Part of putting thoughts into writing is the fact that the expression of ideas breathes life into them. No longer confined to one’s mind, they have been made available for discussion and critique. While I’m not afraid of critique – it is both healthy and necessary – I find myself concerned that those who read what I write here, particularly people I know, will simply think “why?”.
The last thing I want is for my objective to be infantilized or patronized, implying my goals are “cute” or “silly”, or my efforts futile. Perhaps those who ask why may be thinking “why go through all this trouble?” or “why turn from habits and patterns that have been established to make our lives arguably easier and more efficient?”, both of which are valid questions. But I will admit, I am scared of the why-question because, superficially, I think it implies some kind of selfishness. It could imply that perhaps I am trying to change my actions to shift blame or guilt associated with my consumption and point fingers elsewhere. While I want to take better responsibility for my actions and prompt others to consider theirs, I by no means want to cast a cloud of guilt on readers that don’t share my perspectives or objectives.
So, to those questions I have this to say:
- “Why” is a question with an ever-evolving answer. I hope that the accumulation of what I address here continues to speak to why I think it is important to not passively consume. Consider joining me, even if that means reading only at this point.
- I could respond with my own question (admittedly borrowed from Thoreau via Wendell Berry): why should anyone wait to do what is right until everybody does it? I don’t need the blessing or permission of others to change my habits and act in a way that I see fit – ideally better for myself and others. You don’t have to wait either. So once again, consider joining me, even if that means reading only at this point.
I understand the need to think big, to make a different through changes in our energy grid, to build smarter, to demand sweeping change from our leaders. I see how that perspective may render my efforts ineffectual. But these large scale problems grow out of the additive effect of small scale causes. An engine doesn’t suddenly improve its function because we implore it to, but when each component is attended to, maintained, and replaced as needed.
I can worry and whine about the prospective damaging changes that may be on the horizon on the eve of our presidential transition – I have and I will. But I am doing this to tackle a problem I see at its source – our individual lives – the best way I know how:by critically evaluating and making changes.
So why bother? Simply because I should, and because I can. And if I can, perhaps others can too.