When it comes to walking the green and sustainable walk, Greenfield really puts it all on the line.
We’ve written about the activism of Rob Greenfield a number of times over the last few years, covering his book, his tiny house, his
food waste dumpster diving bike tour, and more, and although those sustainable lifestyle challenges are inspiring, there’s nothing like putting it into context to really bring the message home to the rest of us. And now, in just 18 minutes, Greenfield lays out his journey to being the change he wants to see in the world, and makes the case that each of us can commit to making small changes everyday in order to be a positive force in the world.
Sometimes the green scene can attract some of the ‘holier than thou’ crowd, or people who want to throw the baby out with the bathwater, so to speak, by talking down to people who aren’t ready or willing to give up their car, or to go vegetarian, or to boycott every major exploitative corporation’s products. And that can be a bit of a tricky maze to navigate as a regular writer and reader of environmental issues and technology, because most of the time, what we’re advocating for is incremental change, achievable change, and practical change in our own lives, not a regime change or pie-in-the-sky change for everyone all at once from the top down. Yes, we absolutely need more sustainable and regenerative policies ‘baked in’ to all levels of society, from federal and state policies down to the local and community level, and we should absolutely be vocal (and vote!) about the issues, but we also need to take personal responsibility for our own daily habits and the (usually invisible to us) externalities of those habits.
For those who let the perfect be the enemy of the good, our individual actions aren’t really effective in bringing about change, and only by constructing an eco-utopia can we ever be “sustainable,” but for many of us, it has to start at home, and it has to start incrementally. Once we begin asking hard questions about our own needs, habits, and lifestyle, and start looking for less exploitative and more sustainable alternatives, and begin talking to others about our experiences, we begin to influence those around us to do the same, and the ripple effect of living greener can spread far beyond our own homes.
But it’s not necessary to undergo a massive lifestyle makeover all at once, even though that can sometimes seem like the message being put forth by activists like Greenfield, because it all starts with one small change, and then another, and a continuing commitment to making those changes. In fact, as he explains in the following TEDx talk, he didn’t have a major eco-epiphany, and in fact he perceived himself to be somewhat eco-conscious before he began his uber-green journey, but by making lists of small changes (and a few large ones) he could make, and then committing to them, he essentially transformed his whole perspective, which allowed him to radically reduce his environmental impact.
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