Be the change...

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

Gandhi“Be the change you want to see in the world”, said Gandhi. So, how long do we still want to wait and procrastinate.

Now even the German newspaper “Die Welt” wrote “Should people not adjust themselves in time to the new situation we may be facing a relapse to pre-industrial times”.

We are all part of the problem and thus part of the solution.

What does “adjusting” to the new situation mean and what would it look like? It means in clear text that we – all of us – have to make changes in our lives and we have to begin with a reduction in consumption in general.

This has to be followed, more than likely also, by a change in how and what we eat. More fruit and vegetables, locally grown and not flown in from thousands of miles away and then called “organic”, such as, and I know this is a pet peeve of mine, green beans from Kenya, which are only grown for consumption in the developed word, as the Kenyans themselves do not eat those vegetables.

I am not advocating a totally vegan diet simply for the fact that I do not believe in it and that there of scientific proof that, despite of claims, it is not good for us. However, less meat or no meat, thus a largely vegetarian diet, such as consumed in many parts of India, but still using eggs, butter and milk, for instance, would be the way to go.

This, followed by a culture of sharing, as in transportation, clothes, accommodation, appliances, products, food, etc., could see a reduction of the personal ecological footprint by more than half.

We simply, as individuals and as a whole, continue with the over-consumption that we are indulging, in the majority, in the developed world today, aided and abetted by our governments even who keep telling us to spend, spend, spend, in order to grow the economy.

People who are thrifty today are being likened, as was the case in Britain in the early days of the Great Recession of the first decade of the 21st century which continued into the second decade, to domestic terrorists, and I kid you not, for not “supporting” economic growth.

Economic growth, and there is no such thing as sustainable growth, in a world which is finite and the non-renewable resources of which are finite and almost exhausted, just is not possible and our economic system must become a resource-based one and not one based on growth and ever more growth.

As consumers we can make the change and demand changes at a higher level by voting without feet and wallets.

Buying less, reusing, repurposing and upcycling what we can, making as much as we can and growing as much we can, and buying only, where possible, locally produced and repairable goods, will send a clear message to all concerned that we are no longer accepting the status quo and that we want change and want to be the change.

It also applies to the way we travel, how and where we work, and to our vacationing. We must take a step back and think real hard how our actions impact on the Planet and all life that depends on it.

We must begin to contemplate a post-carbon future and one that, dare I say it, will look a little like the time before the industrial revolution, to some extent. And while this may not to everyone's liking, especially not those that want to continue to make big bucks from exploiting the Planet and its resources, including its people, we must create such a future if we wish to survive on the Earth.

We must be, each and everyone of us, the change that we wish to see in the world. It is no good waiting for others to make that start and definitely not for any government. It is a live or die issue, no less, and it is up to us.

© 2013