I’ll admit it, I’ve tended towards despairing a bit at the media releases in the lead up to another global conference on limiting climate damage. First there were lots of reports about arctic ice melting, then there were similar discussion about the fact that some people, ‘science be damned’, weren’t going to be changing their minds. The final straw came by watching the video below which made it clear that if things weren’t as bad as they seemed, they were probably worse (warning, the video is an hour long).
So it seems clear to us that there is no way that the government is going to lead us out of this mess. So whilst we’ll be first in line at the next rally to push for greater investment in green energy, effective incentives to encourage people to change and so on, I don’t really buy that this is going to change things. So what is? Well I’m going to start by linking to a post from another blog called ‘The Greening of Gavin’ (www.greeningofgavin.com)
This brings me to a comment that I received on the last post titled “I Fear That…“, which I believe warranted a more detailed response.
“I’m wondering Gavin do you really think that what you are doing is making a difference to the environment? do you really think that ripping out lawns and ornamentals and replacing them with veges and fruit trees is making an impact on our environment? even if every single house did the same thing? do you really think you’re being kind to our environment by buying milk to make cheese? or building a pizza oven?
I’m not trying to be critical of you personally- because I personally do a lot of the same things that you do yourself (I have a vege garden and fruit trees that I’m trying to sustain my family on- I try and limit my consumerism and buy second hand whenever I can, I recycle etc), yet really I don’t feel like it is contributing at all 😦 and it’s frustrating me.”
The simple answer is a resounding Yes, but not directly. Let me explain.
My family’s personal environmental foot print reduction is but a drop in the ocean, and in itself will not make on iota of difference to our changing climate. This is the plain and simple truth. I am a realist, after all.
However, by setting an example and showing people around me that it is possible to change behaviours and lower consumption, for the better I might add, then anyone else can do the same.
It is from many little changes that big changes happen. Being vocal in what you believe needs to change influences others, who then, when they change their behaviours, go on to further influence other people in their lives.
As far as I am concerned, it is this type action at the local level that will help all of us get through this mess. We need to stop thinking in our western hyper-individualistic manner and re-build community action, whether it be a group of like minded people who try to convince governments to man-up (or woman-up) and grow a pair, and start drastically reducing GHG emissions to reduce our impact.
Or as an individual, teaching others how to grow their own food, or build their own outdoor oven, or raising chooks for the time if or when the crunch does come.
Each person has a part to play in this effort to transform and transition away from our destructive economy.
So go ahead readers. Make your individual actions, and be proud of them, but I ask you to take the next step. Tell others about your actions, how they make you feel, and why you going to the effort to make them in the first place. This will make others stop and think, because people trust those they know, more than they would some politician or celebrity giving them the same message.
This is a really nice answer and I’m very pleased that on our recent trip to the prom a number of people commented that they were reading this blog and coming with us for the ride by changing what they did and how they purchased in their own way. We want to go a little further on the last point though. Whilst it’s great that there are those who can demonstrate how it can be done, I think that it’s the links that will really make the difference. If the individual is the flint, then it’s the actions that those reading put in to place that are the real spark that can drive the fire of change. I think that if you imagined an overhead view of wherever you are and put a dot on households making changes that you would find a huge amount of dots but if you then asked the same people to identify their neighbours who are making changes then I think most people would struggle. I think we’ve got lots of dots, but less links. When reducing impact and preparing for a low energy future isn’t seen as different but in fact normal, when it’s not ‘how you could’ but ‘how you can better’ then we have a chance of dealing with this. The video that follow is one of my favorites but really captures what we need to achieve together, the fact that it’s pretty funny and I’ve been told is reminiscent of my dance style is neither here nor there.
So a new addition to the plan, well not so much an addition but a clarification, we will link, publicise, share and just generally encourage the active publicity of ‘links’ as well as our own actions. We’re currently planning a veggie box at our front gate for urban foragers and a streetwide ‘blitz’ of nature strips but I think we need to also include some info about what we’re doing and how to join in. We’re looking into sustainability street to share what we know with our neighbours and we’re getting more involved in our local transition town. But at the end of the day this is still us, so a challenge; how can you share what you do or are doing? How can you share a skill, an interest or just do something that you do anyway with someone else? So whether you are into up-cycling, gardening, energy efficiency, making cloth nappies work or anything else then write a blog, make a video, call a friend, whatever! Because it’s not until it’s the norm do we stand a chance of changing the opinions of those who would rather deny and hide than face the magnitude of what needs to happen and driving the government towards change.