I care deeply about this planet we live on. It’s the only one we’ve got. Right now, I’m on a bit of a high environmentally. In part, because of this blog. But sometimes it’s hard to remember why I care when so many people around me don’t seem to at all. Or they might say they do, but their actions show they don’t. Then it feels like all my effort is just being squandered away and I might as well not bother. But when I feel like this I go and read a particular article in The Guardian by Michael Pollan. In it, Michael Pollan talks about why we bother. He says that it can be quite disheartening if we worry about having a real impact on say the world’s carbon foot print via our actions. But, if instead, we see our actions as having a part in changing the culture, then it’s much easier to keep going. Michael’s idea is that every person who grows their own vegies or buys local food or rides a bike or whatever it is that we decide to do as our part, each of these people is helping to make these activities more normal. Is helping to make these activities more desirable, more fun, more inspiring to other people. To the people who don’t get it … yet. And I know from experience that this is true. When we lived without a car for 1.5 years most people at first treated us as weirdos. But by the end of the time, the same people would show interest in knowing what we did in place of having a car or would plan social activities so it was easy for us to get to without a car (e.g. near a train station). They were thinking and acting differently. We had changed not having a car from impossible and crazy to real and doable in their minds. And THAT is an important change. I see it too with going to farmers’ markets, using less plastic, composting, catching public transport, bringing lunch from home, using less water…. It works this slowly changing the culture thing, it works.
Don’t Give Up by Michael Pollan. The Guardian, 6 June 2008.