Leaning towards Jill

Jill Richardson at Sustainable Food (a part of change.org) ranted about Earth Hour today. I admit being swayed by these last paragraphs cited below.
The one good thing about that condo was its proximity to a bike path. All summer long, I biked to work during the week and biked the 12 miles to get downtown Madison, WI on the weekends. Oh how I miss that bike path! I'm driving a Prius now, but I'm driving. If I still had a bike path near me, I would definitely use it. Yet there are no bike paths. And what really got me mad was a sign I saw over a nearby highway last year that said "Bike to work day tomorrow!" I wanted to give that stupid sign the finger. How the heck am I supposed to bike to work if nobody builds any bike paths? Especially here in S. California, where you practically can't get anywhere without using a highway. You can bike on the road. You can't bike on the highway.

So how much money went into publicizing and promoting that hour in the dark yesterday, and how much energy did it save? Because no matter how motivated anyone gets about saving the earth, it's impossible for us to do it if the government (or somebody else with very deep pockets) doesn't pitch in and help. Next time someone feels like funding a major green initiative, they should take their money and put it into building bike paths or helping homeowners afford solar panels. They should put it into helping farmers go organic, or helping farmers markets get EBT readers so that food stamp recipients can shop at the farmers' market. We don't need publicity stunts, we need solutions.

The background is Jill's position that financial realities have kept her from being able to live sustainably. It is worth a read to follow her particular experience. Let me just say that I am intensely aware of the obstacles in my way. I made a list over the weekend of 24 things to be done to make my 280 sf home and an equally sized side area more sustainable.

These all have financial obstacles, physical energy or skill obstacles, minor land owner obstacles and city / state code obstacles. All of these are larger than simply my awareness or my will to make change.
My little world is filled with obstacles and obfuscation. So is everyone else's except the uber rich. Let's stop pretending we need to study more, learn more, invent more, discuss more . . . it is time to just do things.

The country needs and, unless I mistake its temper, the country demands bold, persistent experimentation. It is common sense to take a method and try it: If it fails, admit it frankly and try another.
But above all, try something. The millions who are in want will not stand by silently forever while the things to satisfy their needs are within easy reach. ~ FDR

3 comments:

Beany said...

Thinking about saving the planet already indicates that financially you have some amount of financial safety. I can't imagine myself caring one way or the other about the planet when I was struggling to survive on a dollar or so a day (for all living expenses).

I don't like the bike to work day, but I'll support it because the intention is good. But on the other hand, what if a first time biker realizes that every day is not like bike to work day (i.e. more people on the road).

katecontinued said...

Really good points, Beany. I have had conflicts over this kind of thing for some time . . . take your daughter to work, MLK holiday focusing only on I Have a Dream speech and the Earth Day as sales event coming up. Yet, each and every one of these (and many more) can be used as an opportunity.

Again, I am struggling with blogging this year because I am excavating a bit deeper - yet more passively. This leaves me focused within like a giant question mark purched and hunched over the essense of me. ??????? I don't have the clarity that arrogance and entitlement brought me in the past.

katecontinued said...

That would be - perched.