A New Vision of Sustainability: To Live Satisfactorily?

My attitude and understanding of sustainable living have shifted drastically since I began this project, in a way that could only be provided by a direct experience.  Ideology clashes with reality, and in the heat of that conflict, a new identity may be forged.

The experts are continually skeptical whether what I am doing indeed constitutes 100% environmental sustainability.  Alex, executive editor at WorldChanging.com, noted that I was not taking into consideration “ecological impacts living in the U.S. creates but over which [I] have no control,” such as road pavings and the war in Iraq.  Without some kind of “offsetting measure,” I am thereby failing to meet 100% sustainability.

I am not so much concerned with the question, “Am I living 100% sustainably?” anymore, as I am with “Are my efforts making a difference?”   I have no reliable way to measure the former.  On the other hand, the latter proposition can have definitive results.

Last night, I gave my dad a call for Father’s Day.  He lives in Plant City, Florida and currently commutes to work in Tampa.  He told me he was applying for a full-time job that is located only five minutes from where he lives.  To this, I commented:

Caroline: “That’ll sure save you a lot on gas.  It’s getting way up there nowadays.”

Dad: “In fact, this place is so close, I was even thinking about getting a bike, and biking to work.

Caroline: “Really?  But it’s so hot down there, how could you stand it?”

Dad: “I read your blog about bicycling around the city, and I got so jealous.  It sounds like a lot of fun.  I think I’d really like to do that.

Of course, I hope that such only signals broader success.  That with the release of the Sust Enable webseries starting in August, many people will turn onto ideas for more sustainable (how’s that?) lifestyle modifications that are easily adoptable and adaptable to individual needs.  

One must remember that I am doing this with no funding (minus the film’s expenses), no organizational support… nothing but an idea.  I may not be responsible for revolutionizing any ideas about living sustainably, but Sust Enable will consolidate practical, current knowledge, and present it in the form of easily digestible screen media.  I think the latter aspect is valuable, because much of the populace does not read blogs, yet are frequently exposed to television shows and internet videos.  I hope to enrich this market for media with educational, intelligent content.  I also hope to continue to share my personal experiences here.

photo credit: public domain image on Wiki Commons

  1. Terry Garrett

    I know just what this person is feeling, having friends who don’t “get it” from your past coming in to contact with “the new you.” A lot of what happens is seeing your friends through the eyes of John Lennon in “Watching the Wheels.”
    In our household we have been practicing TECHNOLOGY TIME-OUT one day a month for a couple of years. We use no technology in our home for a day, and outside use only the technology offered to the masses. ‘Camping out at home’ is the way it first seemed, but as time went on we realised we were learning simple truths that brought us back closer to the real world. Through our other practices to become more sustainable we have been able to cut our ecological footprint massively, but just being in civilization creates an inability to become truely sustainable. The two cannot be mixed.
    Which came first? Civilization or the Wilderness? Civilization, before that there was only Home.

  2. David Zetland

    Alex with his ” Without some kind of “offsetting measure,” I am thereby failing to meet 100% sustainability.”, should go live in a tree and think about stuff for awhile. You are precisely right in your definition of 100% sustainable (forget the carbon offset scams!)

    I guess you can extend your 100% lifestyle to the lifestyle of OTHERS through voting our roads and wars, but that would make you into a bit of command and control freak, which contradicts the “step lightly” philosophy.

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