Climate change deniers aside, we can all agree that humans are having an impact on the world, in some way or another. But as soon as you try to unravel the various ways in which we are damaging the planet, it quickly becomes clear that it is a huge, complex web of problems. Greenhouses gases are not just a result of using cars too much, or leaving your lights on, or eating a lot of beef. There isn’t one single action that is the answer to saving the world.
We’ve been recently prompted to consider the way we put out our message, and these are some of the questions we are asking ourselves. Is it too simplistic to suggest you Doers and Pledgers out there could try eating seasonal food or take shorter showers? Do we downplay the seriousness of the issues at hand? Or is it quite the opposite – do we weigh heavily on negatives and create a sense of guilt over inaction?
Dealing with such a broad subject as “sustainability” takes a great deal of careful thought, there’s no doubt about that. But here’s the thing – a serious and highly complex problem can often seem too serious, too complex, to ever be overcome. Encouraging simple actions does not mean to say that the problem itself is simple, but to empower people to make a contribution, no matter how small that contribution is, and to turn making change into an achievable thing.
There are many different ways to make our lives more sustainable, and we are constantly working on our list of DoActions. It’s an inexhaustible task. But thinking of new ideas, discussing new ways to do things, is a great thing. We don’t want people to feel as though big issues are being under-represented, and we don’t want our Pledgers to feel guilty about what they aren’t able to accomplish.
Deciding to actually do something – anything – to help a huge problem can be incredibly daunting. So many of the big drivers of global warming can seem like these faceless, widespread forces, and it is easy to feel powerless.
So we have this: focus on what you can actually do. Pledge to your friends, your co-workers, your family – have fun with it, make it personal to you. Pick something you think you might like, or might want to try for a while, something that fits with you. And then if you’re, say, puffing up the stairs at your office for two months, or trying to cobble together a handmade birthday present for your mum, and somebody asks you what you’re doing, you have something concrete to say – “I am doing this.” And, maybe sometimes – “I am doing this. Do you want to join in?”
(Image: Orange Twist Cards)