Monday, April 19, 2010

No one can do everything. Everyone can do something

Welcome to Earth Week!

The volcano in Iceland, earthquakes in China, glacial tsunami in Peru, oil spill on the Great Barrier Reef - a little ironic this week is Earth Week, or maybe its come just in time..?? I've been super busy this last week, and that is unlikely to change in the next few weeks, teaching is taking up a huge amount of my time, and I have a proposal due next monday, just in time for me to start writing my job talk and getting ready for the interview!

But Earth Week is something I find important, so i'm going to try and write a little something each day. Today back to baby steps. I love the quote "No one can do everything, but everyone can do something". When you think of the environment and ways you can help, it can seem overwhelming. Everything is interconnected, everything is joined, what affects one can affect all - so where do you start?

This is where the quote comes in. It's impossible to do everything, to truly reverse climate change and bring the planet back to center, it's going to take more than individual action, it's going to take action by country, by continent, by the planet as a whole. But individual actions add up. Not so long ago it was almost impossible to find organic foods at big chain supermarkets, but people started buying and demanding it, now there are isles and even whole supermarkets dedicated to organic foods. Through more people making those choices, the supermarkets changed, and more farmers are changing - it's a cycle, all interconnected. Non organic foods will probably always be available, certainly in my lifetime, but a better balance is being created, all starting with those individual actions.

So what things should we choose to do? The answer to that is individual, no one person can dictate what works for everyone else. Most changes are simple and need little adaptation, others are more involved, but choose your priorities, tackle those head on and just make small changes in the other directions. The big hurdle I had to jump over was realizing there are things I am always going to do - drive my car, fly, use electricity - and that I just have to be good with that, and find ways to limit my impact in spite of these needs, even if they are out of my range right now (buying a hybrid, always getting carbon credits, alternative electricity sources), they are things i'm moving towards in baby steps (driving less, turning off switches, unplugging).

So what are my priorities? A big one for me is waste. I would love to live in a way I can limit my waste to almost zero (zero would be nice, but is not realistic). Recycle, compost, get only what is needed and don't accumulate "stuff" for the sake of it - this is my life goal, something i'm sure i'll be working on for a long time to come. I average one garbage bag every 1-2 weeks (~10lbs), which I don't feel is terribly good, but is certainly better than the US average of 4.4lbs of waste per person per day or even the UK average of 2.9lbs.

1 comment:

Nicola (Which Name?) said...

This is FABULOUS quote!
You do so much. I am often in awe. You also know about resources I don't. (I just clicked back through to an old post of mine where you answered a question I just asked again on my blog. Doh, Nicola!)
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