As I said in my last post, despite a strong sense of frugality that my parents instilled in me and the few a “green” practices that they taught me, I had little inclination or skills to really change my middle class American lifestyle. Nevertheless, my discontentment with the negative consequences this lifestyle on the world around me.
This past winter I finally reached the tipping point. I had broken my arm in the fall and it took about 3 months for it to heal. Several weeks, more or less, I spent housebound not doing anything of importance and several more weeks I spent awkwardly trying to go about my daily business with only one functioning arm. I think it’s all that extra time I had to think and the frustration and sense of uselessness I was feeling more than anything that made me receptive to the spirit of the burgeoning green movement. While dealing with my broken arm, life seemed to me very overwhelming, on a personal level as well as a general one. In times of stress, one of the most effective coping mechanisms is to take action; even if said action has no effect on curbing the stressors, being proactive gives an individual a sense of control over his or her circumstances. I decided that if I could do nothing else, either about my injury or the problems of the world at large, I could exert some positive control over the lifestyle choices I made. If nothing else, at least it would make me feel better.
In addition, I came to realize, as Michael Pollan explains in his essay Why Bother, that my actions resonated with everyone that I interacted with. Many of the habits that I am now trying to change I had adopted because they were the habits of my parents and/or the people around me. It should follow that my new habits should influence others to consider changing their own for the better. As the old saying goes, “if you’re not part of the solution; you’re part of the problem,” or as they say in Red Mars (paraphrasing) some one has to start living this new life in order for it to come into being. It feels good to be on the right path.
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