Bruce Levine, in his brilliant new book SURVIVING AMERICA’S DEPRESSION EPIDEMIC writes:
Depression is highly associated with the experience of hopelessness and helplessness, and politics is all about power. In genuine democracy, people don’t merely get to vote but instead they have a real sense that they actually have an impact on their society. When you are voting, year after year, for the lesser-of-two-evils, neither of whom you support and both of whom are in the pocket of corporations and wealthy individuals, you don’t experience any real political power. Politics is all about power, and depression is largely about powerlessness.
Feeling powerless and drained, I read No Impact Man last summer. As he stated,
The way I see it, waiting for the senators and the CEOs to change the way we treat the world is taking too long. Polar bears are already drowning because the polar ice is melting. In fact, research shows it’s worse: they are so hungry, they are actually starting to eat each other.
I can’t stand my so-called liberal self sitting around not doing anything about it anymore. The question is: what would it be like if I took the situation (or at least my tiny part of it) into my own hands? I’m finding out.
For one year, my wife, my 2-year-old daughter, my dog and I, while living in the middle of New York City, are attempting to live without making any net impact on the environment. In other words, no trash, no carbon emissions, no toxins in the water, no elevators, no subway, no products in packaging, no plastics, no air conditioning, no TV, no toilets…
What would it be like to try to live a no impact lifestyle? Is it possible? Could it catch on? Is living this way more fun or less fun? More satisfying or less satisfying? Harder or easier? Is it worthwhile or senseless? Are we all doomed or is there hope? These are the questions at the heart of this whole crazy-assed endeavor.
You might be thinking, Colin Beavan is cracked--no one can cause literally NO impact on the planet, right? Well, what I’m talking about is no NET impact. If you don’t get it, or you want to know more about how we’re proceeding?
Well, there you go. I had to face the fact that I needed to switch my focus towards my own sphere, to things I can control. In addition my make-a-(green) plan blog is for this political junkie to feel like I am in control of something. It is for the teacher in me to share what I know. It is for the writer in me to express. It is for the artist in me to create. It is for the woman in me to love and nurture - to lead.
To make-a-(green) plan I will begin with accessing where I am at right now with lists, photos, documentation & receipts. It is about a small carbon footprint, low impact, frugality and living more simply. Kate: start logs now! Daily logs of electrical, water, food, money, etc. - in order to have baselines.
Oh, and I am starting this challenge off right. Today is the last day of the year and I am going to walk along the beach. Activity and Activism in a new form for the new year ahead.Update: This is the last sunset of 2007, taken a couple of hours ago. Happy New Year.