Why Bother? Three Great Reasons

Of all the good pieces in today’s Green Issue of New York Times magazine, “Why Bother?” by Michael Pollan is the one that helps us see that lower-consumption lifestyles are crucial in dealing with global warming, Inventors and legislators cannot rescue us.

1.) Pollan points out that being a role model is powerful. As various citizens like you and me consume significantly less, especially in terms of fossil fuels, other people will follow our example. Social change tends to happen exponentially (much faster than linear growth). I would add that people will especially follow the example of us diamond-cut lifers as they see we are happy in our simplicity, with a high quality of life (different from a high standard of living, which is measured just by volume of consumption).

2.) Acting ‘as if’ can make amazing things happen. Pollan cites how Vaclav Havel and Adam Michnik were instrumental in bringing freedom to the Soviet blok by acting as if they lived in a free society. We need to act as if we are living in a sustainable society, one that intends to still be existing seven generations down the road.

3.) A reason of mine that Pollan did not address: we sustainability artists who live well by consuming less are working out the kinks in all the new systems and ways. I really mean the old systems and ways: growing a good percentage of our own food; skillfully using public transit, biking, carpooling and walking for transportation; sharing valuable items within a community instead of one-item-per-person. We are blazing the trail so that when various collapses start happening, these survival skills will be in the social knowledge-base.

Me? I’ve been working in our food garden and enjoying a car-free weekend, using my legs and a TriMet bus to get me everywhere I’m going — church, the film “End of Suburbia” at the Bagdad on Hawthorne, and a dinner party reunion of our cross-country skiing group. Fun!


4 Responses to “Why Bother? Three Great Reasons”

  1. 1 Christian April 22, 2008 at 8:58 pm

    Hi there,

    I liked your post so much that I wrote about it on my own blog – TriMetiquette. You can see that post here: http://www.trimetiquette.com/using-the-bus-to-lower-your-consumpton-lifecycle/

    Looks as if you had a good time last weekend!

  2. 2 klara April 24, 2008 at 10:17 am

    great posts! i love oregon and plan on moving to portland soon. I uploaded a post of yours to http://sustain.newsladder.net/ (like digg but centered around sustainability). It’s a great resource and I am trying to spread the word on it. Please upload your posts there if you can! Also I wanted to give you a tip about a company called climate counts. They are about to launch on may 7th. Here’s the link…. http://www.csrwire.com/News/11783.html
    If you end up posting on this please let me know. I’d love to read it!

    take care,

  1. 1 Using the bus to lower your consumpton lifecycle — TriMetiquette Trackback on April 22, 2008 at 7:50 pm
  2. 2 The Maven of Sustainability « Diamond-Cut Life Trackback on April 24, 2008 at 6:34 pm
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