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All articles here are written by Melinda Briana Epler (that's me!) unless otherwise noted. I'm a documentary filmmaker, writer, and brand experience designer - I've dedicated my life to living a sustainable lifestyle and helping others do the same. Please feel free to contact me if you have questions or thoughts for articles. Welcome!

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Why Bother? Why Live This Way? What Motivates You?

Why are you looking for ways to change your lifestyle?

Why are you looking for ways to change your way of doing things?  What motivates you to do the things you do?  Why do you come to One Green Generation?  And what is your goal – is it to be frugal, to simplify, to become more self-reliant, to live healthier, to prepare for the future, or for some other reason? 

There is a great conversation happening over here – first I wanted to thank you all for being so civil and kind in your disagreements – and second, I want to applaud you for getting everything out in the open.  I love that we come from different places, have different perspectives, and live quite different lives – and yet we all have similar goals.  That’s why I created this blog in the first place!  I truly enjoy seeing it happening.

So… What Motivates You? Why Bother?  Why Live This Way?

Please everyone, share your thoughts – it’s fascinating to know, and I believe we can learn a lot from each other.

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6 comments to Why Bother? Why Live This Way? What Motivates You?

  • For me, the answer is that I am part of Generation Y; the first generation to grow up with the science of climate change and resource depletion really starting to be understood. It was a cold awakening to realize that the future being pushed as The One I Would Have was less than a lie; it was spun from moonbeams and fairy dust, and supertech world of plenty and near-magic devices.

    Instead, I will see a world that is slowly warming, and I will inherit the consequences resulting from the thoughtless acts of the generations before my own; a world with a steady decline in the resources available at the industrial and global scale, where even clean water will not be able to be taken for granted by the theoretically affluent, much less anything else. The region where I live is slated to become a dustbowl from the effects of climate change; others I know will experience increasingly wild weather, assaults by heavier storms than ever before, spreading diseases as the climate shift allows carriers access to new areas, and more.

    My future’s general course has been chosen by generations before mine, who chose to ignore warnings being voiced in favor of their own desires. It is up to me, and the rest of my generation, to try to make that course as simple as possible so that we, and the generations to follow us, will be able to remain alive and mitigate the suffering as much as possible.

    I feel like I am the goose in the koan, having found myself free of the small world I knew my entire life – only to find myself in a temple full of bottles, each with a candle lit beneath it, slowly cooking the other geese within them – and being a goose, all I can do is honk encouragement to those trapped inside their bottles, urging them to find a way out.

  • Our family responded to the oil embargo in the 70s by moving to the country and homesteading. We were interested in raising our own food, providing our own power, building our own house, exploring simplicity, and finding ways to lighten our impact. Sometimes we backslid from the goals that we had then, but we always thought there was too much junk in the atmosphere, and that there would be a reckoning someday for digging up so much poisonous stuff and burning it, spewing it into the atmosphere and soil and sea in order to achieve speed and convenience without consideration for others and other living things.

    We’re back to basics — trying to learn how to manage on one acre — even with more than 35 years experience in gardening and homesteading we feel there’s not much we know that we need to know. We grew enough food and to spare this year to live for a year and plant from our own seed for the following year, as well. That was the first time we could really say that — but it was a lot of work.

    It was a lot of work. And we’re not, ahem, getting younger. But we’re okay so far. How was this done?

    We basically quit going to concerts or plays or movies or watching TV, and didn’t go away on vacation. Our entertainment consisted of bringing each other solar tea for sit-down breaks in the garden. We sipped, and absorbed sunshine, and remarked on the hummingbirds who’d built a nest in the plum tree.

    So we didn’t feel deprived, and would recommend these changes to anyone.

  • Kassil, as someone from Gen X, it is very interesting to read your thoughts – thank you for sharing them. When I was growing up, I thought we would not see the consequences of past actions for a very long time. Time went by a lot faster than we thought it would.

    risa b, I remember the oil embargo as a very young child, sitting in gas lines, running out of gas on the freeway. It affected me on a deep level as well. Funny, though, I really don’t think it affected my parents very much – I’m not sure why.

    It’s those realities we experience, that make us believe that the world can be a different place. When I was in Argentina during the crash, that was another moment where I saw how my world could change. I fear not enough people understand this volatility. And of those who do understand, I fear not enough of them turn to solutions.

    I’m glad you enjoy your lifestyle. It is hard at times.

  • To be honest, of all the generations still living, I consider Generation X less accountable than the Boomers before them; Gen X, like my generation, grew up with the promises of a Better Faster Higher Tech World that would Solve All Problem with a magic science wand; there was a steady push to believe that each person was too small to have any negative impact, but too important to be denied any desire. Really, given the nature of humanity, I don’t outright blame /anyone/ for the mess that has happened, save perhaps those groups who have willingly pushed bad science and bad social policies in order to make a profit. Humanity is, by and large, innately short-sighted; the many civilizations that lived ‘in balance’ all too often were inheritors to those who had overshot their boundaries and experienced collapse. Western European civilization, particularly once the industrial age set in, has never had to deal with such a problem before now.
    I could point an accusatory finger at my parents and elder brothers, at all of the Boomers and Gen X, but by and large they were all just being human – imperfect and doing what they thought was best. That they never escaped the bottle of the world they were sold is hardly their fault; until recently not many people were trying to peddle ecological awareness as a kind of enlightened worldview. Indeed, were it not for a friend of mine – another Gen Y member – I would never have known about the energy peak until it hit us full-force, and would likely be among the greens who feel that using cloth bags and planting a tree now and then would surely be sufficient, rather than working on planting an orchard of heat- and drought-tolerant food trees, and researching how to build and install a water pump that won’t rely on grid power, or else where to get one – I live in the desert southwest, and the specific area is already in something of a perpetual drought. We’ve had hardly any rain this year, and what has arrived went through the mountains, heavily enough to leave debris smeared across the twisty pass between my home and the rest of the world.
    I do not like this temple of bottles I find myself in, with a scarce handful of geese like myself honking a warning to those still in their glass prisons – but it does no good for me to point a finger in recrimination at those who came before. Thus I’ll do my best to do what I can to mitigate the trials to come, and keep trying to get the others out before their world is cooked.

  • Because I believe in being a steward of the earth and caring for it.

    Now that that’s out there I feel like a black sheep. I don’t think I do nearly enough, but as usual, I don’t really know what I can do.

    I suppose I could sew myself some reusable produce bags, for starters…

  • I had a very long and meandering answer which I will spare you of, though I might post it on my own blog at a later point.

    Suffice it to say I had hit rock bottom with an addiction. Helplessness.

    I believed that we were all doomed, because I didn’t understand my own ability to reclaim my life.

    I have always been predisposed to go against the grain but it took an existential crisis to understand that my rebellion could have greater meaning than I ever thought possible.

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