Red Shoulder Hawk

Red Shoulder Hawk

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Start small

An attitude shift is required to make the transition from affluenza to sustainability.

Starting small means to change the easy things first. Here are a few:
• Replace a burned out bulb with a compact flourescent bulb. Dispose CF bulbs properly.
• Set your heater's thermostat lower.
• Set your air conditioner to a higher temp.
• Bring your own canvas bags when you shop.

It's a bit harder to make the changes in our attitudes. Try these first:
• Let someone merge ahead of you on the freeway.
• Read to your child for 20 minutes.
• Replace driving for one errand with walking.
• Eat organic and/or locally grown produce.
• Use petroleum-free soaps and detergents.

I think these of the second group are attitude shifters because a commitment is involved. It's almost zero effort to use a compact flourescent bulb. But to leave the car in the garage and walk a half-mile to buy organic or locally grown produce? That's adding at least a half hour into an already fully-scheduled day. Also, organic produce is typically more expensive than conventional. I have found the increase in nutrional value far outstrips the increase in price.

You'll find your own set of starting commitments: exercising enough, getting more fresh produce into your diet, restricting meat, sleeping well, and even choosing happiness. Perhaps you'll get into the 12 items or less lane at the store and let someone with two items get ahead of you. Perhaps you'll start going to church again. Perhaps you'll make presents, or give the gift of yourself and time with you instead of more stuff. Maybe you'll hire a life coach. Maybe you'll investigate chiropractic as you take responsibility for your health and give up on pills to manage your condition.

The important thing is to bite off only as much as you can comfortably chew. Otherwise you can overwhelm yourself, and that's just more of the same off-kilter thinking that has landed us where we are today.

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