Whew. I’ve been crazy-busy lately, with all manner of “normal life” tasks; everything from finishing our unfinished pantry, to running kids to this activity and that, or working with the afterschool clubs at work, etc. Thus, I’ve been doing a great deal of thinking about sustainability, as always, but not that much actual writing. I jot my musings down on scraps of paper, and they end up in a pile on my desk.
Then, in the middle of all of this, I found another blog that I really like, “Wait But Why“, which gives me yet another thing to do. But, their posts about artificial intelligence, and EV’s, and several others are right in line with the topics I write about here, along with a few, like their post on procrastination, that aren’t, but that one does apply to me personally (and is both freakily accurate and humorous). Their main writer, Tim Urban, appears to read, research, and write nearly full-time, while his partner runs the “business side” of their blog, which appears to include ads on their pages, and some sort of sales of retail items related to their topics. Now, I’m pretty envious of this idea, especially as I struggle along with real life and kids and work, when I would dearly, dearly love to sit and read, research, think, and write every day, and play with fruit trees and permaculture swales. BUT, and here’s my main point of the day… Ok, two points—Point #1—I think making money from intellectual endeavors tends to undermine one’s objectivity, or, at a minimum, others’ perceptions of one’s objectivity. Point #2—the entire raison de’etre of this blog, my whole entire mission, is to seek to understand how we humans go forward; how society should function and be structured and how ordinary people could live their lives in such a manner that we could restore the planet instead of ruining it. I admire Rob Greenfield, but just to use him as an example, a few people can live off of food from grocery store trash bins, but if everyone tried it, it just wouldn’t work. We’d have all the people out back looking through the bins, and no customers inside to spur the food waste in the first place. So, in what fashion can everyone live, that will keep us from trashing the planet?
Which is why quitting my job to read, research, and write every day wouldn’t actually work—I’m sure that if it was my only task, to “live sustainably” and then write about it, that I could do a bang-up job. BUT, most people with kids and a spouse and jobs don’t have the luxury of using all their energy to be more sustainable, so my example wouldn’t really apply very well to others. If I’m going to figure out how ordinary people can do this, then I need to do it, as an ordinary person in the real world, and not as someone who has income from a successful book or blog, or charges money for seminars or workshops, or gets free labor from “interns”. And I’m not faulting all those others—everyone has to make a living—but for me, and my mission here, it’s not the right path. Thus, my pledge from day one to write a non-profit blog. See those blank green lines on the side of the what you’re reading, with no ads? That’s a non-profit blog. And because I’m not dependent on this, I can stop, start, or change my mind at any time at all. I’ve got nothing vested here; if I realized tomorrow that I was entirely wrong about everything, I’d renounce it all lickety-split. I don’t have some hardcopy book out there, earning me money and needing its ideas defended.
All of which brings me to EXACTLY where I am now—a busy normal person with insights and thoughts about sustainability, but who is often lacking huge chunks of free time to explore and write about them. The good news, however, is that this situation is indeed yielding insight after insight, one of which I set out to write about today, about time, efficiency, packaging, and transportation (believe it or not, they actually all relate) but that I should probably just write about next time, as a separate post. But, short version of my situation—our family lives a very comfortable “normal” life that results in few monthly bills (yet another yet-to-be-written post—“I’ve Got No Bills”.), with our net-zero house, our EV’s, our solar panels and garden and fruit trees, etc., all of which gives our family a dramatically lower carbon footprint than most, and likely a lower impact on the planet in general.
So, after a bout of jealousy for those who can study and write full-time, I think that I am indeed on the right path. Like I’ve said a couple of times before, I’m getting this sustainability thing figured out. And the good news? I don’t think that the path ahead, for all of us, will involve some dramatic, huge metamorphosis or wholesale reinvention of every aspect of our lives, but rather a steady series of tweaks. More about that next time; I’ll find some time to get it written.