Welcome to Green Groundswell home of The Unlikely Environmentalist. This is my first venture into the blogosphere and I’m not what you would consider very “geeky” so I’ll be learning as I go.
I lived most of my life in Southern California enjoying the beaches, mountains, gardens, parks, trees, flowers, and birds of this beautiful state by walking, hiking, camping, and the occasional backpacking trip.
My spouse and I raised our children in a single-family house with lovely green lawns (front and back) and commuted to our respective jobs in our single-passenger cars. We were “good” American consumers and acquired the “all important stuff”— a house, cars, appliances, furniture, clothes, toys, computers, and decorations for every holiday…you name it. We enjoyed raising our children, worked at our jobs, and tried to stay out of credit card debt.
In those days, I didn’t think a lot about how much water and other resources it took for even just a single family like ours to live the American dream in what is basically a desert. We bought healthy food and not so healthy food-like products at the grocery market, but I didn’t spend much time thinking about what chemicals were used to grow or manufacture it, where it came from, or how far it had traveled. Some of my jobs required visiting clients and I virtually lived in my car during the week. I thought about what a drag traffic jams were but not so much about what was causing them and how many resources were used to produce and operate a car, or how harmful it was to people and the earth.
So as you can see, I’m an unlikely candidate to become an environmentalist. It did not happen overnight and was the result of a lot of different things that occurred over time. A few that come to mind are:
- Several years ago, we moved to the California Central Coast and live surrounded by a Monterey Pine forest. Living this close to nature made me mindful of the environment its beauty and interrelatedness.
- At my former employer, our client embarked upon a substantial green building program so I had an opportunity to be exposed to green building practices and took every opportunity to learn more.
- A life-long reader, I began reading whatever I could get my hands on through our local library system about the environment, green building, sustainable business, the food industry, and other related topics.
That did it. I knew I had to change—we all have to change.
I am not a scientist or engineer or politician or company president. I am one person living on this amazing planet. I want to do my part.
Sometimes when faced with a seemingly insurmountable issue, we feel overwhelmed. What can we possibly do to make a positive impact on such a huge problem? We may feel powerless and scared. We freeze like a deer in the headlights and do nothing.
It would be easy for me to say to myself, “there isn’t anything I can do for the planet and its people”. But that’s not true. There are things I can do; they may be small or silly, and sometimes wrong or ineffective, nevertheless I am doing them. One thing is starting this blog to encourage dialogue, sharing of ideas, and personal action.
I have read articles and heard interviews that say an individual cannot make a difference. I disagree. Sure, we need to do the huge and difficult things, but individual action can have a big impact too. After all, it is individuals who make up families, communities, corporations, and governments. If millions of individuals make a small positive change, it can produce an ever increasing impact and result in a big change.
“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”
—Lao-tzu (Chinese Philosopher)
This is my message and my quest.