19 May 2010

New Direction

This blog started as an assignment for my rhetoric class. (That is the reason for the previous posts.) Although the class is over, I would still like to make use of the blog. I have decided to make it a resource for people who want to lead more environmentally friendly lives.

I think one of the biggest steps to becoming more environmentally friendly is empowering yourself. Rather than waiting for elected officials to make policy or being held hostage by corporations and the need to consume, people can gain a greater sense of control over their lives and help the planet in the process.

A key point to understand is that everything we do sends a message. Also, the things we buy or don't buy and the resources we use or don't use have power. The companies providing that stuff generate their influence in part based on whether we use their goods. In spending money on anything, we make a statement and we allow those who take our money to make statements with it. So when it seems like corporations have greater influence than the general public, we must ask whether we are enabling such a system to take shape. The nice thing is that our role in the system also holds the possibility that we might return the power to ourselves. To benefit from this potential, we must become more active in our role.

Voting in each election is great. (That's how to be an active member of a democracy.) However, whether we know it or not, we vote in another system--the economic system. This voting occurs with almost every decision we make. Everything we do or want to do (and this includes eating) involves the use of resources and energy; so by making a decision to go somewhere or buy or consume something, we cast a vote.

Chopping away at corporate influence and helping the environment both involve (1) realizing the extent of the resources used to produce or move something; (2) minimizing our need for those resources; and (3) being more purposeful when we have to consume resources.

This isn't easy. Just like being active members of democracy, being active voters in the economic system requires us to inform ourselves and make tough decisions. However, the benefits are nonpartisan. After all, everyone seeks greater control over her or his life, and because environmental problems reach beyond borders, we all benefit from a healthy planet.

From this post onward, I will try to make being an active member of the economic system and the planet's environmental system easier. I will post information about environmental issues, good products, and how to take back a little of our power. Starting small helps, and before you know it, the active role becomes second nature.

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