What happens when people are confronted by world issues? They typically enter one of the following cycles:
Cycle of Cynicism:
1. Finding out about a problem
2. Wanting to do something to help
3. Not seeing how you can help
4. Not doing anything about it
5. Feeling sad, powerless, angry
6. Deciding that nothing can be done
7. Beginning to shut down
8. Wanting to know less about problems
(repeat to apathy)
Cycle of Hope:
1. Taking personal responsibility for being a good person
2. Creating a vision of a better world based on your values
3. Seeking out quality information about the world's problems
4. Discovering practical options for actions
5. Acting in line with your values
6. Recognizing you can't do everything
(repeat to better world)
[From The Better World Handbook: Small Changes That Make a Big Difference, quoted in Sleeping Naked is Green.]
Clearly I tend towards cynicism and need to make a conscious effort to break into the cycle of hope. I recently picked up Sleeping Naked is Green at the Kress Family Library during one of my weekend bike rides (I'll be okay if winter never comes again) and I like it because:
a) The author, Vanessa Farquharson, pays homage to No Impact Man .
b) She admits and expects failure at some levels during her year-long green experiment.
c) She starts off highly skeptical of this whole green movement, the flakish/cultish characteristics of its members and the reality of its impact.
Each day she takes one more environmentally friendly step, which makes it manageable. I appreciate that fact that I've already incorporated some of her steps into my life, like turning down the thermostat and pulling out more socks and blankets, switching to electronic bills/bank statements, unplugging electronics when not in use, recycling, cutting down on meat consumption, picking up litter...all little things that require no real sacrifice yet are a step in the right direction.