I am concerned about the state of the world, and for me, it’s extremely important to get others to do as much as they possibly can, and to help motivate and support them.
I see so many “green consumer” blogs, press releases (I get about 5 per day!), advertisements, and overall encouragement. And to me, those often serve to let people off easily: “you save the planet and by living your life just exactly as you do now, if you buy these couple of very important things!”
As Crafty Green Poet writes, “I think the idea of starting where people are at and giving them easy things to do is a great way to start but there has been research done that shows that campagins using this approach lead to people thinking that’s all they need to do.”
With the right support networks, many of us get past that stage of green consumerism and realize that we do have to change our lifestyles. So we spend a lot of time restructuring our lives and redefining normalcy on a daily basis. It’s incredible – that movement of living simply, sustainably, and/or frugally is growing every day!
But societal change has to happen on multiple fronts in order to fully succeed. History has taught us that time and again: personal changes are the beginning, but then there must be a movement that changes society, and laws and rules that secure it for good.
And so that brings me to believe that there is a continuum of change, and my idea behind this blog and particularly the last several posts I’ve written about doing more, is to capture anyone along that continuum and help push them forward, to the next level.
Belinda brought up an excellent point, however: “if someone had told me at the beginning that to be sustainable I would need to be an active part of my community I probably would have walked away”- it would have been too overwhelming. Stephanie wrote yesterday, “You’re asking too much from this overworked, tired, groggy introvert who doesn’t even know where to begin in her personal environmentalist efforts.”
I don’t think there’s room in our lives and time enough in the day to create change in your community at the same time that you start down the journey of personal lifestyle changes. Have you found that? I personally made lifestyle changes for a long time, and participated in voting and letter writing and other small, more peripheral things at the same time. But it wasn’t until I felt I had more or less redefined normal on a foundational level in my own life, that I was able to move on to work within my community. It is too overwhelming to start doing both at the same time.
And that is a part of the continuum of change, as I see it:
- Become aware.
- Buy greener products.
- Change your lifestyle at a personal, daily level.
- Work within your community to create change.
- Work globally to create change.
- Learn how to effectively and sustainably integrate each of these things into your daily lifestyle.
It’s difficult to move on to each next step without feeling at least somewhat like you have mastered the one before it.
Does this continuum ring true from your own experience?
Ruchi addresses this in her latest post: “Yes, This Is Important.” She writes, “We cannot transition to a new era of renewable energy without changing people’s behavior.” I believe her thought is that not only is this more or less a continuum, but it must work in that very order: first you change at home, then you change within your communities, and then you can create global change.
So what do we do, how do we provoke, inspire, and support people at each stage – without overwhelming them? Can we have blogs and media that address multiple levels, or does each person need a community of people who are on the same point in the continuum?
I’m on number 6 by the way. I feel like I won’t master that for quite a while, but I’m working on it!