Posts Tagged ‘climate change solutions’

When I wrote about the opportunity to align desired green behaviors with individual needs and wants, this is what I had in mind:

Different people will rank these needs and wants differently. Using myself as an example, the primary motivators for me to bike more, are fun and convenience. If I was in a lower-socio-economic group, where making ends meet was the primary issue, I would probably pick money. If I was a mother of young children, the bonding potential would work best. Etc. 

Seems like a no brainer to me! The question is how come so few green marketers and environmental communicators think along those lines? The last time I read something that made really sense to me, was in Steve Bishop’s article, “Don’t Bother With the Green Consumer“. He uses a bike example as well! 🙂 (I also refer to Steve’s article in a recent post I wrote for the Huffington Post)

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I have ceased to be so hung up on people changing their behaviors. No, rather, I am aiming for much lower. Attitudes will do. Because I believe most of us cannot go at it alone, and need instead the support and infrastructures from high up. What people can, and should do however, is recognize right initiatives when they are presented to them, and endorse them.

Then comes the challenge of how to change popular attitudes in the face of flagrant manipulations from special fossil fuel interests, as in behind the scenes lobbying, and massive progaganda. In climate matters, Chevron, and Exxon hold the cards, not politicians. The best way to stop this, is through the deliberate exposure of Big Oil‘s dirty tricks in the media, and through counter-lobbying. Climate naives are too easy of a prey.

Another group worth paying attention to, are the powers in charge of our country. That select group of Senators, Congress people, government executives, and Supreme judges need to be educated about their new responsibilities in the face of climate change and other global world resources crisis. Intelligence and power are not immune to misinformation and unconsciousness. Counter-lobbying agents and climate ethicists have their work cut out.

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Want to bike or drive?‘” Prad was testing my green-ness once more. For a moment, I wavered. The easy way with the car tempting me. And the pressure to get to the gym quick, so that I could get back to my day of work. “It won’t take us much more time. And it’s sixty four degrees outside.” Prad was making a convincing argument. Plus the feeling from Robert Redford‘s talk the night before was still fresh. “ok, let’s bike!“.

That was two days ago. Since then, I have noticed I have been using my bike more and more, did not even drive once yesterday. And today, I returned to the gym, alone this time, and on my bike. It felt good . . . I am starting to look at the people in their cars differently. I am joining the bike folks. I am feeling a shift. Not unlike what happened with shopping a few months ago.

One year of sustained attention and conversations with people like you, and a final nudge from Robert Redford, that’s what it took.

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Day 29 of Daily Footprint Project. A milestone in my ‘trying to be green‘ trajectory. I was feeling good. My heart light for a change, and ready to make room for new experiences. ‘How about biking to the gym?‘ I asked Prad. It’s been months already, since Prad started biking around town. Now, I wanted to join him.

I peaked outside. The sun was there, and the air was just right. Helmet, gloves, backpack, bike lock, jacket. I felt the excitement of a five year old on her first bike adventure. And off, we went. Three miles along quiet streets. The pleasure of making up our route, and playing hide and seek with traffic. ‘Pervenche‘ was being a good bike, no fuss, and easy on my legs. I arrived at the gym, with the exhilaration of someone who had just accomplished a major feat. Mostly, I was feeling so proud. I had overcome my resistance to biking, and entered the select crowd of town bikers, and serious greenies.

As I look back on my days of leaving ‘Pervenche‘ out sitting on our porch, I realize the hardest thing was making the leap, of deciding to go, just once. I have written before about inertia. How to conquer this incredible force is of utmost importance to the challenge of getting people to green their behaviors. Here are ten things that helped me with ‘Pervenche‘:

  1. Having a ‘contract’ with a supportive community, in this case the people who read and comment on La Marguerite. Also, Prad my husband and Green Guru in residence.
  2. Not doing it alone. Going with Prad was a great incentive.
  3. Seizing the moment. Going when the heart and mind both coalesce to welcome this new experience
  4. Not getting discouraged, and chastising oneself, for being bad.
  5. Keep talking to your community about your ongoing struggles
  6. Visualize the personal benefits of your new behavior, here the pleasure of biking with Prad
  7. Make that small first step, whatever that means. Grabbing the helmet was 99% of the battle
  8. Build your new behavior into your existing routine. Biking to the gym made perfect sense, and enhanced my exercise regimen.
  9. Do not take on another new behavior until you have established this one.
  10. Repeat this mantra to yourself: ‘Just do it!

10 Tricks to Get You Going Green

I tell Prad I am just finishing writing an article about our bike adventure yesterday. Words from the mouth of Green Guru:

The bike adventure has to continue . . .


Daily Footprint Project
Daily Log
Day #29

flush toilet 2
wash face 2
brush teeth 2
wash hands 4
shower at pool 2
wash fruit
rinse dishes
wash salad

electric toothbrush 4’
microwave tea 2’
microwave milk 2’
laptop on half day
microwave oatmeal 4’
microwave soup  3’
cook crepes on stove 15’

organic milk
organic persimmons 1
organic apples 2
organic chocolate
takeout barley soup from Whole Foods
whole wheat bread
sandwich with veggies and leftover chicken
gas water with orange juice
organic apple
crepes with organic milk
Italian prosciutto
organic salad
organic eggs
Swiss cheese

toilet paper
soup carton
3 newspaper plastic wrappers

2 papers

drive car back from school (girls needed it to transport supplies for the dance) 2 miles

Non food shopping

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One hundred ten minutes. For one hundred ten minutes, I was transported into gypsy magic, thanks to Gypsy Caravan, the new movie about the Roman people. So moved I was by their spirit, that I came out of the movie wanting to sing, and dance, and share the joy I felt from them.

And I was made conscious of what is cruelly missing in our American culture. It’s called soul, and passion. The majority of us lead empty lives, fed by an orgy of mediocrity. Britney Spears has become our tragic heroin, the malls are our new congregations, and the young people’s favorite past time is to ‘hang out’. In 1933, C. G. Jung wrote the book, ‘Modern Man in Search of a Soul‘. I believe most of us are searching indeed, although we may not necessarily know it. We are searching when we make ritualistic shopping trips. We are searching when we drink ourselves into oblivion. We are searching when we starve ourselves to death. We are searching when we can’t stop wanting bigger houses, and more cars. We are searching when we can’t stop taking in more and more food. We are searching when we sit for hours at end in front of the TV or video games.

In her post, ‘A radical rethink of our lifestyles is required to save the planet‘, Anja Merret, worries about what she sees as almost unsolvable, ‘the main problem will be to persuade the ordinary folk like you and me living with all mod cons in the developed world, to radically re-assess our lifestyles and go back to very very basic living. Can you see that happening?‘. Anja, I think I have an answer for you. Not an easy one, but an answer nevertheless.

I already touched upon it in ‘The King of Buthan‘. Tonight, the gypsies reminded me. Anja deals with the substractive part of the climate crisis solution. She is right to think that it is in our human nature to not want to give back some of what we have become entitled to. My big house, my three cars, all my things, my American way of life, I want it. I think I want it. Until I find something even better, that will truly satisfy me. That’s where the gypsies come in. Although very poor, by American standards, the gypsies are in reality very rich. Their lives are filled with community, soul, passion, nature, all the important stuff. If we start reintroducing some of that gypsy spirit into our lives, it won’t be so hard to give up the rest. We won’t even want it, anymore.

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