All the Small Things
Yesterday, I went to the Compost Symposium at the State Fairgrounds. It was super interesting, and I wish I could've stayed for all the workshops. (Yeah so I like compost and worms and stuff. Deal.) You can read all about it in this week's edition, but I just wanted to share some wisdom from the event's keynote speaker.
The speaker was Ken Dunn, founder and director of The Resource Center in Chicago. Dunn's a huge believer in Composting To Save The World. Though he's very passionate about his beliefs, I really liked what he had to say about individuals making a change, and not waiting for a global initiative.
Let's just go back to keeping it simple, and making incremental choices, Dunn said. And for goodness sake, stay away from being obsessed with it. It's not good for you and it's not good for your friends. Do what you can, but don't make an issue out of what to do with every apple core, or if your friends are taking the elevator, saying 'sorry I'm walking.' Just do what you can.
I love this because I think it's so important not to be a snooty environmentalist. Environmental consciousness isn't some special badge of honor. Everyone has the ability to make small, simple changes. The only thing you have that someone else doesn't is education that allows you to make smart decisions.
I think the key to understanding a lot of issues is realizing that not everybody has the same knowledge and experiences that you have. I grew up in a pretty privileged environment, and while I thank my family and friends for getting me through four years at an affluent and snobby high school and four years at a Big 10 university relatively unscathed, I still find myself having to explain to people that not everybody knows what you know.
Be patient with people. Gently correct them if you think they can take it. (If they're not the type who can handle getting told, then you're just going to end up fighting a losing battle.) It's not worth losing a friend because they threw away a soda can instead of recycling it.
Worry about you. Do what you can.
What i want everybody to remember is that, if it's true that we're changing our climate beyond our right to, then we've got a great responsibility, Dunn said. We shouldn't resent the older generations for what we ourselves did in previous ages, we should only recognize that from what we know now, we can do better.