"No snowflake in an avalanche ever feels responsible."
There are six billion (or how ever many people) on this planet. It's a freaking huge amount. In this mass of human beings, we feel small. Insignificant.
What can I really change?
Does my vote really matter?
Why bother wasting my time when it won't make a difference?
And besides, when there are so damn many of us, with so many different opinions, who is really going to listen to my opinion?
It's true that one of us, alone, can't do much. Certainly not with any single action, such as voting once a year, or every four years, or how ever often we vote on something. In the big scheme of things, that is pretty trivial.
So, in order to make our voice heard, should we sacrifice our lives and our time to make change happen? Should our every decision be tempered towards trying to shift the world from consumerism to compassion, from a love of money to a love of life?
Well, what if it didn't have to be a sacrifice...?
What if we didn't have to sacrifice our time to go protest twice a week to make change happen?
"An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind." - Gandhi
What happens when these protests occur?
Watching the movie If A Tree Falls has really opened my mind to the repercussions of protests. Innocent people get tortured. That's what happens. No kidding. Young women in peaceful protest were taken in and had pepper spray put directly into their eyes. I mean, seriously folks, this is the world we live in.
Protests don't work.
Mother Teresa said: "I will never attend an anti-war rally; if you have a peace rally, invite me."
Watch the movie The Secret for more insight onto the same thought.
The basis for the argument that protests don't work is because we're putting energy into what we don't want. We can't just fight against. We must fight for something. We must be pro-______. Pro-peace. Pro-nature. Pro-happiness. Pro-education. Pro-freedom. Those are good concepts.
For every one thing we state that we are against, we must state that we are for at least ten other things.
For every one anti-action we take, we must take at least ten other pro-actions.
If we say we are against disease, does it do any good to kill everyone with disease? We must cure the cause of the disease, not kill the people with it.
If we are against war, does it do any good to shoot the commanders? Then we are just fighting fire with more fire.
We must prove that there is a way to do without the things we are against. We must set an example. If we are against consumerism, then set an example through finding your own alternatives.
Buy your clothing second hand. Shop at yard sales as often as possible.
Shop at farmer's markets. Less food miles, less nutrient deterioration.
Grow your own garden. No food miles. No nutrient deterioration. No corporate profit at all.
Eat wild plants. Learn about the native wild life. Absolutely zero negative impact.
Wash your hair with plants that grow nearby instead of commercial products.
Use organic products instead of conventional products.
Buy products in recyclable or compostable containers.
Talk about solutions instead of problems. Have a peace rally.
Have a free market. Everyone comes and gives things away for free. No barter, no money involved. Undermine the system without hurting anybody in the process (except the corporations who lose profit because you don't have to buy it new if you can get it second hand).
Smile. Give energy to people around you. Inspire people, don't bring them down. Give people something positive to focus on.
When you're bored, go for a walk. Being bored is a bad excuse for spending money wastefully.
(Here is my super-anti-item of the entry. My bit of negativity and fighting against...)
Quit the cigarettes. You're polluting the air and supporting a meaningless value system at the same time by smoking. It's not just your health, it's everyone's health. You're not just fucking over your lungs, you are fucking everyone. And you're giving me a migraine every time I walk past you. I can't even be friends with people who smoke because I get a horrible headache every time I get near a smoker. Instead of being a hazard, be a joy.
Yoga instead of commercial gyms.
Teach your friends martial arts, dance, yoga, tai chi, etc, and bring them health.
Eat lots of fresh produce. Fresh produce goes from the farm to you. Fresh produce does not get packaged or processed in all the complex ways that boxed foods do. There is less waste, less food miles, and less (or no) negative health impacts to eating fresh produce.
When you buy local organic produce you support better soil, better air, a better healthy life for yourself, better ethics, and an entire better Earth. It's something you can be proud of, and it's not even going out of your way. You need to eat anyway.
I choose not to eat meat for nutritional reasons. It's nutritionally inefficient to eat meat, so I don't do it. But, as I've started hanging around other vegans, I've started hearing many sides to the ethical reasons behind it. I'm not saying hunting down an animal and eating it is wrong. But the raising and slaughtering of animals in the massive, massive way we do so in this country is harmful to the planet. Land that could be full of wild life and forests is kept clear for cattle. That land could be full of trees giving oxygen to the atmosphere and pulling nutrition from deep below into the topsoil. Instead, we have a bunch of penned up animals raised for our gluttony which are (sometimes/often) force fed to reach maturity sooner to bring us beef sooner. It's filthy, absurd, and disgusting. And it's not even nutritionally efficient to boot.
Watch more documentaries.
Eat more raw, less cooked. Raw foods balance your pH levels, regulating your mood, temperature, nutrition absorption, muscle production, fat production... It's all regulated and affected by your pH. For a healthy alkaline pH level, you need at least 65% (at the very least) of your diet to consist of raw, uncooked fresh produce.
Stop being a conformist, and be yourself.
"A 'No' uttered from the deepest conviction is better than a 'Yes' merely uttered to please, or worse, to avoid trouble."
We don't need to change our entire life to make the world a better place. We only need to change key aspects of our life, such as what we choose to buy. Just by choosing recycled napkins over virgin napkins, we can save millions of trees. Also, you can compost your recycled napkins as long as you have not used them to clean up something toxic.
The system is affecting every one of us. Even if we think we're "outside" of the system, it still has impact. Nobody is immune. The best we can do is to get educated and make better day to day decisions. Save yourself some torture, and move from protesting to living the dream. Live the example you want others to follow. Be the change you want to see in the world. Be an inspiration to everyone who encounters you.
Burning down corporate buildings, unfortunately, will only cause more bitterness and retaliation all around. The corporate leaders will still be heartless (or whatever they were beforehand). Massive "actions" only generate more fear. Fear-mongering is not the answer.
You can control people temporarily with fear.
You can inspire people indefinitely by gaining their respect.
Reconsider the concert for the famous pop star. Why spend your money going to watch that star? Why not find a small local band you like and support them instead?
Reconsider the huge big-screen TV. Perhaps you'd like to build a green house, install a green roof, or build some new bamboo cabinets in your kitchen. Maybe you'd like to spend more time with you friends, spouse, children, or parents and less time sitting around flipping channels anyway. Maybe you'd like to put that money towards starting your own small business.
Reconsider that new ipod. How much do you really listen to music anyway? Can't you just listen to it at home on your computer?
Reconsider that new designer dress. Couldn't you find something just as flattering second hand?
It doesn't matter what your priorities in life are, you can make room to be environmentally friendly. You can stop being a consumerist without becoming Amish.
For example, at Christmas time (or any holiday where gifts are given, such as birthdays), you can give "green" gifts, home-made gifts, or edible gifts. Make an organic raw vegan pie for your friends' birthday. Home-make soap as gifts. Buy someone a notebook made from recycled paper instead of one made from virgin paper. Do them a favor instead of buying them anything at all.
Most of that useless junk being sold in stores that comes from China is used as a gift. Something cheap and quick to "show someone you care." These things just sit around collecting dust.
Watch The Story of Stuff. Items are disposed of only six months after they are purchased.
I think being revolutionary needs to be reexamined. It's clear to me after watching If A Tree Falls that protesting and "blowing shit up" doesn't work. The real answer is serious boycotting.
Not just "oh, I'll buy a little less from Wal-Mart." Rethinking all of the ways we spend money and accumulate money... That I believe, is the only sensible answer.
PS: Have your spouse proof-read your blog... Less embarrassing typos. :D
I also recommend the documentary: The Marketing of Madness.