Every month, Ash and I are going to focus on one "eco-friendly" book for Leif Reads. To see what this feature is all about, visit this page.
Today's the last Leif Reads post for this month and hence the last post about Eaarth. For a quick recap, here's what we talked about this month. Ash started off with an introduction to this book's author, Bill McKibben, and the organization he founded - 350.org. Next, I mentioned two issues that we are beginning to face - the melting Arctic and disappearing islands. Last week, Ash covered an issue that has been especially bothering us for the last two years - the heavy snowfalls and how it is increasing proof of global warming.
This week, I want to graze through what Bill McKibben suggests should be our primary approach to the terrible changes around us. It's pretty clear we need to go through some overhauls. Recycling, driving hybrids, saving energy are all tactics we've adopted in the past. But we need to do more, and that starts with commitment.
For years, we have all functioned under the operative word called growth. We've gone from small communities to big cities, from railroad tracks to massive well-connected highway systems, from pocket watches to iPads, from marble games to online multiplayer games, from a stroll to a blazing dizzying run! Everything we've done proceeded in one direction - Forward, Progress, Growth, Expansion. Global Warming, Pollution, Extinction, Eaarth.
And that's just one part of the earth - the richer world. The rest of the world is playing catch-up. They want to be where the rich world is now. And after all, why not? Don't they deserve all the luxuries too? They do. Sure. I would love to see the world on par in all issues. But, the jaunt of half the world in that direction is what has brought about so much disruption around us. If the rest of the world catches up, there's probably going to be too much destruction to even speak of.
Imagine a world where everyone slows down. Where we live the suburban life. Until now, the whole focus had been on advance. Now it should be on maintenance. The yesteryears were the time of youth - of experimentation and progress. The upcoming years should be those of retirement and settling down. That's never easy. I'll even be the first to admit that I can't imagine "stagnation". Progress is something we are all so used to. And yet, if we change our definition of progress or growth, it wouldn't be too hard. Why should progress mean more new and advanced things? Why not make it mean a better way of living? Theoretically, that is what progress means. An attempt to better the life you have now. It's what we focus on that should change.
It's a welcome proposition, but it's probably the hardest. Because it involves changing years of conditioning. And that's probably why many people have trouble with living the green life. Everyone has good intentions. Few succeed, because it means changing so much about the life you've lived so far. It means learning to downsize, specialize and share - like one country makes the meat, one country grows wheat, a third country supplies iron, and so on. Bill even suggests that we set aside our individualistic life and embrace the community, go to farmers market, trade gossips.