“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
-Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Now is a time of great change. We face a new year, a new presidency, and a new world record: 2016 was the third year in a row that average global temperatures hit the hottest on record.
Several weeks ago on our roadtrip home from family Christmas, I announce, “Honey, I’m starting a blog.”
My husband, bless him, responds, "Why.”
“I need to do something to fight climate change.”
Eyebrows raise. “And that’s really the best thing you can do.”
I know there are many reasons not to share: fear of being judged a hypocrite, lack of writing practice, will anyone even read it, do I have the time, what if I run out of things to say (not likely). Doubt could easily take over.
But I refuse to let fear keep me from taking action. It is more than a "just a blog"; it's a starting point for accountability, connection, and inspiration.
I know that sharing what I'm learning along the way is the best that I can do.
So I present:
Thoughtfully Clean Field Notes: on becoming an everyday activist
Follow along for stories of our everyday blunders, challenges and successes as we strive to live thoughtfully in the midst of a consumer culture.
Posts will be organized in four categories:
- GLOW = Energy
- FLOW = Water
- GROW = Food
- SLOW = Transportation
Each category will also represent a more reflective, philosophical twist:
- GLOW = community outreach
- FLOW = how we work
- GROW = personal development
- SLOW = mindful living
Watch for two posts a week, a short and sweet 1-3 paragraphs, released Monday and Thursday.
Or get the monthly report by subscribing to the Thoughtfully Clean E-zine. The E-zine will combine all the prior month’s posts into a single email for you to enjoy at your leisure.
When I initially decided to start the series, I had planned to give tips and inspiration for living more thoughtfully in the little things. For example:
- How to minimize your household waste, like plastic produce bags (We all use 'em!)
- My favorite eco-friendly way to shave (for me AND my husband)
- Whether or not to flush your pee (an ongoing argument in our household)
And then one very special event took place last week: we gained a new presidential administration. With events like the reopening of negotiations for the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines, and with the Paris Climate Agreement on the line, suddenly my focus has shifted. Instead of searching first for the little things I can do in my personal life to create small change, I am refocusing on what little things can I do to join others to affect big change.
Of course, small lifestyle changes will continue to play an important role. I’m still excited to tell you my favorite eco-friendly way to shave, and my husband and I won’t suddenly agree on household best practices. But my point is the time has come to think beyond ourselves.
Climate change is real.
There’s no time like the present to address it.
The future of our families, businesses, homes, water security, even national security is at stake.
Most of you reading this will nod your head in agreement. I need you to stand by me.
If, however, you are raising your eyebrows and think I may have just gone off the deep end, consider this:
I never wanted to become a political activist.
I’m not experienced in advocacy.
I don’t live in a tiny house or grow all my own food or ride my bike all the time (although I adore my Prius.)
But I do constantly think about our role in climate change. I’ve seen its affects with my own eyes, from Virginia to Minnesota to Utah to Texas to Georgia to my current home right here in Ohio.
We don't have to agree on every little thing, but as Wendell Berry says it so well, "The Earth is what we all have in common."
There is a place for all of us to start looking at how we live, asking ourselves if our lifestyle matches our values. And when we find inconsistency, there is space to decide what changes are possible for us to sustain, without guilt, without fear, without judgment. Each of us are on our own journey, but we walk together.
I share to empower and inspire others.
I act for the future of our families. I invite you to join because we're stronger together. And we don't have to be perfect to start making a difference.
I, for one, am totally improvising here.
Join me as I reflect, in two posts a week, what it looks like to become an everyday activist.