and us in the case, but our systems which depend on them. Economics crater, inflation skyrockets, people grow poorer, fascism erupts as a consequence. You can already see that beginning to happen around the globe — but it’s just the beginning. Imagine how much worse inflation’s going to get when Extinction really begins to bite.”

https://eand.co/the-age-of-extinction-is-here-some-of-us-just-dont-know-it-yet-7001f5e0c79a

SenseOfUrgency

Thoughts re individual action & how it adds up

Some things I’ve shared in recent conversations in Degrowth & Deep Adaptation circles:

According to my observations and experience: Individual choices when coupled with the phenomenon of social contagion lead to popular trends and movements. These grassroots trends and movements in turn serve as a “trim-tab” or foot in the door for influencing corporate decisions & government policies. Which then ripple throughout society.

One example, from an area of my work, is the landscaping industry. Hyper-manicured, chemically intensive lawns, maintained by “professional lawn services”, became a super widespread craze starting in the 1990s. One homeowner, one lawn at a time, it turned into a multibillion-dollar industry, which has gone on to influence government policy. Hyper-manicured, chemically intensive landscaping is now essentially codified as law, or at least has an official blessing as the “gold standard”, in many parts of the USA.

The dominance of lawns and other toxic, nonnative, inedible landscaping is obviously undesirable to ecosystems, biodiversity, local food security and more.

But, beneficial actions can in the same manner become fads, crazes, trends, movements started by a few — but then go on to wield influence over corporate decisions, public policy.

NO, individual actions alone are not enough, or wouldn’t be, if each of us lived in isolation. Cultural transmission is the key ingredient.

We can make it COOL to consume less to the point of actually doing degrowth in our everyday lives. Many subcultures and groups are doing some version of that right now, and our actions if taken together are adding up.

Of course defining anticonsumerism and degrowth as fun and cool has to be accompanied by anti-war push. Demilitarization is key. In my country (USA) and I think many other countries nowadays, militarization and other authoritarianism is getting popular acceptance, and we have to push back against that, offer alternatives to help people feel secure.

Oh, and any of us who have the freedom to do so, need to depopularize financial “growth”. Transition all our money out of Wall Street, cryptocurrencies, and anything else that’s based on “financial growth”; invest in our local communities & tangible real assets such as local food systems, rainwater harvesting, community housing trusts etc. And also help our kids & grandkids & other young people in our communities find ways to have a real livelihood while avoiding taking on huge college loans and so on.

*******

I actually think that the degrowth grassroots movement could end up carrying enough weight, that we become in essence a de facto “country” in terms of strength and numbers.

Basically I’m talking about popularizing degrowth via the social contagion that naturally happens when people find ways and practices that build their security and enrich their lives.

Social media are of course a huge handy vehicle for beneficial social contagion of degrowth, permaculture, etc. But the contagion can and does happen the old-fashioned way too. Neighbors chatting; people writing letters to friends etc.

Voluntary degrowth on the personal level, by those of us who have the means to do it, is an adaptive best practice that can help ease suffering on the collective level.

*******

(In response to a persistent idea among some degrowth/anticonsumerist folks that “the cities must be abandoned”):

I do degrowth in my everyday life in my city, and help others do the same, in any way they are willing. Small actions add up to collective action. Growing food, sharing food, collecting rainwater and learning how to live on it.

Localizing our investments. Minimizing our need to earn money.

Developing cooperation, compassion, & other skills for working w people and getting along.

Human settlements have always existed in both urban and rural form. Cities aren’t going away.

****

And now, more wise words from Kirk Hall, a fellow Degrowth group member who has on multiple occasions allowed me to share his words on this blog:

“Degrowth is ‘soft’ revolution, revolution-lite. It’s not tipping the apple cart over, it’s a polite suggestion the apple cart be moved to a new location. Seriously though, getting people to farm their yards, balconies, and rooftops is revolutionary. Getting people to co-house, cut their hours and participate in farming and food rescue is revolutionary. Forming Co-op businesses and various unions is revolutionary. … It has to happen at a faster pace, but the breaking down of the normal system is going to cause more people to look for alternatives.”

Taking Our Medicine vs. Not Taking Our Medicine

Hyperconsumerist rich Anglo/Euro-Western industrialized culture is by and large not taking its medicine, in terms of heeding Mother Earth’s ample and generous warnings.

To start, let’s focus in on the category of transportation. That is one of the several main factors in our outsized footprint (others include food/agriculture, home energy use, and purchases of consumer goods).

In the category of gasoline prices and transportation in general, here are some examples of what “not taking our medicine” looks like:

• blaming the president for “high” gas prices
• whining to our red-meat governors to do something about gas prices (such as remove the gasoline tax etc.)
• whining, in general — we Americans should not have to put up with this! (Or as one past president put it, “Our American way of life is not negotiable” )
• the media putting out all sorts of articles promoting irresponsible, mindless, unnecessary travel (cruise ships, flights, etc.)
• persisting with our gas-hogging manicured landscaping
• being all eager to “get back to normal life” as if the pandemic were just some random anomalous blip

Here are some examples of what taking our medicine might look like:

• our soi-disant “climate leader” president could stop his constant jetting around the country and the planet, and instead take the lead in insisting on having meetings by Zoom
• local governments strongly incentivizing public transportation, cycling, walking, ride-sharing
• local leaders (including government, business, and popular opinion leaders) encouraging people to do errands on foot or bicycle whenever possible, maybe using “health and fitness” as an additional hook
• local governments putting moratoriums on car-dependent sprawl development; moratoriums on any more new roads
• local governments and local businesses working together to popularize delivery services as an alternative to everyone hopping in their cars to shop
• media running articles about simple ways for families to enjoy leisure time close to home
• block captains and other neighborhood leaders organizing music jams, crafting bees, Repair Cafés, coffee chats in the park …
• moving closer to family, if we have been habitually traveling thousands of miles a year to see them
• all of us really looking at how many hours we spend getting from point A to point B day in and day out: adding it up; noticing the toll it is taking; deciding to make big changes in our lives to reclaim our time and energy
• reducing the footprint of our landscaping by using our lawns, balconies, and public spaces to grow food for humans, and native plants for pollinators and other wildlife
• recognizing that the pandemic forced us to make some changes in our daily habits that ended up being good for people and the planet, and should be continued

This is just a brief list, and I’m not saying everyone must do everything on the list. I do think we (consumerist rich nations dominated by Anglo/colonialist-rooted norms) need to be whining a lot less and taking our medicine a lot more.

Finally, I will repeat something I’ve often said before — and that many other people, far knowledgeable than me, have said, with lots of science to back them up. The price of gasoline, especially in the USA, does not come even remotely close to reflecting its true cost — to people and all other species, and to ecosystems.

This one weird trick will help you survive the Zombie Apocalypse!

Hi All! I have a favor to ask. Recently I started a TikTok channel in order to expand my reach for offering tips & support to people seeking to live more lightly on the earth, and care for all beings. As is the case with my book & blog, some of my TikTok vids are super serious, while others take a more humorous approach (such as this video, “This one weird trick will help you survive the Zombie Apocalypse!“).

If you have not done so already, and are willing to do so, will you please watch & Like my videos on TikTok, and follow my channel, to help me reach 1000 followers!

Once I reach 1000 followers, I’ll be able to offer Live workshops of extended length, up to 30 or even 60 minutes long! with lots of detailed tips & resources for a very large and wide audience of people who are looking for this kind of support & guidance right now. Thank you for helping me help more people unhook from the consumerist culture treadmill, so we can build a sweeter saner world together!

PS. For those of you not able or willing to access TikTok, I’ll be kind and share here my “one weird trick for surviving the Zombie Apocalypse”. The trick is: Shift your main focus from building personal and household resilience to building community resilience. If you shift your mental focus and energy to building community resilience, your household resilience (including that all-important increased emotional wellbeing and peace of mind) will come with the territory. Try it!

A Sad Little Story of Stuff Getting Lost Before It Had a Chance To Get Used Up

The other week, I decided to have a table at the downtown farmers’ market, selling my books. I sold a few copies and had fun talking with people. The morning was a success in a larger sense too, as I created a setup that was visually appealing, yet lightweight and portable such that I could transport it on foot by pulling my little wagon cart over the bridge, a distance of a little over a mile from my house to the market.

In recent times, I’ve begun personalizing each copy of the book by doing custom doodles in colored pencil and ink; no two covers are visually identical. So I had, with me as part of my market setup, my little “mobile art kit”: a squareish compact canvas shoulder-bag containing a set of ink pens and a small set of colored pencils, plus a Rapidograph pen or two. The mobile art kit also had a slim sketchbook, about 5 x 8 inches, that fit into the bag nicely with the other supplies.

The market finishes at noon. And there was a downtown “Wine Walk” starting at 1. Rather than run home at a brisk pace to drop off the wagon and run back in time for the Wine Walk, I just stayed downtown and pulled my little wagon with me for the duration of the afternoon. It was a fresh, sunlit afternoon full of light conversations with friends and acquaintances. My little wagon was easily kept out of the way; at each stop I’d tuck it neatly near a planter or something so it didn’t impede traffic on the sidewalk.

Everything was fine … until, after I got back home, I noticed my little black canvas art bag was gone. Had it fallen off my wagon? Had someone grabbed it thinking it was a purse full of money and credit cards? Whichever, the bag was gone.

I tried calling around to a few of the galleries, vintage shops, and other places that had been stops on the Wine Walk, but my bag was not found. I felt very sad and guilty, that I had been so careless with my sweet little “field kit” that allowed me to make art on the go. My tools and supplies, which had accompanied me on buses and trains and Craigslist rides from Texas to Florida, deserved more care than I gave them that giggly wine-buzzed afternoon.

The sketchbook only had a few pages filled. Interesting timing it was. A couple of days before, I’d been served up a video in my TikTok feed, in which a young artist with a sweet manner was telling fellow artists “You are worthy of your good art supplies! Use them!” I realized at that moment that I needed to use my sketchbook and stop saving it for perfect wonderful drawings. So, just a couple of days before my bag vanished, I set up a still life of two empty beer cans that happened to be sitting in my garage-studio. I crushed the cans, arranged them in an interesting way, and drew them. I was happy with the process and the feeling and the result. And was so excited about making more sketches instead of hoarding the little sketchbook (that I had had for, I swear, 10 years already).

I realized that my sadness at losing the bag was mainly about not having used up my supplies, to their fullest. All I could do was hope that someone got the bag and ended up using the supplies. That thought gave me some consolation.

And to be clear: I do still have plenty of drawing supplies. No markers — those were in the bag, in their beautiful sleek flat tin that kept them stored so nicely — but I have my huge tub of colored pencils, and my bottles of colored inks. And Rapidographs galore. I have made a pledge to purchase or acquire no more new art supplies. Should I decide at some point to acquire more colored markers, for example, they need to be used rather than new. (If they are new but come to me via a garage sale or house cleanout job or something, that’d be OK; I won’t feel I’ve violated the spirit and intent of the pledge.)

The bag had on its main zipper a fancy little zipper-pull that I had made out of found objects: a flat brass-colored circle full of holes, onto which I had wired a sparkly round bright-pink earring or pin.

The bag itself was already old when I got it sometime back around 2010: Someone’s discard, still in good shape. And it was still in good shape the day I lost it.

I may have mentioned that I do housecleaning gigs here and there. My favorite types of jobs are ones where a house is being cleaned out. It’s sad, because usually the house is being cleaned out because its owners have died or had to move to a nursing home or something. But still I find deep meaning and satisfaction in those jobs, because they are very challenging, and because we do our best to find homes for the stuff we run across that’s still good. (Most of the time, we are allowed to take unwanted stuff as part of our pay for the job.) The saddest stuff is clothing still with the tags on; pads and pads of paper that have never even had one page used; boxes and boxes of pens unopened — that kind of thing.

In everyday life, running out of stuff can be inconvenient. Like when I start whipping up some pancakes or bread only to realize I’ve got no flour (the tub I thought I’d been using for flour turned out to be sugar). We try to engineer our lives so we’re always well-stocked with backup stuff so we don’t run out at inconvenient times.

Obviously in affluent industrialized societies, the “backup” reflex has a chance to run way amok.

In permaculture design, one of the principles is “stocking”: keeping stuff in appropriate quantities — a suitable amount, no less and no more — and remembering that you have it, and remembering where it is stored. (The second part, in italics, is just as important as the first. If we don’t remember we have something, or don’t remember where it is stored, it’s pretty much the same as not having it at all.) If this “stocking” principle were easy and a widely mastered skill in our hyper-affluent, stuff-glutted society, there’d be a lot less call for house cleanout jobs. And there would be way fewer new storage units being built, chewing up forests and wetlands.

I have a couple more little sketchbooks stashed in my closet. I’ve had them for years. Most with hardly any pages filled. I’m going, I just now decided, to make myself a new little “field kit” out of canvas and other stuff I surely have lying around out in the garage, and put a few pens and things and a sketchbook in there.

Is there a hobby or interest you haven’t been allowing yourself time to do? Whatever it is, allow yourself to do some today if you can! Say it’s fishing and you don’t have time to go fishing today, you can still spend time sorting your supplies and planning to go.

“Retirement” in a degrowth world

The other day I made the following post to one of my favorite groups, Degrowth — join the revolution:

In other ecologically/socially conscious groups I participate in, many people (the ones who have money to do so) invest in the stock market to build a nest egg for their “retirement.” They try to choose funds that are green, socially responsible, etc.

Personally, I stopped believing in this concept of “retirement” some years ago, and stopped investing in the stock market in any form. I don’t see how the stock market, mutual funds, or any other financial instruments premised on “growth” can possibly be compatible with degrowth or a steady-state economy. And I see degrowth / steady-state economy as the only viable path for the survival of human civilization on this planet.

However, I am not well-versed in economics, and my assumption could be wrong. I realized I’ve never asked anyone in the degrowth community where they stand on mutual funds, the stock market, etc.

So I decided to ask.

Do you invest in stocks, mutual funds, etc.? And if so, do you find it compatible with degrowth?

Most people so far have answered basically no, they do not feel that investing in markets is compatible with degrowth. Some people are stuck in a situation where they are required by employers to put money into a fund they have no control over. And some people feel it goes against what they know is right, but they are afraid (for reasons of old-age security) not to invest.

One of the group’s more active members, Kirk Hall, shared with us a link to a post he made to the group back in 2018 on this topic. I found it very on-point and in keeping with my own plans. He gave me permission to share it:

Retirement in a Steady State Economy (SSE)

The growth economy is wrecking the planet. Things will change by disaster (business as usual) or design (degrowth to a SSE). One thing to change will be retirement funded by interest.

Ted Trainer said “in a zero growth economy there can be no interest payments at all. Interest is by nature about growth, getting more wealth back than you lent, and this is not possible unless lending and output and earnings constantly increase.” Others are more controversial saying “interest is unearned income”. Others say that a very small interest rate would be possible.

So retirement will be funded by drawing down savings and by the state funded pension. The old and less able will also be assisted in the way it has been done for most of human existence – with help from family and community.

So forget that long bucket list and lots of overseas travel in retirement. But also forget loneliness and poverty. Because of the shorter working week, in a SSE many people would choose to volunteer for “working bees … windmill maintenance, … public works, child minding, nursing, basic educating and care of aged and disadvantaged people”.

The [SSE] neighbourhood would be full of interesting things to do, familiar people, common projects, animals, gardens, forests, windmills, lakes, little firms and community workshops. It would be leisure-rich … One would certainly predict a huge decrease in the incidence of drug abuse, stress, loneliness, depression and similar social problems.

References:
http://thesimplerway.info/THEALTSOCLong.htm
http://www.thesimplerway.info/TheAltSoc4p.html
http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=12162

I made this comment in response:

this is a beautiful post and is pretty much what i have found myself moving toward, and trying to encourage others to do.

It’s a very foreign mindset to most folks here in my country, the USA. But I keep plugging away because i see it as not only the only viable way forward, but inherently a lovely thing.

People in the USA (and other wealthy nations with a lot of space and resources) have become so disjointed. Traveling to “picturesque” places where people hang their laundry out on lines and live in old stone buildings … then flying back home where they live happily in HOAs that outlaw clotheslines and any kind of natural asymmetry.

For retirement, as for other stages of life, the best approach I can think of is what I’ve been saying for awhile now: Minimize the amount of money we keep in banks and other financial markets. And work on covering our basic needs — shelter, transport, food, healthcare, essential goods — in as low-cost and low-footprint a way as possible, thus reducing our need to earn money or hoard money, hoard resources.

For the record, my “retirement” plan is not to retire. Instead, I have occupations that I’ll be able to do til I die. Writing, art, teaching, permaculture design / eco restoration, etc. And I strive to help other people see their way to that kind of old-age security too.

Many occupations can be continued into old age, and are fulfilling. Watching children, tending animals, storytelling, making music. Another traditional way for older people to earn income in a non-exploitive manner is to be the money partner in a local business. Or owner or part-owner of an apartment building or other commercial building in their local area.

The arts and teaching are way underestimated as a societal need and lifelong occupation.

One of my strategies has been to pare my cost of living to a very low level which is not hard to support by my various freelance occupations.

Further Exploration:

• A fellow member of D-JTR shared a book recommendation: “Local dollars local sense is a book on investing locally rather than Wall Street. You could focus your money on things that help your community resilience.”

• Another member, Brad Zarnett, shared a post he wrote on medium.com, and commented, “The established pathway to a comfortable retirement has vanished. Without a well-functioning climate none of it’s possible anymore. And yet the elite still push this lie…” Here’s the post, “Where Will Mainstream Climate Propaganda Take Us?” “We squandered the greatest sweetheart deal imaginable. Nature was happy to selflessly provide us with everything we could possibly want but instead of nurturing it, we went in another direction. We bought into the lie of endless growth on a finite planet. We chose to ignore science in exchange for shiny stuff that we mostly don’t need. We chose to serve a ravenous predatory master that incentivized greed as opposed to wellbeing, and in the process, we not only crippled the source of our success, we turned it against us. However, there is still hope in a ‘mathematical sense’ but we need to move quickly and get very serious about the next steps that we take … and it boils down to two choices.” I agree with his assessment of things. I also got a nice wry laugh out of the following, which sounds like the mind-set of so many jetsetting retirees I see in the social mediaverse: “Most people want to feel like they’re generally a good person. This is the bread and butter of marketers and propagandists. They tell us that we can have whatever we want and that our consumption is an important part of the economic ecosystem. It’s an easy lie to believe. By becoming a ‘champion consumer’, we can get cool stuff while simultaneously providing opportunities for others, so the story goes, while making the world a better place. A beautiful win-win. So hold your head high as you drive your Chevy Suburban to your newly built 6,000 square foot retirement summer home. Your plan to fly guests in for weekend visits to play on your new pair of jet skis, while you watch your sustainable (ESG) stock portfolio rise, is the culmination of a life of hard work. You’re a hero of global prosperity!”

• What is degrowth? Check out degrowth.info for an overview. “The degrowth movement of activists and researchers advocates for societies that prioritize social and ecological well-being instead of corporate profits, over-production and excess consumption. This requires radical redistribution, reduction in the material size of the global economy, and a shift in common values towards care, solidarity and autonomy. Degrowth means transforming societies to ensure environmental justice and a good life for all within planetary boundaries.”

• What is a steady-state economy? “A steady-state economy is an economy made up of a constant stock of physical wealth (capital) and a constant population size. In effect, such an economy does not grow in the course of time.” (Wikipedia). And check out Center for the Advancement of the Steady State Economy (CASSE) at steady.state.org

• “Life in a ‘degrowth’ economy, and why you might actually enjoy it” (Samuel Alexander; theconversation.com). Great overview of what everyday life a steady-state economy might look like. Less stuff, less rushing around, more DIY and mutual aid, more growing food everywhere.

3 reasons for low-footprint living

To my usual longtime two motivations for trying to make green choices, a third has been added.

The first two reasons:

1) To reduce carbon footprint and stop using more than my share of the world’s resources. Even if my reductions are just one person’s worth — a tiny drop in the ocean — it’s still something.

2) Beyond just the numeric value of the reduction, is the fact that my choices can help normalize and popularize resource-consciousness and care of all species and all people. And help de-normalize and de-popularize the hyperconsumerist, me-centric norms of mainstream culture.

And then just recently, I noticed I have a third motivation!

3) To make the world I want to see. Even if it’s just my tiny corner of the world, I can create a little pocket of reality where it’s not weird or abnormal to get around mainly by walking; where it’s normal to have a yard full of native plants and other eco-friendly features; where it’s normal to go to great lengths to avoid bottled water and single-use plastic bags; where it’s normal to care about insects and other nonhuman creatures as well as fellow humans. Where it’s normal to create a little corner of my yard where the public is invited to sit. The little pockets of reality I create (and you do as well), might be considered a micro-subculture. This micro-subculture can potentially grow (if other people see and choose to replicate it in their own little corners of the world). And in the meantime, the little pockets of “world I want to see” that I create are great places to rest and recharge so I can stay energized and encouraged to do my work in the wider world.