Wednesday, September 29, 2010

How Much is Enough? David Suzuki and the Next Step

Have you noticed a certain lull in the presence of "eco-ness" around you? I sure have. The "newest green trend" has definitely peaked in consumer markets from my very scientific observations (ahem) and I'm saddened to hear less discussion on the radio, less excitement from businesses and readers. 

It was speculated that environmental priorities would get put aside once the recession hit and it's becoming a bit concerning that it's not a temporary lull...

David Suzuki is doing his "Legacy" book tour and stopping in Halifax this Sunday. I'm extremely excited to have the opportunity to meet this Canadian Environmental Legend and listening to what many are considering his final stage of lectures. One aspect that is amazing about Dr. Suzuki is his seemingly never-ending energy and commitment to changing our world and to advocating for our Planet and the human race.

After decades of lobbying, lecturing, protesting and rallying David Suzuki has witnessed the obvious disconnect between the urgency of the climate/ecological mess we've gotten ourselves into and the acceptance and willingness to change our lifestyles in the population. 

A wonderful forward by Margaret Atwood eloquently sums up why he is so awe inspiring:

"It seems that David Suzuki has always been with us. He's lived in the tradition of the great prophets- those whose messages go unheeded because they tell us things we find uncomfortable. Time after time he's gone up the sacred mountain, listened to the voice, understood that it is what it is, and brought the hard but true words back down, only to find us cavorting around shiny gods of our own devising...
It's a wonder he never gave up on us. But he didn't: after each potato flung his way, he trudged up the mountain again, rearranged the words to make them more understandable, and gave us another try." 

(Foreword by Margaret Atwood, The Legacy, An Elder's Vision For Our Sustainable Future by David Suzuki, 2010).

What I find so inspiring, is that no matter the fact that being "doom and gloom" is considered uncool, non-popular at this time, David Suzuki hasn't given up on us. Although I agree that a balance must be given, I think we've dallied quite long enough on the comfortable middle steps without really *seeing* the urgent changes we all need to make for our children and for our planet.

What are your next steps on sustainable choices? What beyond changing your light bulbs, using reusable bags or recycling your plastic have you taken?

Some next steps for those "middle" people:
- instead of recycling plastic, purchase items that have no-plastic packaging. 
- Let the manager of your local grocery store know that you want broccoli that isn't wrapped in plastic.
- stop driving your car. Seriously look into investing in non-exhaust carbon inducing transportation- such as bicycling, walking or at least public transit.
- Stop buying new things. It's time we reduce our consumption and relish in what we do have. 
- Enjoy the moment. Spend time away from your television, computer etc and communicate with family and friends. Take a walk outside, your local park or have a games night with friends.
- Use your power as a voter to let your government know that your planet matters to you. Write a letter, give them a call and vote for representatives that have the environment as their priority. And let them know that this is why you're voting for them.
- Inform businesses why you're not purchasing products from their company anymore. Whether it's because of their packaging policies, lack of local or fair trade labour or wasteful energy uses.

What are some other next steps we can take together?


  1. We moved countries and bought a farm to become more sustainable.

    My children aren't yet old enough to cycle to school, but we're working on it! Oil is really the bane of our sustainability efforts - we strive to become oil-free, but it is there at every corner, doing us in :-( But we're doing our best to reduce driving,eat locally and seasonally, and grow as much as we can for our own needs and to share.

    It's a hard road, to become more sustainable, but also incredibly rewarding. I have hopes that we'll get to a point one day when we look back and sigh, saying, "Look at where we are. We climbed this mountain. And it only took baby steps, one at a time, to do it!"

  2. my favorite greenwashing as of late? the new term 'corn sugar' that the corn syrup creeps are now using to try to con folks, and how soda commercials brag about using pure sugar now to appear 'natural'. not to mention the windex folks bragging about their cow-poo energy use while creating toxic window cleaners. ugh!

    for those driving (i don't own a car and don't regret getting rid of it for a minute), i would recommend make every sunday (or pick another day in the week) a car-free day. every single person can do this, i don't care what they say- and yes sometimes this means you have to (gasp!) change your habits (gasp! gasp!).

    for me, having a much bigger garden this year has been interesting - i do so much less grocery shopping now because i've canned, preserved, frozen, etc., and buy from the bulk aisles, that sometimes i miss the 'zen' of roaming the aisles (silly huh!). so i have to be careful of the pretty natural foods in the deli that come in plastic containers (they won't accept your own containers, bummmmmmer).

    leanne - i'm a bit confused, how does moving countries make one more sustainable? not being sarcastic, just not understanding how that would be a way to get green.


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