I’ve always tried to use my blog as a platform for my personal thoughts, stories, and the occasional interview. Now that I’m back from Zambia and connected to the internet more regularly, I’m finding a wealth of things that I’d like to share (and re-share) with you, my dear readers. So, I’m excited to start adding new content to the blog on a more regular basis. I promise not to overwhelm you with a deluge of media, but hope you’ll enjoy the new additions!
This week, check out this collection of material from around the web talking about climate change.
First up, this awesome video by Prince Ea. He’s an American rapper who creates a wide range of spoken word, music, and visual media talking about important social issues. He made me a dedicated fan with this video speaking to the future generations of Planet Earth.
If watching this isn’t enough to make you want to shut off your lawn sprinklers, then I give up.
Second cool thing this week: Levi’s Jeans is taking the first few steps that ALL manufacturers should be taking to lessen their water consumption through their processing chain. Check out their web page where you can also find tips on how to lessen your own water usage. Mindful purchases go a long way toward shifting the production practices of our favorite brands.
Speaking of water consumption, California isn’t the only place experiencing major drought. Did you know that 2/3 of the water consumption in the U.S. goes to agriculture? It’s all well and good to take shorter showers, skip the ice in drinks, etc. But if the people of the United States changed our eating habits, we would eliminate most of our water consumption problems. Would you still eat a pound of beef if the 2000-5000 gallons per pound (rough estimate, but most forms of beef use at least that much) required to grow it sat in front of you? Check out this list of different foods and how much water it takes to grow each product.
Finally, I think the most important thing that has shifted in me since coming home from Peace Corps is my ability to be flexible about my personal consumptive practices. It’s been something I’ve struggled to identify in myself since coming home, but here’s a quick summary of my thoughts (more to come in a following post).
While living in Zambia, I got back to the way of living (not entirely voluntarily) where choice and preferences take a back seat to reality. I learned, or perhaps re-learned, that what I want doesn’t necessarily matter if it’s not practical or doesn’t meet basic needs. I learned this especially in regard to my preferences for food, consumption, and space. It was tough sometimes, but eventually it faded into the background of life. In essence, I was happy with the very basics, and stopped thinking twice about it.
When Rob and I returned to America, we were taken aback (way, way back) by what we have taken to calling the “caring about really dumb stuff” principle. People in America (and in most of the “developed” world) are really, really obsessed with stuff that really, really doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things. We give a whole lotta craps about our personal space, our food preferences, our style, our gadgets, etc. etc. This list is amazingly long and petty.
Of course, it was like this before we left. We just didn’t see it – and how we contributed to it – at the time. Because oh yeah, we were definitely part of that problem. I love my daily lattes as much as the next gal, let me tell you. BUT, coming home and seeing the seriously impending problems OUR generation is facing and will face in the future regarding climate change, ocean acidification, and the planet we live on, it strikes as not only important but essentially necessary to give up a lot of the little things we choose to care about. To us, it is no longer a question of morality or preference on whether meat consumption is responsible. With thousands of gallons of water required to grow every pound of beef we eat, it’s not really an option to be as vegetarian as possible. It is becoming, quite literally, a life or “death by climate change” non-choice.
So, now when I go to a restaurant with friends, I am different than I was before. Instead of being flexible about my preferences, I insist on eating conscientiously. I will be that Facebook friend that is constantly talking about climate change and sustainable practices and conscious consumption. We will be that couple who lives in a tiny house, because more than 1000sq feet for two people is ridiculous and unnecessary.
I will, because it really isn’t an option to keep screwing around about climate change. For me, and I hope for you.
Thanks for reading and feel free to leave your own thoughts about how you’re making real choices for a real and rapidly impending future on this planet.