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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Power and Importance of Our Lives


by Melinda Briana Epler, One Green Generation


There is a rift in the sustainable and simple living movement. There are those who believe the most important thing we can do is change the way we live our lives at home. Because it makes our families healthier, our budgets easier, and our lives happier. And then there are those who believe that each of those little changes in our lives do not matter, because the danger of climate change and peak oil and poverty and greed are so huge, that if we don't change things on a massive scale, we won't make it as a people.



I used to believe the latter. I used to believe that while it was important to me to eat healthier and support local farmers, what was important for humanity and the planet were only the big, political - and societal - changes. So I worked for many, many years to learn how to change the world on a massive scale.




But you know what? In a way, I ended back where I started.



I tried art, design, narrative film, and documentary film. I searched for how to tell people the world need saving. And after 20 years, I realized that telling is important, sure. But the real thing that incites change in the world is doing. Doing publicly, sure, but doing - it is the action that makes the difference.



Nobody wants to be told what to do, or what to think. But everyone loves to watch successes happen. Everyone loves to watch people become healthier and happier. Everyone wants to believe that they can live better on less.



Our individual and family changes are powerful. The stories we tell about them are also powerful. And together, our doing and our telling about it is one of the best tools we can use to incite real, solid, movement-based change in the world!



Just in the last 2 years since I began blogging about my own personal changes, I have seen the number of simple, green, and sustainable living blogs increase exponentially - have you? It's amazing, isn't it?



At the same time, I've seen more businesses cater to local and green living. I've seen more organizations working to rebuild greenbelts and replant forests. The amount of socially and environmentally responsible investments has grown considerably. It is now ok to talk about shopping in thrift stores and recycling everything imaginable, and not using plastic, and turning down the heat, and so on and so on. The gardens, oh the gardens - how many more people are planting vegetable gardens!



Societal Change Is Happening. Because we individually are changing our lifestyles, and we are telling others and showing others about it. People see our passion, our health improvements, our enjoyment in going back to the basics. And that passion is catching!



Now this does not give us an excuse not to vote, not to join community efforts to create change. These things are necessary, too - and we should all take part in the stake of our community, national, and planetary laws and goals. But what we do every day at home is equally important. As we learn and grow and redefine how we live our lives at home, we are spreading a movement of change in how the world defines normal.



So don't stop, and don't let yourself get down when it's tougher. Keep moving forward, and changing the world - one day at a time.

12 comments:

Green Gal said...

You put this so well and made it really clear for me as a reminder of why it's important to continue striving to live more healthy for myself and the planet. Thank you!

Melissa said...

I've often wondered why we keep saying the planet needs saving. The planet is fine. The planet doesn't care where it's hot/cold or how high the oceans get.

What we need to do is save the *people*. If we emphasize that then maybe the link between what we change as individuals and what we change on a grand scale would be clearer.

- IDMike

Anonymous said...

I've never heard or read this said better than here:
8 Reasons Why Personal Changes Matter
http://fakeplasticfish.com/

Anonymous said...

:)Thank you

Hathor's Bath said...

I agree - a lot of time gets spent arguing who is right/who is to blame/when are we going to change, and I think sometimes the actually DOING gets lost. I don't argue, I got tired of arguing with people who refused to even acknowledge my point of view ages ago. It took up loads of energy and took my time away from actually living my life and walking my walk. I'm back on track now, and I concentrate on sharing my life and how I live it with my son and also with people who equally want to have a similar life to mine; we support each other and trade ideas and barter as needed, which works out.

Anne said...

It works like a spiral, start with yourself and grow outwards and the more you connect with people doing the same, a community arises. Communities grow into small groups of society and then the country and the world change bit by bit. Excellent post

The Mom said...

Absolutely. Without small, personal changes, the larger changes can't happen. It has to start as a ground swell from the people. That is the only way to get the larger entities to see that what needs to change is important enough. They need us more than we need them.

Jean said...

Absolutley. You could talk until you're blue in the face and not leave a dent in someone's opinion, but show them the receipts on how much time and money you saved at the grocery store, gas station, etc, and you have an immediate convert.

Simple in France said...

I couldn't agree more. I've found that since I've started blogging on this topic and exploring it on my own and in my own life that the people around me are suddenly interested in what I'm doing. I don't have to convince people that using a hay box to cook with low energy is a good idea if they taste my soup and like it--for example. I think that people respond to actions more than they respond to ranting. Great post.

Old Recipe for a New World said...

Changing our ways at home and in the world has been, to my surprise, the best way I've found to bridge that divide--that perceived separation--between personal and political acts. Discovering my capacity for change has made me far more optimistic. If I can change and you can change, then perhaps we all can.
And that kind of optimism leads to community action, and engaging the "issues" on a broader level.
Thanks!

Stephanie said...

Mmm. Well that didn't help me feel like I could do something mighty and great in my life. :P I have been having trouble doing more 'green' things and this makes me feel worse for failing to really think about it lately! At least I've kept up with what I have changed, but I haven't reduced much of anything lately.

Linda Woodrow said...

"Doing publicly, sure, but doing" is the phrase that resonates with me. This is the challenge that I've been wrestling with for the last few years: how to make the doing more public. There's a danger otherwise that we simple green frugal folk will be marginalised. The internet is a wonderful invention!