Jayzus! In one hour, I get linked by both Crunchy Chicken and No Impact Man, and by the time I woke up this morning I had more page hits than I normally get in a whole day. You guys! You didn't tell me to expect company! I would have ... dusted and made tea and stuff.
But anyway, welcome! I started this blog as a way to chronicle my one-year adventure in non-consumerism. (To see my rules, click here.)
Because one adventure was not enough, I began a series of personal monthly challenges. You can read about all the different challenges in the archives, but some of my favorites were the Slow Food Challenge in December and the Public Transit Challenge in April. And, I'm not revealing anything yet, but I have the June challenge already figured out, and let me tell you, I am really excited for it.
I like to talk about the little things, and I like to be silly, but I also sometimes like to talk about the big things too. Most importantly, I like to live in the gray. I choose to embrace the dichotomy of living a lesser-impact life in a higher-impact world.
Imagine it's 2:00pm and you're at the top of a hill. On one side you can see see a magnificent city. On the other side, is a gorgeous valley, a veritable rural pastiche. What is your eye drawn to? Where do you find beauty? People are going to have different answers depending on their sensibilities. Some will be drawn to the city rooftops, others the colorful wildflowers that dot the landscape. Still others will be drawn to the forest of trees beckoning silently in the distance.
Now imagine you're at the top of the same hill. But it's now 11:00pm. What is your eye drawn to down below? Where do you find beauty now? In the lights of the city, right? Because you see, those lights don't just represent industry and technology, they represent humanity. They remind us, even when we're all by ourselves on a hilltop, that somewhere not so far from us, someone is falling in love, and someone is getting his heart broken. And someone else, is just kicking back and ordering a pizza. Just as there is beauty in nature, so is there beauty in the industrial.
I believe we are all industrialists, we are all technologians (you are reading this on a computer, right?) And if "eating is an agricultural act" then we are all agrarians, and anyone who's been outside is a naturalist. And that's okay. In fact that's more than okay, it's great! Because to me, being an environmentalist isn't about renouncing technology or trying to live the life of a peasant. Being an environmentalist is about embracing nature yes, but it's also about embracing technology. Being an environmentalist is about figuring out how to extend the American dream to every person on this earth.
By the American dream, I don't mean that I believe everyone in the world has an inalienable right to more crap. I don't mean we should all be shopping at the Gap, eating at MickeyD's and purchasing yogurt in strange tubes.
Instead, when I talk about the American dream, I am talking about life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. I am talking about justice, about optimism, creativity and entrepreneurship. And yeah, I'm also talking about drinkable water, food to eat, liveable wages, and a light to read by.
I've often thought that I set out to save the world, but ended up saving myself. Because of my journey, I am happier and healthier. Some people see my life of not-buying and they think, "Oh poor her. She's so deprived."
But I've never felt less deprived in my life. Because all that stuff I'm not buying? Turns out don't need it. Instead, I live each day more conscious of what I HAVE. I was born into the first world. I went to a top-notch public school. I grew up believing that I could have anything I set my mind to.
And I do. I live in one of the most vibrant cities in the world. I have access to great cultural institutions, restaurants, theatres, and cinemas. I can walk to the subway, and read on the train. I have a good job, great friends, and a 401(k) AND an IRA. And I have more money to give to good causes. Feeling blessed with what I have has made me a more generous person.
I have plenty of stuff too. And you know what? I love much of my stuff, I do and I'm thankful for it too, but frankly, the world has so much more to offer us than stuff.
And that's what I'm about. Stick around, peruse the archives, leave a comment, and come back again soon!
9 months ago