Real life intrudes, and I’m going to take a break from blogging. Summer is winding down, school is starting soon, and my list of things to get accomplished seems to be going in the wrong direction, getting longer instead of shorter. So at least for now, I’m going to quit posting. Here’s a parting thought, though, a list of ten principles that seem to run through what I’ve written—if we all did these things, I think we’d be moving in the right direction. If you’re new to the blog—there are fifty posts here, most of which are related to these ten points. Click on the “Posts Archive” link, at the top of the page, for a list.
1. Demand and use clean, renewable energy. Install it yourself, buy it from your power company, support wind and solar projects.
2. Consume less, minimize your life, recycle. Our friends, family, and experiences are our most valuable things, not our possessions. Use less, recycle more, and compost what you can.
3. Know where your food comes from, and support those that are producing food in sustainable ways. Buy organic food, know the farmer when you can, join a CSA, grow your own garden and fruit and nut trees, and learn to cook with fresh, whole ingredients.
4. Be financially self-disciplined, and then use the money you aren’t wasting in ways that help the planet. Realize that you probably have no greater influence than how you spend your money—vote wisely with your dollars. Then, don’t forget that money you earn and don’t spend is doing something—make sure its saved and invested in ways that help the planet.
5. Don’t underestimate your power-by-example, your power-of-one. Small changes matter, and people do care what other people are doing, and what other people think of them.
6. Read and pay attention. There is a lot of misinformation out there, and the only real antidote is to be informed. Get your information from a wide variety of sources, and realize that the truth is more often grey than black and white.
7. Invest in energy efficiency. Efficiency is the goose that lays the golden egg, and in terms of energy investments, it can also pay off financially in the long run. Weatherize your house, buy vehicles that get better mileage (or better yet, an electric vehicle), install high-efficiency appliances and lighting.
8. Stay healthy, because the things you do to stay healthy help save the planet—walk more, bike more, eat fresh food. And, stay healthy because being sick and in poor health saps your energy and your money, leaving you powerless to help effect change.
9. Actively push for change. It might only be little things, but they all add up. Vote, participate, work locally to change the system, join the thousands out there who are also concerned about humanity’s direction.
10. Make it a goal to have a fairer planet. We can’t throw out the market system, but we need to realize that it isn’t perfect. And, we can’t truly change the direction we’re headed in unless the world’s poorest billions can join in the effort. We somehow need to blunt capitalism’s natural trend toward inequality.
And, finally, I think that we all need to “step it up” a bit more. We need stronger, dramatic action, and personal paradigm shifts. There are trends in the right direction, glimmers of hope, but they are in danger of being swamped by population growth and an ever-larger human footprint. This is an important crossroads that we’re at, for all life on the planet and for future generations, so let’s get this right.