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Personal Action

November 14, 2007


There is a line of thought, that says, the things you do in your life have little effect on the world at large. In essence, it underestimates the power of small, consistent and applied actions which started some of the great social and political changes of history.

Recently, I went to a talk about the Australian government’s position on climate change or should I say how the climate policy of our country is being determined by energy,mining, aluminum and steel industries….don’t recall that these guys ever stood for public office….but there you have it. Guy Pearse, the speaker, made some great points and revelations about this self – called “Greenhouse Mafia” but in his summation he felt that personal actions could only go so far and technology (read ‘new’ business) would offer answers and not compromise our lifestyles.

Alternative energy sources to fossil fuels are going to get us somewhere but not without changing the way we use energy and consume all manner of things. Isn’t this the elephant in the room? The unmentionable? I didn’t ask him about it; others did and he looked at them blankly. At the time, I was thinking he’d never heard of Schmacher. It was business as usual; you know, sure stuff is happening to the environment and this government is complicit/inactive but we don’t want the economy to suffer or our lifestyles to suffer. I wondered, when living turned into a lifestyle and when did making informed choices and not supporting ways/means/policies/methods that are eviscerating the planet became not that effective? Sure, industry is a bigger polluter than households but where did the stuff in the houses come from? How did it get there? Isn’t there a link?

Certainly, the changes to the planet are happening and happening rapidly; it is overwhelming. Maybe anything we do is too little or too late but faced with the decision of relying on government/ business or oneself to implement change, I know which one I’d choose.

Here’s the thing, a life of consuming less is a life of connection and purpose….that’s what it returns to you. For countless unknown others and future generations, it shows consideration, thought and the very real difference that their lives will not be burdened by someone else’s wantonness. Now, these things don’t register on GDP but they do make you happier, less stressed and give you time to think and live and act. The power of these things should never be underestimated. What we do as individuals matters – why else would polling and market research exist? I think of India’s Salt Marches or Vincent Lingiari or my mother continuing to breastfeed on demand in the 1970’s, after being ridiculed as a backward peasant for doing so (hadn’t she heard of Nestle and 4 hour feeding schedules?) and I know, a life lived with conviction, consideration, thought and usefulness is the only way forward for me.

To realize this is a gift on my birthday!

5 Comments leave one →
  1. November 14, 2007 10:21 pm


    A very thoughtful and thought-provoking post. Nothing else to add, really, except that I agree with you.

    And happy birthday for yesterday.

    Regards, Gary

  2. kathy permalink
    November 14, 2007 10:31 pm

    Happy Birthday, Nada!

    I couldn’t agree more with every point you made. At the end of the day, we have to live with ourselves.

    I have been waiting for decades for the public consciousness to see the obscentity in accumulated wealth and the livestyles of the rich and famous, and I think it is finally happening, at the 11th hour. Whether it is soon enough, who knows? In the meantime, our own lives are more meaningful, connected and happier.

    There is a local group NCCAG who have been working on energy solutions for a while. Now they are in touch with a company who are prepared to put up 5 solar panels per house,with local builders doing the work, and if 50 households sign up, they will do it for $500! (and they collect the gov’t grant). They are insisting that each household who signs up also has a $50 energy audit. Solutions are arriving, and it is concerned individuals who are making it happen.

    I hope you have a lovely day. Kathy

  3. xltilde permalink
    November 14, 2007 11:29 pm

    Natividad felicitationes!
    Sorry, nothing useful to say, but Go You!
    For our bit we’re reinventing Gardens Against Hitler for the neighbours to see (some of them seem impressed!), and helping the local(ish) organic farmers to do their thing.

  4. November 15, 2007 2:55 pm

    Happiest birthday Nada.

    I vacillate between “what I do is nothing” and the power of many people doing at least something, and sometimes I just get overwhelmed, you know?

    But I do thing you are really on to something, especially about feeling connected. We can all feel a little bit better if it starts with us, and spreads…and spread it will if we keep talking about it, and showing how it can be done. So keep talking!


  5. November 15, 2007 8:23 pm

    Thank you for all the birthday wishes.

    Kathy – That solar project sounds good and if there is one thing Australia has heaps of it is sun; so it’s good that people can get the panels without the huge cost.

    Xtilde: Go you with the front yard garden. Updates at some point would be good.

    El: I swing wildly too but you are right when you say, that showing it can be done and people seeing that, works better than just talking and lectures.

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