Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The Times They Are A Changin'

I used to have a dream of going completely off grid and living off the energy from the sun, the earth, and my own body, but that seems like a far off dream (but not totally gone). Maggie and I are trying our hardest to live more simply. We have made a point of spending money on only those things we need. Of course "need" is a relative term. I need good books, food, art, music, movies, and beer! But there are ways to get those things for free or discounted. The library, free days at museums, the garden, coupons, etc... Maybe some day we will live here --

I did find this site, Off Grid--life unplugged, that I enjoy. There are hundreds of sites on living simply. I know if you walk down Michigan Avenue it is hard to believe, but there really is a movement happening. You can call it whatever, green, living simply, slow food, whole earth, Gaia, whatever, but people seem to be changing slowly. Maybe we are just scared of dependency on Mid-East oil or we feel something is missing in our lives, whatever the reasons it feels like something is happening. I hope so. It needs to happen for MANY reasons. We need to take responsibility for our actions. Where does our food come from? Our fuel? Electricity? Who profits from our purchases? Why can't we recycle Starbucks cups? Why does the guy on the El platform dump the recycled paper into the "regular" trash? Why is their regular trash? We try to insulate ourselves from everything. We want convenience, not questions. But we are slowly asking these questions. We are starting to need a connection with family, community, and the earth.

Personally I don't think a person needs to ask these questions so we can prevent global warming and the degradation of natural resources, but because these questions need to be asked to help us become better. These global problems won't be changed until as individuals we feel it is an imperative to do so. And until we question how we live that won't happen.

In college I was a member of Earth First, if there was such a thing. I was just a kid in Kansas pissed at what was happening. Pissed at how stupid we could be. But I am starting to see that our actions and motives behind those actions just aren't that easy to discern, even as the individuals that have the motives and take the actions! It takes a LONG time for groups of people to open their eyes. There are a lot of people to blame (yes I am looking over at big business and our quivering government), but like I said I think it is happening. And it is an accumulation from Aldo Leopold to Rachel Carson to the Beats to hippies to Ralph Nader to Al Gore to any classroom of 3rd graders that start a recycling program.

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