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No Impact Man: Gradual Change April 13, 2010

Posted by nrhatch in Life Balance, Sustainable Living.
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As we’ve seen, the family in No Impact Man implemented some rather drastic changes from their consumer-oriented lifestyle during the year-long effort to reduce their impact on the planet.

Among other things, they: turned off the electricity in their apartment; ate only locally grown food purchased at a nearby farmer’s market and cooked at home on their gas stove; stopped shopping for non-essentials; traded chemical cleaners for natural cleaners (vinegar, baking soda, Borax); stopped eating in  restaurants or ordering take-out food; stopped using motorized transportation; and vacationed at a local farm instead of flying or driving to a more “exotic” locale.

While the global economy would come to a screeching halt if everyone on the planet adopted all of these changes at exactly the same moment in time, that is unlikely to occur.

Instead, change will come gradually, person by person, choice by choice.

As discussed in Simplify Your Life, we didn’t immediately overhaul every aspect of our life after reading Elaine St. James’ book a decade ago.  We did, however, start making more conscious choices about how we wanted to live “down the road.”

We started with easy fixes and our success with those encouraged us to keep moving step by step in the direction of our dreams:

* We cancelled the newspaper ~ easy.  We never had time to read it anyway.

* We gave up spending entire weekends baking cookies during the hectic holiday season ~ easy, and more time for holiday stuff we really enjoyed!

* We started giving things away to streamline our possessions ~ easy, and liberating!  It’s amazing how much our possessions weigh us down.

* We downsized our Christmas tree and kept only our favorite ornaments to adorn its branches ~ easy, and a real time-saver every year since then.

As time moved on, our lifestyle changed in more significant respects.  We switched from full-time positions in law and construction, to part-time positions with non-profits.  We moved from a large house in NJ, to a smaller house on the Chesapeake Bay, and more recently to an even smaller villa in Florida.

Along the path, we kept implementing one gradual change after another.

Now, we are able to say, with conviction, “Yes.  That’s good.  Life feels in balance again.”

Gradual change will also work on a more global level.

We don’t have to immediately shut down all coal-burning plants.  Instead, we can begin shifting away from electricity that is not sustainably produced, to electricity that comes solely from sustainable sources (e.g., wind, solar, waves) ~ Go Solar with . . . eSolar!

As the shift occurs, jobs will follow ~ moving workers from current energy production to greener and cleaner energy production.

Likewise, we don’t all have to stop driving gas-guzzling SUVs in one fell swoop, but the next time we’re in the market for a car we should certainly consider the miles per gallon rating ~ or, even better, buy an electric car.

The Nissan Leaf (100% electric/zero emissions) should be available in dealer showrooms starting this fall!

Concern for the economy should not stop us from making changes in our daily lives to move step by step in the direction of lessening our carbon footprints on the planets.

Quote:  Every journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

* * * * *

For an insightful post on excess commercialism in movies: Why Sex & The City Bombed

 

Comments»

1. Tsuchigari - April 14, 2010

We just got a Prius – LOVE the gas milage, over 50 miles per gallon. And it makes m feel like I’m doing my part.

2. nrhatch - April 14, 2010

Good for you!

I have a 2000 Honda Civic which gets about 42 mpg highway. It’s got 100,000 miles on it (+/-) after 10 years ~ 10,000 miles a year.

I’d like to keep it a few more years and then get an electric car or hybrid.


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