Working the jobs i do, I am privy to a lot of different people's lifestyles and I get frustrated when I see some of the things people do. Some of the things, I have been guilty of myself, so i try not to be judgemental, but the simple fact is there really is no excuse for not knowing better, anymore. Even mainstream media has newspaper articles and tv shows on simple, green living, so most people are aware of the issues...
Some of the things I have seen, (perpetrators shall remain nameless)...
- 4 (!) airconditioners on at once, with windows and doors open... the mind boggles.
- Televisions left on all night, with no one even sleeping in the room.
- Manicured, monoculture lawns, that are as productive and useful as a carpark, and use more resources; petrochemical fertilisers, precious drinking quality water, etc.
- Driving less than 1 kilometre round trip, just to pick up "dinner" through a drive thru.
- Dozens of cars waiting in a line for over half an hour, engines running, to pick up children from school.
This annoys me, a fair bit. It takes me 1 hour total, to catch the bus from 2 kilometres away, get son and other hangers on, and catch bus home again. Sometimes we walk home, because we enjoy the walk! Some days, I hate the walk, and the chunk it takes out of my day, I will admit. However, it has cost me $2 for the bus fare, the bus goes that way whether i'm on it or not, so I'm not adding to emissions and I get a bit of exercise.
Also I can:
- chat to my son, who isn't really a talker, (when we are walking, there's no chores/tv/homework to get in the way of chatter),
- collect flowers for my cockatiel to nibble,
- drop off letters at the post box,
- collect seeds and leaves from street trees for craft,
- chat on the phone without worrying about causing an accident,
- read a magazine/book at the bus stop, (guilt free 5 minutes of sitting down, oh yeah)
- listen to my mp3 player,
- or just "be" in silence (it's truly amazing how quiet the suburbs can be, especially between 8am and 6pm, when no one is home!).
Some, not all, of the people in the pick up line have thier reasons, like not wanting to disturb a sleeping baby, that's fine. Seriously, though people, if you can, - walk, or turn your darn car off!Anyways, back on topic...
How to feel less frustrated/angry/depressed/worried about the world ending in a human wrought environmental disaster...
Truthfully, it's hard. It's enough to make you want to take up goat farming in woop woop.
The only thing you can control are your own actions, which is pretty sucky.
Wouldn't it be cool to be the government for a day, or a week?
To just blanket declare pesticides illegal, or to ration car use, or to give away water tanks and alternative energy systems?
We could make it compulsory for every school to be a permaculture site. How great to go to a school that is passive solar designed, shady, airy, non toxic and has chickens roaming around?
We could ban MDF, chip board and air fresheners... sigh.
(Actually, the first thing I would do, as President of the world, would be to ban the use of perfumes/body spray/cologne and cigarettes if you plan on using public transport... this is purely selfish, i find the cocktail of smells mixed with stale cigarette smoke makes me feel ill when i'm on the bus. Why do teenage girls think they can cover the fact they have been smoking with half a can of impulse?)
To combat the hopeless feeling, the "why do i bother being vegetarian and using bicarb soda to clean the bathroom, when next door is flushing scented bleach down the loo, and eating preservative laced factory farmed chicken nuggets" feeling, I remind myself that I am not alone.
There are people just discovering how to have less of an impact on the planet, and there are people who have been living frugal simple lives forever, before 'eco' was a buzz word, or before even hippies for that matter. And there are plenty of people who also feel that the world is going to hell in a plastic shopping bag.
You could bang your head on a brick wall, or you can slowly chisel at its foundations.
Simply by sharing fragrant bunches of fresh basil, and sunripened homegrown tomatoes with friends, I motivate them to grow their own herbs and some vegies. When a client needs plants, I use local organic nurseries and substitute productive/native plants for ornamentals and exotics. When I give a friend a handmade gift, they feel special, the extra effort on my part is worth more to them than if i spent more money. When I turn up to a friend's house with some fresh baked breadrolls, or a bowl of home made dip, they are blown away, it's much more impressive than a bottle of wine you bought on the way there.
Keep on imagining a better world, living as simply and as greenly (is that a word?) as you can and take your canvas bags to the super market.