In the 1960s and 70s Rachel Carson’s book Silent Spring opened the door for discussions about the environment and what we might do to change the destructive habits and processes we had been employing. Allowing that new information to sink in effectively was gradual, but my husband and I started recycling what we could.
We also began turning off lights in rooms we weren’t using, eating lower on the food chain, and becoming more focused on not wasting water. I remember buying a guidebook that provided pages of steps we could take to shift our lifestyles into ones that were more environmentally supportive. When planning meals, one book we used regularly was Frances Moore Lappe’s Diet for a Small Planet.
Eventually, I also joined various environmental organizations and to this day belong to the Natural Resources Defense Council. It is encouraging that they, like many others in this technological age, provide their members with online information about issues and sample letters to send to appropriate officials in support of or to discourage actions related to the environment. That has helped me remain active politically.
Like many people, at times I feel somewhat helpless in the face of large corporations and governments that have the power to continue destroying our eco-systems. At the same time, I think it’s imperative that we continue to do what we can in our personal lives and also to join together in ways that collectively and politcally address systemic environmental issues. These are both/and, not either/or issues, and all of us are needed.
I’m encouraged that the University of Edinburgh recently created a Department for Social Responsibility and Sustainability, and I look forward to watching their progress and supporting their initiatives. I’m also happy to see that there is an active Omaha Permaculture group.
Selected Resources for Environmental Stewardship and Sustainability
Ecovillages – Fellowship for Intentional Community www.ic.org/directory/ecovillages/
Findhorn Foundation Community www.findhorn.org/
GEN – Global Ecovillage Network www.gen.ecovillage.org/
Inclusive Communities (IC) – http://www.inclusive-communities.org/
Natural Resources Defense Council www.nrdc.org/
Social Responsibility and Sustainability at the University of Edinburgh http://www.ed.ac.uk/about/sustainability/
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