Monthly Archives: March 2010
Simply thinking about action is the first step to accomplishing something. The reason people often fail to follow through is because they become intimidated by that action. The idea is harmless; manifesting that idea involves work.
First, scale down the desired impact of the goal. Don’t think that if you can’t make something huge happen right away, it’s not worth it. This destructive mindset borders on cynicism and doubt. Remember that little changes make big changes happen… eventually.
Dreamers are rarely apathetic. For example, a recent economics course inspired a friend to research solutions for the fuel dilemma in the United States. He was inspired, but he wasn’t sure what he could accomplish on his own.
How about raising local awareness for fuel conservation? Raising awareness is one of the most powerful impacts people can have on a local level. And while global solutions are necessary, our own communities have the potential to catalyze global action. Some of the most successful global movements were first visualized by an individual or small group of like-minded people.
The first step is communication. Our neighbors and, eventually, our governments must notice us and our concerns.
Five Tools to Get Started:
1. Mailing Lists
Subscribing to mailing lists is an easy way to stay informed about topics of interest. Search the internet for organizations that share the same concerns. They will ask for aid and provide you with the resources you need to contribute to their causes.
Signing and distributing petitions are effective ways to spread awareness about a topic and to get people in power to notice local efforts. After all, there is power in numbers. The more aware people become about an issue, the more likely you are to recruit more activists. The more support you gain, the closer you become to achieving your goals.
3. Social and Professional Networks
Networking is a valuable way to stay informed and meet like-minded individuals. Through networking, you stand to gain fresh perspectives and helpful advice.
After you have associated yourself with established organizations, your memberships will prove extremely useful. Attend local events and join clubs in your community. Once people get to know you, they’ll be more likely to trust your judgment and follow your lead.
Sometimes, money matters most. Fundraising does three things for your campaign at once: It gets you noticed, raises awareness of your cause, and raises money that you can use to further develop your efforts. Have a solid plan for the money you raise; people will be more likely to donate if they are confident in your cause.
Stay motivated. It only takes one good idea to develop a movement with global impact.
© Alexis Jenny, 2011.
The New Decade’s Population, Consumption, and Impacts: A Review of National Geographic’s “State of the Earth 2010”
There are 6.8 billion people on this planet, and its been said that we consume far more than we have available. Knowledge is rarely an issue in the United States. Most Americans have easy access to information and opportunities to join global efforts to conserve resources. So where do we stand?
According to National Geographic’s latest collector’s edition, EarthPulse 2010, Americans consume far more of Earth’s resources than the British, South Africans, Argentines, Costa Ricans, and Indians. If each of these cultures consumed like Americans, we’d require more than five Earths to sustain us. In contrast, if we all consumed similarly to Indians, we’d only need a fraction of the Earth to keep us all alive and thriving. Obviously, the U.S. is a problem. Americans contribute the most damage to human consumption numbers, which ranks in at about an Earth and a half when all 6.8 billion people are included. Fortunately, Americans account for only a small fraction of the number of humans on Earth.
Humans do not exactly inhabit Earth’s space evenly. According to the article, “Crowding Our Planet,” our numbers expand by about 200,000 people each day. Countries with high numbers are beginning to sustain themselves, while developing countries are exploding in population. But we’re all trying to live green, right?
The article, “Straining Our Resources,” pinpoints some of our problem areas. For example, only 10 percent of large saltwater fish remain in the wild. About one-fourth of Earth’s fertile soil has been abused. Despite our efforts, greenhouse gases have increased far quicker than expected. Perhaps the few Hybrid cars on the market aren’t doing the trick.
The government has tried to solve the issue of high-priced Hybrids in the U.S. by implementing tax cuts for their purchases. This is great for people who can afford the initial investment, but the majority won’t purchase electric or Hybrid cars until they are cost-efficient. Money has a lot to do with why we can’t all live as green as we should. Next time you’re at the grocery store, compare prices of organic produce with that of chemically grown produce. Check out the “Natural” section’s prices versus the prices of products throughout the rest of the store. There is a reason organic products are more expensive: it costs more to produce them. Likewise, it’s much cheaper to buy a carton of eggs from chickens stacked in cages than free-range chickens. Can you afford to buy the product that’s better for you and for the planet? Sometimes the answer is no. We might buy the reusable tote bags, donate to The Nature Conservatory, recycle, turn our lights our for Earth Hour… but ultimately our governments need to step up and find global solutions to much of these problems in order to make a bigger difference. And these days, the Earth could use a bigger difference.
This is not to say that our efforts as individuals are insufficient. Human history demonstrates that small progress leads to great changes. So, this Saturday remember to turn your lights out for one hour beginning at 8:30pm and don’t hesitate to purchase your very own carbon offset.
I recommend reading National Geographic’s “State of the Earth” edition for two reasons: One, for its vast amount of useful information and insight into the other cultures that share the planet with us, and two, to inspire you to make some further assessments. This information is critical to the survival of our species and the planet. Although I am a wildlife enthusiast and a nature lover, this edition should appeal to even the most people-centered individuals. Protecting and conserving the health of the Earth benefits humans just as much as it benefits every other creature in the world.
To illustrate this, check out the section on irrigation. Water supply, specifically, is as essential to our agriculture as it is to the survival of all plant and animal life. Americans often take access to safe water for granted, but water is, in fact, a very limited resource. More than a billion people don’t have the luxury of drinking safe water. And water is not just used for farming and drinking and washing. Most industrial and electrical generation rely heavily on water. Furthermore, we have polluted our air so much that we can no longer rely on precipitation to refresh our water supply.
It’s not all bad news, of course. Humans are beginning the journey toward less harmful footprints, and population numbers in developed areas like Japan and Korea are beginning to stabilize. Globalization and migration have offered new opportunities. One of which, of course, is knowledge.
© Alexis Jenny, 2011.
- Rebuilding Our Planet Earth (socyberty.com)
- Does Helping the Planet Hurt the Poor? (online.wsj.com)
- National Geographic’s ’7 billion’ goes viral, highlights global issues (sociable.co)
Our dogs entertain us. Here, SoCo and Skyy tread snow in our backyard.
Skyy, the Pit mix, is actually about 60 lbs of dog despite how the snow dwarfs her. SoCo smiles.
This is our street, in the most pristine condition. Our Ranger is holding more snow than it weighs. When I finished dusting, no, heaving, the snow off the hood, it suddenly appeared miniaturized. But after hours of clearing the driveway, the day proved to be quite spectacular, and at the very least, lots of fun.
All photos © Alexis Jenny, 2010-2011.