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We Must Be The Change

Environment  (tags: animals, climate-change, CO2emissions, conservation, destruction, ecosystems, endangered, environment, energy, globalwarming, greenhousegases, habitatdestruction, healthconditions, pollution, protection, Sustainabililty )

- 1739 days ago -
As I observe people around me, I've been noticing a trend - most everybody, in theory -- wants to save the Earth. The problem, however, is that far too few people are willing to make the lifestyle changes necessary to ensure a livable future.

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Kit B (276)
Wednesday July 17, 2013, 6:43 pm
Photo Credit: illustir/Flickr

As I observe people around me, I’ve been noticing a trend – most everybody, in theory — wants to save the Earth. The problem, however, is that far too few people are willing to make the lifestyle changes necessary to ensure a livable future.

Comforts and conveniences

The appeal of constant financial progress, of fast food and perfectly temperature-controlled rooms is too great. The ease of processed foods, disposable diapers, and commuting by car to work is too alluring. The abundance of cheap clothes, out-of-season foods, electronics, and toxic beauty products is too pervasive to pass by.

We have become perpetual children – looking to others to easily assuage our hunger, temperature, and state of mood. We expect governmental regulations or some technological breakthrough to fix global warming and the ecosystem issues we fear. We are unwilling to take the risk that moving toward a new way of living requires.

We fear that we will not have enough; we fear that we will miss out on our elusive definition of “success”; we worry that it will be hard, that we will be uncomfortable, and that we won’t know where to begin.

But as Derrick Jensen is known to explain, your grandchildren aren’t going to care if you recycled, if you thought a lot about the destruction of ecosystems, if you voted for a progressive candidate, if you bought “green” products. They’re going to care if they can breathe the air and drink the water. They’re going to care if the Earth is still a place that supports life.

People often cry out, “but what can I do?”

The answer is not in any single action. The answer is going to be everything.

The truth is that in the coming decades, we will need to redefine success, what constitutes a “normal” lifestyle, and how much we need. We will be re-evaluating the choices we make at every point throughout our day.

But this doesn’t have to be a scary or negative thing. Despite our attachment to continually accumulating more and more, a future of less stuff is actually much brighter. There are some interesting changes that come with a simpler lifestyle…

Better days

We’ll start to get healthier. As we consider the massive amounts of resources we consume and where they come from, we realize that many of them are directly contributing to the poor health of modern humans (mostly in the form of improper diet, inactivity, and exposure to toxins). We’ll begin walking and biking more as we use cars less.

We’ll be eating fresher, seasonal foods that eliminate a dependency on fast food and processed items that are related to our abundance of chronic conditions including heart disease, diabetes, and some cancers.

If we start buying and growing foods from reputable sources, we’ll be less likely to introduce dangerous GMO foods into our bodies along with the related pesticides. We’ll eliminate toxic cleaning and beauty products from our lives. In general, we will be exercising more, eating healthier, and reducing our exposure to substances that can harm our bodies. We’ll become healthier.

We’ll be happier. When we start growing our own food and getting outside more often, the benefits to our psychological health quickly become apparent. Breathing fresh air, having our hands in the dirt, and living seasonally bring a sense of fullness to life that is missing when we are confined to buildings and desks day after day.

It also makes us happier because we feel more self-sufficient, we are spending less money, and we can alleviate some of the concern that we felt when we realized how our previous lifestyle was poisoning other people, animals, and the environment.

Through this new lifestyle, we will also need to embrace community again (not just Facebook) and have support, or even just conversation, with those around us in ways that are often lacking in our current paradigm.

We’ve been waiting for us

‘The solutions to the environmental and economic issues that we currently face begin with us, despite how tempting it may be to assume that others will solve these problems for us. We make choices every day that can either contribute to a new way of living in harmony with the Earth and other creatures, or that perpetuates the destructive path we’re on. This means waking up to realize that our consumer-driven, constantly growing, and perpetually needy lifestyles are inherently unsustainable and are also making us sick.

We must recognize our collective power to influence the Earth and to live as an example so that others see the benefits of transitioning to a more sustainable way of living. We must begin to grow food for our families again (or at least know who did!), to learn ways of preventative and traditional healthcare, to feel our feet upon the Earth, to stop buying products that are toxic to our bodies and our land, to know where our resources come from and that there can be no such thing as “waste” when we are through with them.

Perhaps most importantly, we must break our addiction to this notion that success is the constant accumulation of things, whether they are titles earned in a job, the number of items accumulated in a home, or the number of cars in a garage. Success must instead be about creating a future that is livable, enjoyable, equitable, and which fosters true prosperity for all beings.

This change toward a sustainable culture will take time, but it is entirely possible. Eventually, we will see it lead to greater health and happiness. We will be satisfied knowing that the activities of our days directly contribute to the health of our own bodies, our families, and the planet. We will enjoy the entertainment found in nature again – in her stars, sunsets, and breezes – and in community, simple pleasures, and meaningful work. We will remember the happiness that comes from freedom, fresh foods, and following our heart’s passions.

This change begins with all of us. We can succeed in creating a sustainable future.

Reposted from original article at These Light Footsteps.

By: Christine Cassella | Transition Voice |

Carrie B (306)
Wednesday July 17, 2013, 6:49 pm
Isn't like that with everything? Complain, but do nothing to make things better.

Robert B (60)
Wednesday July 17, 2013, 7:14 pm
Me and my wife try to recycle, compost, reuse, repair or donate. We grow food in a small garden and we try not to waste anything. I found a large barrel at a yard sale and converted it into a rain barrel for watering the garden. I mow my grass with a plug in electric and never cut the grass too short. Have not ever had to water the grass. Instead of replacing our old central air that came with the house we bought two small window units and only run them when it gets over 85 degrees for long periods of time. 90% of our light bulbs are now LED. We just all need to do what we can.

Kit B (276)
Wednesday July 17, 2013, 7:58 pm

Robert if others would just follow your lead, what changes we would see.

Edo R (71)
Thursday July 18, 2013, 1:38 am
Thanks for sharing!

Ben O (171)
Thursday July 18, 2013, 6:25 am
Yes of course; -WE must be the change! (But, most of us are not doing so good, are we...?)

Arielle S (313)
Thursday July 18, 2013, 7:31 am
Great article as always, Kit - I suppose for some, it's difficult to make changes, especially when we see Big Ag and Big Oil trashing the earth. If the government won't change things, we'll have to - and we can start with our own small corner of the earth. We have three rain barrels... we recycle ...compost, reuse, repair, repurpose - all little things but if everyone made some effort, it could make a big difference. Lately, I have a real bug about what we buy - nothing from the companies that aren't listening and don't care. It's amazing what you can do without or don't really need. Live simply so others may simply live.

Kit B (276)
Thursday July 18, 2013, 8:57 am

The ugly truth may be that only with financial incentives will people change. In the United States we have so much room for growth we have always assumed that living on vast acres of land and driving everywhere was fine. When gas prices are very high, we conserve by actually using ride share ideas or (gasp!) public transportation. Even in apartments people can be sure to reuse, repair, repurpose and recycle. Most do not because there is no financial incentive. People are rarely moved to just "do the right thing" so we need some incentives.

Ben O (171)
Thursday July 18, 2013, 10:01 am
"...When gas prices are very high..." -Tell me about it! In most countries in Europe we pay TWICE as much as in The U.S. of about that...? (We've paid CO2 tax since 1991 in Sweden)
BTW; -I've been preaching Reduce - Re-use - Recycle, Renewable energy, Public transportation, Sustainability, etc... for 40 years, but WHO would even think about listening to me...???

To lead by example might be the hardest thing to do,
most of our "Leaders" don't even have a clue!

Sheryl G (363)
Thursday July 18, 2013, 10:04 am
The truth is that in the coming decades, we will need to redefine success, what constitutes a “normal” lifestyle, and how much we need.

We will be re-evaluating the choices we make at every point throughout our day. But this doesn’t have to be a scary or negative thing. Despite our attachment to continually accumulating more and more, a future of less stuff is actually much brighter.

There are some interesting changes that come with a simpler lifestyle… -

Most of us were conditioned to follow this path of consumerism without giving it much of a thought how our consumption impacted upon the world at large let alone in our small communities or our cities. Flush the toilet, toss out the garbage, flick on the light switch, and that was that.

I think our children will become much more aware of these things, they will have to be, there is less ability for them to be such consumers as in the past, wages do not allow it for one thing, but our resources will cost a lot more to obtain, and if we keep destroying water, a clean glass to drink will be high value. So major change is needed and the youth adapt to things quicker.

However it wasn't that long ago that I recall not so much waste and consumerism going on. People use to can their veggies, make their pies from scratch, darned socks, sewed the holes in clothes, had a pair of shoes for school, play, and Sunday best, not a closet full as so many have today.

Our appliances were built to last and we used them forever, maybe once the children grew up one updated to new things and passed to them our things to start off. But that was taken out when the Engineers were told by the 1% to not make things last so long, long enough but no so long. So we are all forced to replace sooner.

It wasn't that long ago I recall walking by the local farms, even being a child living in a small city of 26,000 and the little suburbs. There still were family farms in between so many homes, a family farm just down the road. I would smell the hay being cut, or even the land being fertilized with the People who had a bit of a yard would have a couple of chickens, and there was more to do in each little town, one didn't have to drive a long distance to find a movie show, a roller rink, bowling alley.

Things were downtown, people could walk, or ride a bike, and some places had local buses. Not long before me my Mother rode the trolley to the seashore so this crazy days of consumption have been for less time than when people were less so pushed to be consumers and little more. When people use to get together more at local events, over kitchen tables, or on the porch and someone brought out a guitar. Better days for our grand children can be brought back and needs to be brought back. We can still keep the technology we enjoy with more solar and renewable sources.

Kit B (276)
Thursday July 18, 2013, 10:05 am

No more than they would listen to me, Ben.

Bryna Pizzo (139)
Thursday July 18, 2013, 10:22 am
Thank you, Kit and Ben along with everyone else! We are trying. My family complains when they come to our home because we keep the thermostat too high in the summer. I shop at Goodwill to reduce production, and we recycle far more than we throw away. We conserve water and electricity. In fact, we reduced the later by 30% in the last few years and are determined to further reduce our usage. We proudly drive a fifteen-year-old Camry, and a four-year-old Focus, and limit driving as much as possible. I wish we could afford solar energy. (n, p, t)

Theodore Shayne (56)
Thursday July 18, 2013, 10:34 am

Joanne Dixon (38)
Thursday July 18, 2013, 10:49 am
Sorry, but i won't be walking more in the foreseeable future. Walking more than a few hundred feet with a crutch tires me out already, and my wheelchair is not electric. (If I can ever afford an electric one I may use it more instead of the van, though.) So I need to conserve as much as i can in other ways. I program my thermostat in the winter and turn it off in the summer. I mostly use the slow cooker and microwave for cooking. Food allergies keep me away from a lot of processed foods. Like Bryna, I use thrift stores though usually the ARC rather than Goodwill, not for political reasons but for the merchandise, although i now have a political reason also. I also recycle far more than I throw away.

Those who haven't might want to look into whether your local utility allows you to purchase wind credits. If so, it's not that expensive and is an investment in energy for the future. If not, you might look into Pear Energy LLC, which does basically the same thing.

Anette S (22)
Thursday July 18, 2013, 11:06 am

so true - for the most it's pretty hard to suit the action to the word...
it' scary sometimes but i won't buckle - it's worth it! even though some will "hate" me other will follow my lead....

Jerry B (128)
Thursday July 18, 2013, 11:10 am
Noted..thanks Kit!

Mike M (43)
Thursday July 18, 2013, 11:31 am
Until people and government understand that their life on this planet is not owed to them it is they who owe their existence to this planet and they have to commit to preserving this planet because there is no other place to go!

Malgorzata Zmuda (198)
Thursday July 18, 2013, 11:47 am
Ale gdyby każdy zrobił chociaż odrobinę, świat byłby lepszy.

Sheryl G (363)
Thursday July 18, 2013, 12:33 pm

Malgorzata said: But if everyone did, although a tad, the world would be a better.

Deborah W (6)
Thursday July 18, 2013, 12:55 pm
From those I run into, seems to me all but a few exceptions really exert any effort to this end so, in some ways, large or small, ,MOST OF USE OWN AT LEAST A PIECE OF THIS PROBLEM.

Dianne D (490)
Thursday July 18, 2013, 1:07 pm
Amen to this. We've let politicians and big business run the world for so long and look what they have done. It's time for the people to stand up for themselves and the earth.

Birgit W (160)
Thursday July 18, 2013, 1:35 pm
We have been made dependent to our way of living by the big corporations and our government. Who can go shopping nowadays without a car for example?

Sheryl G (363)
Thursday July 18, 2013, 1:45 pm
I use this website a lot, called Free Cycle. One places on what they no longer want or need and you can look to see what others are offering.

No guarantee you get it, but I've obtained some lovely big thick bath towels in good shape, a brand new crib and mattress for my granddaughter, some cute little owl figurines as I love owls, plastic playground equipment for toddlers, clothes and a few other things that I can't recall right now.

One easy place I've been doing for over 35 years is bringing my own cloth sacks to shop with. I would of by now thought most everyone would be doing it, but sadly I only see a rare person who is. This is SO easy to do and think of all those plastic bags that would end by doing this.

There are more ways that I add my share to protecting the environment, but these are two quick ways that a reader coming on here could jump right in.

Sheryl G (363)
Thursday July 18, 2013, 1:48 pm
Seems my link to Free Cycle isn't working. I'll try again. But if it still does not work just type in


Andrs Yokers (6)
Thursday July 18, 2013, 2:01 pm
so true!

Wim Zunnebeld (144)
Thursday July 18, 2013, 2:28 pm
Noted, thx for the info

David C (133)
Thursday July 18, 2013, 3:49 pm
unfortunately, many who want to save the earth....want others...or will only do it if they can still have their SUV, AC making the house/car igloo temp, heaters making house/car desert-like, etc, etc, etc.....

Mari 's (1356)
Thursday July 18, 2013, 4:06 pm
Yes we have to change it's not hard but most people think or assume it is :( We need to keep going and the more people change others will follow as well.

Eternal G (745)
Thursday July 18, 2013, 5:03 pm
Yes, yes, yes and than lead by example is especially important when it comes from the top, in this era! Big business and politicians should lead the way in stopping the WANT, for instant gratification, for monetary incentives etc. The glorification of the extroverted could do with a shift toward the introverted axis in our society as well as ENDING our attitude of dominion over mother Earth and realise that we need to start practicing good stewardship instead. Can we ever achieve this, if the majority of the ruling class continues to be primarily lead by their ego?

Sheila D (194)
Thursday July 18, 2013, 9:10 pm
Read and noted. I've noticed that more and more people want to fix things but don't know how...where did all the Mr Fixits go?? There used to shoe repairs, appliance repairs, etc. Look around now and there's very few to fill in that gap. I think it would be nice to see neighborhood handyman/woman again. I miss them - fix things, a bit of friendly talk, and uually a few kids hanging out and learning.

Ali Gore (11)
Thursday July 18, 2013, 11:59 pm
I think its important for us little people not to lose hope. All big journeys start with just one small step. If we continue doing what we can and sharing our experiences with others, also boycotting major companies that are not eco friendly or ethical our small steps will start to matter.

Inge B (202)
Friday July 19, 2013, 12:19 am
The answer is not in any single action. The answer is going to be everything.
The major change is to become a vegetarian / vegan. Then we avoid suffering and saves on resources and can use the land for our own food supply.
We also need less people on earth.
And become self-sufficient

Love, Peace and Understanding
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