January 4, 2017

What Are You Doing?

“Can you imagine what I would do if I could do all I can?"  - Sun Tzu

There are many problems on our planet that need to be addressed, be they political, environmental, spiritual or otherwise. Most seem gargantuan and intractable. This is leading people to wonder what they could possibly do to help. As it turns out, there is a lot that each of us can do.

However, none of it will be easy. It will be worthwhile, though, and our survival depends on what each of us decides as individuals.

Overall, one of the best things you can do is carefully attend to how you use energy, food, and water. These "Big Three" account for the majority of damage being done to our ecosphere. Think about the level of efficiency with which you use these precious resources. Are there areas you could make improvements?

While it has not been popular for years (I suspect because it bites into potential profits and tax revenue), conservation is still the best way to go. All resources we use should be treated with the respect that these sacred gifts deserve. We honour them by using them wisely.

There are also specific things one can do, too numerous to list. I will start with a few that come to mind. You can probably think of a few of your own.

1. Civic Involvement - join a club, or start one. Get involved, and empowered. Volunteer at a school, or food bank. Help establish a community garden, join Habitat For Humanity, search and rescue, or a beach cleaning. Go to town hall meetings and demand answers from elected officials. Write letters. Make phone calls. Talk to the media about what you are doing.

2. Spend Your Money Strategically - choose to purchase products from companies and people you support, boycott those that do things you don’t like. Have a boycott list handy to view a couple times a year as a reminder. Better yet, withhold your money all together. Choose to stop buying certain things, permanently.

3. Spread The Word - let people know what you are doing, and why. This is how small individual actions and efforts spread and result in a big bang of change.

4. Practice Voluntary Simplicity - a simple lifestyle is a more sustainable lifestyle. It can also be a happier, more content way to go.

5. Never Listen To Naysayers - never let anyone, ever, convince you that individual actions can never make a difference and are only an exercise in futility. Individual choices are where the work gets done. More beneficial choices will lead to better outcomes.

Each of us has the power to do something every moment of every day. We can move toward a better world one decision at a time. The choice is ours to make.


  1. This is all so true. I do what I can and I guess compared to lots of folk, I do a lot. But I don't know if that should be the basis of comparison! All the time I'd like to do more and all the time I work toward that. This year I'm attempting to not buy anything new as well as become zero waste. I'm sure I will 'fail' , especially with the latter. However what is important is the motivation behind it and the trying. Plus what I am modelling to my children, who after all, are the ones inheriting this mess. So far our way of living is normal for them and they enjoy it. Raising kind humans and good stewards is a big task! It helps enormously to be in touch with other communities who have made it to adulthood in this fashion :) Thank you!

    1. Karen,

      I know from my own practice of simple living that there is always more that can be done. I can't think of anything more important than raising kind humans that will grow to be good stewards of Earth. My own parents greatly affected my approach to living the simple life, and I thank them dearly. Good job. You have lucky kids.

  2. With all that's going on it is imperative that I stay focused on things I can do and believe they make a difference. Here is my list in hopes of generating more ideas of things we can do. Would love to hear other people's lists for inspiration.

    1. Civic involvement. Check.
    - I attend city and county council meetings, talk to politicians, establish relationship.
    - Recently, I did another Ride-Along as I want to understand the law enforcement problems from their perspective.
    - I just applied to serve on the Clean and Green Committee. The committee informs and responds to the city council.
    - I met someone who wants to build tiny homes in my small city. The city will not allow homes under 850 sq. ft. to be built. Will be speaking to city council on small, safe, affordable housing, within a couple of months.
    - Planning meetings with several local politicians regarding tiny homes and small, safe, affordable housing for people in my circumstances.
    - I tutor 3 students working to get the high school equivalency diploma.
    - I work at the election polls which helps me understand what's going on and make contacts.
    - Add research how the people running for offices stand and cast your vote for those in line with your values as much as you can.
    - Some of what you list are going on my list of things to do!

    2. Money. Check. My money is in a credit union, a cooperative, not a bank. I watch every penny I spend like a hawk. I boycott and tell others who I boycott and why. There are more things I can choose not to spend money on too. Time for reflecting on that.

    3. Spread the word. I speak about my choices and simple living at every opportunity. I refuse plastic bags in stores which sometimes leads to a good conversation with sales people who don't know how damaging they are to the environment and have no idea how simple it is to live without. A great line that gets people thinking is saying, "Every piece of plastic we have ever made is still on the planet."

    4. Practice Vol. Simplicity. I do, but more can be done in this area.

    5. Never listen to naysayers! Good one. Keep on keeping on becoming more simple.

    Yes, we do have the power, one choice at a time. My list shows I have some unbalance! Action will help us not feel so defeated because of things happening around us. Nice article. Making the list was empowering! I like the idea of honoring our resources and appreciating their gifts to us, very positive.

    1. Terri,

      You inspire Linda and I to do more. We are probably not the only ones.


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