Saturday, December 24, 2011

The Quest to Eco-Living and Reducing your Carbon Footprint

This post is inspired from a comment a reader left on reducing your carbon footprint. Respectfully, I acknowledge as do most people who follow this community that we (collectively) can and should do a better job with identifying ways to reduce the use of the earths valuable resources. However, there is a huge disconnect with living that way effectively and applying that concept into our lives.

For all intents and purposes the Eco-living movement is not geared toward the masses of people that can truly benefit from this lifestyle. In my opinion and excuse me if I offend anyone; this lifestyle is geared toward wealthy individuals who have the luxury of intertwining extremely expensive products into their way of life. At the end of the day people who enjoy the comforts that western societies have to offer will not succumb to a lifestyle that cost to much and which impedes on their current way of living.

Over the past few years that I have blogged, I have come across many, many people from all different walks of life and they have shared their experiences with me on how to be more sustainable. I have witnessed the evolution of some folks who transfer from corporate jobs and walk away from high profile educations to live and play in the dirt. Some folks who I have also come to admire never even had a choice. They simply are. I on the other hand like many people have a choice. I chose to attempt to  live a more sustainable life because I believe it's in the best interest for my life as a whole and my family. With that being said.... I have also come to realize why most people don't adopt my viewpoint and it's because, this lifestyle is expensive. Extremely Expensive!! Normal folk cannot purchase products and equipment that have been created to reduce carbon footprints and because of this I believe although the intentions started off in the right place the movement grew legs and ran someplace else. Because if we were really serious about reducing our carbon footprint we would start with helping people of little means be able to live life more cheaply so that they have more spending power which will enable them to have a higher quality of life.

So my gripe.... is with, the one person at a time methodology. To me it is a serious waste of time. In order to have an impact, communities need to be mobilized and different ways of thinking need to be orchestrated. There are individuals who believe in this whole hearted and are making real change. But the discussion has only begun between the haves and the have nots. In my perfect world I want to see sustainability inculcated into every lifestyles because its efficient and cheap. Not because it's an ideal way of living. I believe the catalyst for a true mindset of change is when low income communities can start contributing to their energy needs because energy is sustainable and cheap. For now the Eco-living movement does not support those who need it most. I hope with further discussion and much more debate it moves in that direction.


becky3086 said...

I totally agree. I started a post on my forum that was about "if you won the lottery would you still be self sufficient" everyone's answer was "yes" they would be more self sufficient because they could afford the things they would need to be that way.
The problem with bringing this type of living to some low income people is that the people themselves have to want it so you have to make it interesting to them.
I work at a Boys and Girls Club here. We are located in the projects. We have started a few projects this year like recycling our trash. We have six bins right in the little lobby where the parents see them every day and can add to them if they want. We staff bring in our cardboard, plastic and newspaper to add to it.
We also have had 6 big raised bed gardens built beside the club where the children have planted turnips (a green most everyone here loves).
We are hoping to teach by doing, not only our children but the community around us.
As for myself, I live this way because I like it. I make the things that are cheaper for me to make myself. I can't afford the big things like solar power but I do what I can.

ATW said...

Becky... You raise some interessting points!! The challenge is getting people to realize that they have to adopt this attitude of living. Its a struggle. Children are so keen to learning new things, but at the end of the day, they have to go home and often its to places that are saturated with a lot of negativity. I speak from experience. Nevertheless, programs like yours are definetly the step in the right direction. Because at least these children have something to take with them as they get older whereas their parents (im assuming) didnt have the oppurtunity. Thanx for your comment.