An organic WHAT WE DO list

An organic list

I’m still sniffing, coughing and my ears are still ringing, but while Amie naps, I can quickly announce the following (though I really should be cleaning up the kitchen…):

In a previous post I started the “WHAT WE DO” list: a list of small life-style changes that I feel really do make a difference to the size of your footprint on the earth, so that the future of our daughter and her contemporaries will be a little bit safer, healthier.

Since publishing that post, I have been going back several times to add items. Needless to say, that is not the way blog posts work. So I’ve decided to make a special article: let’s call it an “organic article”. An “organic article” is one that grows “naturally” along with life and life’s changing circumstances.

It’s your list too

If you have any suggestions for the list, comment or email me. Remember, the point is that each change is feasible within our circumstances (the circumstances of a family of 3 living in a basement apartment in the suburbs – no garden).

The more items on the list, the more it will become clear that many small changes can make a big one!

Why only “small changes”?

About keeping it “small”, I agree with this post by Liz on the Pocket Farm blog, about Colin Beavan, the No Impact Man. I have been following No Impact Man, off and on, and while I was amused and once in a while impressed by his achievements, I also had reservations aobut the project.

In her post, Liz puts her finger on the source of my misgivings. In the “finally” section of the post, she writes:

My point is that we approached our current lifestyle gradually, as a lifestyle change, not as a diet.

In the end, that’s why I just can’t get behind the No Impact Man experiment. By taking on so much at once, and radically changing his lifestyle so dramatically, it will become difficult to sustain. His is simply the lifestyle equivalent of the crash diet, and it’s well known that, in the long term, crash diets don’t work. When he fails (which I think at some point he will), the mainstream will be all too quick to chalk his failure up as to be expected: “See? Living sustainably in the modern world is too hard, it’s beyond the scope of the average American, and therefore you shouldn’t even try”. […]

This post is just a (very) long way of saying that I think it’s possible to be too extreme. What do you think? Does a radical experiment like Colin Beavan’s help to persuade anyone to live a more environmentally friendly life? Does it belittle the real, sustained efforts that many of you are already making? Does it scare other people away from making any real change in their lives because they feel their efforts may not “measure up”?

Please head over to Liz’s to comment and discuss! It touches upon the heart of the matter, the question of our times: “how much is enough?” To which I would reply: “Do your (very very) best, and it will be enough”.

And visit the Organic WHAT WE DO list to add some of your own suggestions!

Join the Conversation

1 Comment

  1. I am SO glad that I found your blog. I moved to the UK 6 1/2 years ago from Massachusetts and am now hesitant to move back to the US as it seems so ‘backwards’! It’s really reassuring to come across blogs like yours that are dealing with important issues.

    Also, where on earth did you get such cheap solar panels, or did you leave off of a digit?!

    Transition is all over the UK, although it seems to do better in some places more than others. Keep going on all that you’re doing, and well done on all the riot for austerity stuff!

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