My New Year’s Resolution (see here) may sound ambitious. Changing the world seems like a little too much to bite off. Impossible, actually.
So I start with myself. What can I do?
I don’t believe anyone in Gaza has a dryer. In the middle of winter, we hang our clothes on the line either inside the apartment or on the balcony. Every American should be doing the same. Stanford University says so.
- Join others who care about changing our direction, there are many worthwhile groups. The important thing is that none of us are alone in this struggle. Personally, I recommend Bill McKibben’s grassroots organization that has gone viral around the globe …. it’s called 350.org.
- Spend my $$ where it makes the most difference. Consumers can make a huge difference in shifting the marketplace in the right direction just by being very thoughtful where we spend our money. This requires time and research. My telephone company is one very good example. CREDO is a socially-responsible company that reinvests its earnings in organizations that I believe are changing the world.
- Walk more, drive less. Yes, it may be easier for some people to do than others. We certainly have not been building walkable communities for the past 50-60 years in the USA.
I deliberately moved to a neighborhood in 1994 which would allow me to give up my car, even in Albuquerque, New Mexico. I have been carfree for 15 years. I’m probably in better health too. I walk or ride my bicycle to the grocery store and regularly ride the bus. And I continue to bitch at city leaders who prefer to spend MILLIONS on enlarging a highway interchange.
In February 2012, I invited Charles Marohn from Strong Towns to speak to Albuquerque city leaders because he has great ideas to help build more walkable communities.
- Shop second-hand and local. Wendell Berry explains it best.
So far as I can see, the idea of a local economy rests upon only two principles: neighborhood and subsistence. In a viable neighborhood, neighbors ask themselves what they can do or provide for one another, and they find answers that they and their place can afford. This, and nothing else, is the practice of neighborhood. This practice must be, in part, charitable, but it must also be economic, and the economic part must be equitable; there is a significant charity in just prices.
- Ditch the Chamber of Commerce. The most regressive organization in the United States today (besides the fossil fuel industry) is the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Check to see if there is a Green Chamber in the community, like in Albuquerque, and support it if you can.
- Audit energy use in the house. In my old house (an adobe built in the 1890s) it has been a challenge. Over the past 10-12 years I have installed new windows, insulated the attic, and fixed other areas where energy was leaking. My next goal is to install solar panels. I want to be energy independent as much as possible. There are many energy audit checklists online, but don’t do the audit by yourself. That’s no fun.
- Raise chickens. I started with five chicks in 2011, but one wandered off. My learning curve was very high that first year. Ha! My friend built the coop, and I collected 4 eggs every morning, like clockwork. My neighbors love it!
- Fix, repair and mend. Our disposable culture must end. I have to confess I was probably one of the biggest sinners in this regard. It was much easier to buy something new than to take the time to repair it. Hopefully, I have mended my ways.
Why are these ideas relevant to Gaza and the subject of this blog?
Because Americans and Palestinians and Israelis and everyone else share a single planet. There’s no “new” planet waiting in the wings when we mess this one up. Our consumption and bad habits in the USA directly impact my friends in Gaza. We need to clean up our act . . . quickly . . . if we want to live within the doughnut, my New Year’s Resolution.