Week sixteen has come and almost gone, and with it a defined change in season here in the West. The air is cold at night and I’ve made the subtle changes in our home to ready us for the drafty winter nights in our little shack. Warm woolens have been unpacked and blankets have been added to most corners of the house. Slippers have been washed and sun-dried, finding their homes once more next to beds and under chairs. We haven’t lit the fire yet, but I can feel it isn’t far away… we are already opting for warm curries and soups for meals shared on the back steps, catching the last of the days warm sun.
We spent last weekend in the bush with family and friends. I slept in a borrowed tent, on a borrowed mattress without any extras. We carried food in baskets and cooked on the open fire. I find it unbelievably liberating to go back to nature and live for a few days without any of the extra stuff that comes with urban life. No television and no hot showers, no distraction or work or internet. Just familiar faces and conversation, walks in the bush and meals that seem to last all day, food shared over a wooden table, under trees… scraps stolen by kookaburras and cold nights huddled around the fire nursing enamel cups full of heady red wine.
We talked a lot about consumer life over the weekend, my own younger brother being particularly anti-consumerism and a very loud voice for population control and conscious living. We come at the idea from very different directions, but really the goal is the same… to live more sustainably, to protect the planet that we live on and to safe guard the world for future generations.
When we think about the enormous political debate surrounding global warming and the incredible damage that consumer driven societies are doing to both cultural and environmental structures – it can easily get overwhelming. Some days I sit surrounded by research all alone and I get totally and completely overwhelmed by the sheer enormity of the problems at hand. It’s so easy to say, these problems are too big, what difference can I make? Why bother trying…
But the reality is, we can always make a difference. There is always a reason to keep trying. For the very reason if these social and environmental issues are important to you, in any way, life is always going to be more fullfilling if you are working towards the good than it will be if you are ignoring that voice in your head that says, just try… Just try.
We don’t have to do it all. You don’t have to give anything up or sacrifice anything greater than you truly want to. You don’t have to be a martyr or a chain-yourself-t0-a-tree activist to make a stand. You can make small, every day changes at home, you can speak up when you would have normally remained quiet, you can rock the boat, you can say NO, you can say YES, you can eat local, you can recycle – you CAN make a difference. We all can. It doesn’t have to be too hard or too scary or too different. You don’t need to be anyone other than who you are. You don’t need anything other than what you already have.
It’s so simple.
If you want to change your life and make positive changes in the world around you, you don’t have to do anything to prepare. You don’t have to do anything but start today with one different action.
Just start where you are.