Friday, November 20, 2009

Going Philosophical On You

I have seen/heard a couple of things lately that have gotten me thinking. The first was about a study done a Michigan State University professor listing 17 steps every person (or family) can take to help make the environment a better place. (Blog post to come on this soon) I heard an interview with him in which he was explaining what a difference it could make in carbon emissions if everyone just did a couple of these things.

The second thing that caught my eye this week was an article in Natural Home Magazine (Yes, I got a subscription! Thanks mom!). The article featured, Annie Leonard, "Story of Stuff" creator, and her views on overconsumption and simplicity. In the article, she says, "Even if we could convince every single person to always choose the most environmentally responsible option-it isn't enough. We must get involved with organizations engaging for broader systematic change."

So these are two mixed messages right? On one hand, we can make such a difference if we take even simple steps and on the other, even all the steps done by everyone won't be enough. This is something I struggle with, because here at Green Gracious I give you really simple ways to make changes that will undoubtedly help the environment. The question is just, how much? When I read comments like Annie Leonard's, I'll admit, I wonder if it's even worth it to keep trying to get people to make even the littlest changes-to take any of the 17 steps.

And then I get a grip and remind myself of a few things:
1. The changes you can make to help the environment, also help you. Eliminating toxic products from our lives will save the Earth and us. Living more simply will save the Earth and your wallet. Eating less animals more veggies from more local sources will make you and the planet healthier.
2. It is these small changes in people that eventually add up to more drastic changes. A decade ago, almost no one knew the term climate change. Now there isn't a day that goes by that most people don't hear it. And people making changes in their homes will lead to them making changes in policy, systems, and expectations for society.
3. "Never underestimate the power of a small group of committed citizens to change the world; indeed it is the only thing that ever has." Margaret Mead

In 2007, "The Story of Stuff" went viral and was seen by over 6.5 million people. Next year Annie Leonard releases her book based on the same concept. Despite her comments, she hasn't given up. And I won't either.


Nexyoo said...

It's really an interesting question. Because people are part of larger systems, if enough people change their habits it can create systemic change. It seems like the problem is how much, and how quickly, we need to change, because of the urgency of problems like global warming. Individuals can make a difference, but we need to have systemic change coming from the top down as well.

Anonymous said...

It was rather interesting for me to read this article. Thank you for it. I like such topics and anything connected to this matter. I would like to read more on that blog soon.