Monday, February 11, 2013

Is it in your nature to try?

From "No Impact Man" blog: April 22, 2008 

Can the way I live really make a difference?
That's one of the things we worry about, right? When it comes to figuring out whether to get involved in the political process or to make our lifestyles more sustainable, we all wonder if, in fact, we will make the slightest bit of difference. Is it worth the effort?
Well, I have a friend, Mayer Vishner, who has been a peace activist since the 1960s. I help him grow vegetables on his plot at LaGuardia Community Gardens in New York's Greenwich Village.
I once joked with Mayer, "Hey Mayer, you've been working for peace for 40 years. Don't you think it's time you looked for a new cause? I'm not sure your peace idea has any traction."
You know what he said? He said, "I've given up on worrying about the results. I have a vision of the way the world should be, and I've just come to accept that it's in my nature to keep trying. So I keep trying."
Michael Pollan, in his New York Times article on Sunday, makes a more rational case for taking action:
"If you do bother, you will set an example for other people. If enough other people bother, each one influencing yet another in a chain reaction of behavioral change, markets for all manner of green products and alternative technologies will prosper and expand. (Just look at the market for hybrid cars.) Consciousness will be raised, perhaps even changed: new moral imperatives and new taboos might take root in the culture. Driving an S.U.V. or eating a 24-ounce steak or illuminating your McMansion like an airport runway at night might come to be regarded as outrages to human conscience. Not having things might become cooler than having them. And those who did change the way they live would acquire the moral standing to demand changes in behavior from others — from other people, other corporations, even other countries."