Making a difference- thereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s always more to do!!
I choose a path of growth and change, some of which comes as a natural process of letting go of old baggage and some has to be consciously worked on. There are always more layers to peel, more growth to be done! I am often inspired by the changes people have made in their lives Ã¢â‚¬â€œ and the Ã¢â‚¬Ëœknock on effectÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ that can have on me and many others who are too inspired.
I attended an informal talk in the summer where a bunch of inspiring people chatted to teenagers and young people about making a difference in the world.
The was a guy from the Soil Association, one from Sustrans (sustainable transport), a couple who lived in a community in a home they had built from recycled materials, a couple who ran an organic farm and a couple who were home educators.
What I found really interesting was that these people were living their highest beliefs. They were living AS IF the rest of the world lived that way too!!
I listened to each of them speak and then there were questions from the teens- and inevitably the young people found it hard to grasp the notion of just living your life as best you can.
They were frustrated- mostly by the government, also by the big companies, by religion and by themselves. They couldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t see any point to Ã¢â‚¬Ëœjust changing yourselfÃ¢â‚¬â„¢- that wasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t enough.
They were angry- they wanted more change, NOW! They wanted to lobby, demonstrate, boycott!
And the responses they got from the speakers were the voice of love, of peace, of wisdom.
I remember being that frustrated teen- trying to convert the world to vegetarianism, peace and love- going on anti fur/ anti hunting/ anti Nazi marches and demos etc. I was so angry at this unjust world we live in.
I could go on and on about all the stuff we humans have done Ã¢â‚¬ËœwrongÃ¢â‚¬â„¢- war, cruelty, hunger, povertyÃ¢â‚¬Â¦but we all know about it- the next step is what can we do about it?
We can clear our side of the street. I have no power over governments, corporate businesses, and churches. But I do have power over me! I can choose how far I am willing to go to change things in my life.
So back to this inspiring bunch of people- the organic farmers and soil association guy encouraged us to buy local, improve local economy, get a veg box delivered from your nearest organic farm, shop in your local shop (before it gets bought out by T***o Metro!), buy fair-trade goods, buy ethical environmentally friendly goods, have an allotment or grow food in your garden (lots of veggies can even be grown in pots!), read up on permaculture and organic growing...
Of course the Sustrans speaker encouraged less car use- walk or cycle where possible, use public transport or at worst car share.
Tony and Jane from the community spoke about their way of life- living extremely lightly on the planet, although their life in the roundhouse they built is nearer life in an ordinary house than in, say a yurt or a bender as they have hot water and electricity- it is all Ã¢â‚¬Ëœoff the gridÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ as they say. Their electricity produced by wind generators and their water is piped from a mountain source. They have a compost toilet (with a turf roof!) this is a twin chamber aerobic system which turns shit with sawdust and paper into good quality fertiliser after about two years.
Through living and working in this community they are able to live very cheaply, with no bills to speak of. Most of their food is grown in the gardens. Tony makes his living from work as a musician and from turning bowls and plates from wood that they coppice on the farm, and also making wines and wool rugs. He described their life as idyllic -the only serious problem for them is that they are considered such an undesirable phenomenon by the planners that their house is condemned to be pulled down and the site be wiped clean as if they never had been here. But they are extremely happy have established that it is possible to live a very low impact life in the countryside, without damaging the environment, maintaining healthy biodiversity around us and managing woodland in the old way as part of a dynamic community. See their website for more details on their home and the rest of community life at Brithdir Mawr Community http://www.thatroundhouse.info/
When asked about how this kind of lifestyle could be integrated in to a city life Tony agreed with what had be spoken of before and even encourage more steps such as composting your kitchen waste, getting solar panels, recycling even more than you might already do, getting a water butt to collect rain water, not wasting tap water, switching off unused lights, not leaving litter, supporting environmentally caring charities- Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, Trees for life..etc
The family of home educators echoed all of what had been said and mentioned how most of their home furnishings were reclaimed and recycled, they bought clothes from charity shops and frequented car boot sales for tools and household wares. They have 6 children and live in London where they own a large allotment that helps feed a lot of hungry mouths!! They spoke about having choices in our lives- so many people have no idea that we can legally home educate- so if you donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t know you have that choice how do you make it? Some choices maybe simpler than others- like using Ã¢â‚¬ËœdisposableÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ nappies or washable ones (of course washables!!) but would you choose washable sanitary wear over Ã¢â‚¬ËœdisposableÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ pads? (one of their daughters imports washable pads from India)
Also mentioned were the judgements they had from their life style- simple ones like being looked on as Ã¢â‚¬ËœpoorÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ because the wear second hand clothes. When infact they choose not to buy in to the consumerism of having to wear the latest fashion and therefore free themselves to spend money on more essential or enjoyable things. And judgements on not giving their children a Ã¢â‚¬Ëœnormal lifeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢, concerns that they wont be able to get jobs or integrate in to society when really this is rubbish.
I could go on and on about all that was mentioned- but by now I am guessing you are getting my drift!
We have a choice about how to live out lives, how to make a difference, to the planet, to our selves, to humankind.
The question is how far can you go? Will you choose to changeÃ¢â‚¬Â¦just a little bit more?
I believe the first thing we need to change is how we treat ourselves- if we choose to pollute our bodies then we are making a decision not to choose life!
Once we choose life and begin to respect and love ourselves it becomes natural to respect and love others.
For me- I am here to be the best me I can be, to really live life, a good life and make a difference, to live peacefully and lightly in the world. I have a few ways of doing this- daily prayer and meditation, respectfulness, forgiveness, listening, understanding, smiling , giving, releasing judgement, recycling and reusing.
Its all about fully engaging in this illusion called life- so go on- choose make a difference!
If you know of a way to help save our planet, even just a small part of it put it here. Also if you want to ask how to help, or even if you want to promote your environmental organisation. All goes here.
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