Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The Million Blogger March

Viva la revolution! We have done it! We are officially a movement in the mainstream press. Blogging, reading and commenting, spreading the word, living consciously, embracing a lighter lifestyle, we should be proud. The world now knows we exist and hopefully more will leap onto our ever crowded but lower emitting bandwagon.

Now is not the time, however, to rest on our keyboards. A revolution cannot be lead only by shopping at the farmers' market or hanging our laundry up to dry in our backyards. Certainly, we must continue to do those things but we must also do more. In 2000, Michael Moore congratulated the country: "Way to go! In 1996, you helped set the all-time American record for lowest turnout ever at a presidential election. And during the 2000 primaries, nearly eighty percent staged a sit-in on their living room couches." In Simple Prosperity, David Wann likewise notes that we are out of practice in being in citizens.
Out of practice, though, doesn't mean out of possibility. I speak from experience when I write that it is like a riding a bike. You climb on and hope for the best. Each time, it is easier, smoother, more comfortable. I tend to be a hermit but, in the last year, I've started a green book club, set up a buying club for local meat and dairy products, spoken at a city council meeting, and, most recently, agreed to write a monthly newsletter for my city's green task force. These things are far out of my comfort zone but they are out of my house and into the community. Each step felt more natural than the last.

I am not urging you to march on Washington . . . yet. But I am asking you to get out from behind the computer, from behind your bread makers, solar cookers and battery chargers, out of your gardens and off your bikes, and be heard and seen. Look for green groups to join or start one. Investigate who and what is on the ballot and vote in every puny election. If a corporation does something that seems wrong, write them a letter, start a petition, knock on their door. If they do something right, cheer them on. When there is a need across the planet and you find yourself in a position to help, jump in. Spread the word amongst school and community listservs. Write letters to the editor, call the governor, or participate in a rally.

Blogging and individual changes will get us far but a million bloggers marching into their communities, into politics, into corporate America . . . that could get us all the way.


eco 'burban mom said...

Well, I've written to Clorox (4X now) and not heard a peep...

I volunteered with our local little league and started a recycling program where there was none & still people throw plastic in the trash...

My youngest's Montessori school refuses to listen to me when I suggest buying local food for the meals...

I have voted in every election since the day I turned 18 - even taking my kids along to marvel at the process and yet, I am still waiting for change...

However, I keep trying! It's all of the fellow green bloggers out there patting each other on the back, making suggestions for meals, offering gardening tips, craft project ideas and teaching each other how to compost, or how to start a petition or learn to stop using paper towels that have taught me that every little bit counts! And, most importantly, not to be discouraged, disheartened or hard on myself when I just don't feel like I am doing enough.

Yes, we all need to get out from behind the computers to make a difference, while we continue to support and encourage each other through our daily meanderings and musings...

Thank you, sister green bloggers, you inspire me!

CindyW said...

Hear, hear. I have always wanted to go on a real march and feel the kinship in pursuing a common cause.

I almost got out to the anti-war march in SF a few year ago. But my execuse was that I had a new born. But my friends who had both a new born and a toddler went. Ultimately it was my discomfort with making a statement in public that prevented me from going.

It's much easier to hide behind the computer screen and type away. We need to figure out how to get the message out, not just in the echo chamber, but really out to the people who may hear it from the first time and to the people who may scream upon hearing it.

Natalie said...

Awesome post!

I, like you, was a bit of an eviro-activist in my younger days. I got busy and lost my way (in action, but not in thought). I am also a bit reclusive.

About a year and a half ago, I made a re-commitment to being a better citizen and really re-establish my practice of lesser living. But then, a few months ago - induced by too many essays about a climate change and a wretched bout of PMS - I had a total...well...episode. Religious? Psychotic? It resulted in an epiphany about the state of the planet, all its people, and my role in it.

I've never had patience for those who say they've been spoken to, been chosen. I can picture George Bush saying those words. But there I was. Spoken to. Chosen. Chosen for what? Well, it's hard to articulate exactly. Basically, my "purpose" is to live as lightly as possible, but that includes affecting social change. Big time social change.

I've made many changes in my life within the last few months. Changes that I would have described as extreme, until just recently. But my next project is to start a campaign of sorts to make "taking action" the new "normal". I remember Arduous had her month of Armchair Activism. I believe my friends and acquaintances will be hearing that phrase a lot just as soon as school gets out.

To be honest, my assignment is easier than it might seem. I live in Portland, OR, where I think you are required by law to have a "cause". :-) And since 75K+ people just turned out to see Obama this past weekend, I think the audience is ripe for the pickin'. This is a nice place to cut my teeth, but there is work to be done in many places.

I'm not sure where this path will ultimately lead. While I don't like the fact that I cannot shut off this "force" that now resides in me, I am eager to follow its flow. I plan to soak in (and participate in) the scenery along the way.

Anonymous said...

Hey! Thanks for the great info. I was browsing through a bunch of green websites and blogs and I came across yours and found it very interesting. There are a bunch of others I like too, like the daily green, ecorazzi and earthlab.com. I especially like EarthLab.com’s carbon calculator (http://www.earthlab.com/signupprofile/). I find it really easy to use (it doesn’t make me feel guilty after I take it). Are there any others you would recommend? Can you drop me a link to your favorites (let me know if they are the same as mine).

Joyce said...

A little suggestion I made a few weeks ago about changing the way we supplied our coffee station at church has, lo and behold, just born fruit, with great acceptance. We're getting rid of the styrofoam, and we're switching to fair-trade coffee. This is in a very conservative setting. I think there are just tons of things individuals can do in their own neighborhoods that will add up to a ground swell of change. It doesn't require waving a sign at a rally, if that's not your style, just a simple conversation that points out the common good that can be achieved by making the change. Go for it!

Jennifer said...


gsgranola said...

You should also mention to write to the companies that are doing things right too. Its always good to give people a pat on the back and tell them to keep it up. We all need our own cheerleaders cheering for us on the sidelines as we work through it all.

Green Bean said...

Eco Burbs: You always crack me up because you are forever writing about how you are not that green. Looking at your attempts to bring a lighter life into your community, corporate America and politics, girl, you are one green puppy! It, of course, sucks that major change has not occured but maybe if the rest of us join you out there, we can get something done. As to the blogosphere, I don't think I could do what I do without it. Part of my truly lives here and when I go back out into the real world, I'm shocked that people are still living that heavier, draining lifestyle. Keep up the good work, sister.

Cindy: I'm like you. I've never quite made it to a protest rally. I have always found some excuse not to go to one. However, I think they were effective tools in the 60s and we should definitely try them. I agree with, Joyce, though, that our acts do not need to be actual protest rallies.

Joyce: What you are doing in your church is a prime example of a "marching into our community". You are so right. We don't have to be waving signs. There is a place for protests but that is not everyone's style and that does not fit every situation. You inspire me.

Natalie: I feel similar. Not only can I do something, but I must do something. Just think of the power that you now wield, the changes you can effect. It feels far better, I think, to take action in the face of something as devastating as climate change than to sit and cry. Enjoy your journey!

GSGranola: You are absolutely right and I've added that to my post. We need to support good business sense!

kale for sale said...

This makes me want to run out and do something, anything, right now. But I'm at work until five so I'll start where I am. Today's green job disguised as cost cutting is how the heck to get folks to cut back, if not stop, drinking plastic bottled drinks. I've got to make water in a glass convenient and looking good. Yesterday I tackled the idea of reusing plastic bags. I'm optimistic it will catch on but progress is slow. I will not however give up. Thanks for the inspiration.

Raw Food Diva said...

wow@ great comments from everyone and another thoughtful post greeny!
If there is a million wo-man blogger march count me in!
hey I am moving back to the bay area so I wont pop in for awhile so everyone be good and be Greeen!

katecontinued said...

Good, inspiring post. It is vital every once in awhile to hear a respected voice like yours say it all matters.

Several years ago I spotted this quote and hung on to it . . .

Change happens in fits & starts. Change pools quietly and then all of a sudden breaks down the dam and surges forward. Eli Praiser, Move-On.org

eco 'burban mom said...

Thanks, GB. I'm still getting started or I guess now I'm somewhere in the middle of this green journey so it's starting to feel more natural I guess. Still can't kick that paper towel habit though! Sigh...

Anyway, thought I would let you know that my review of AVM (chapters 1-5 anyway) is up on my blog. It's about all I can handle today, the rest will come later!

Going Crunchy said...

Hey sister, I'll meet you in Washington. The next big march that they have we should all stage a little meeting of folks that read each others blogs.

My husband and I discuss this on a regular basis - - -and it may sound sexist- - -but I do think that much of the green movement and desire for cultural change is stemming from women. I think that if were all to lift our voices we could turn it into a mighty roar.

Green Bean said...

Katrina: Go, girl! One step at a time. Sometimes it seems a bit painful and slow but at least we're moving in the right direction.

RFW: Look forward to having you back in the Bay Area! Just in time for the LBAM spraying. ;-)

Kate: Great quote! I think we are nearing a point when we will build up enough momentum to break down that dam.

EcoBurbs: Ahh, the paper towel thing. It's always something, isn't it? I still drive to much, forget to turn off certain appliances, the list goes on. You, and btw your awesome review, rock!

Shannon: I'm in girl. I need to do something like this but I need to meet with folks before to go. That's where we all need to support each other. And, as to the green movement being lead by women, I couldn't agree more. My city's green task force boasts 6-9 women and 1 man. Most of the eco-blogs out there are by women. We are, I think, closer to the ground on this one and, for a number of us, we have kids. Certainly, men are involved and I thank God how supportive my husband is of my green thing, but, in my mind, it is being lead by women.

Allison said...

Just a few simple words of hope:
-At one time women in the U.S. couldn't vote
-At one time nobody knew who Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr were
-At one time hybrid cars were still on the drawing board
-At one time green just meant a color
-At one time you couldn't find organic on the shelves of main stream grocery stores

And some day hopefully we will say:
-At one time there was refinery here, now there is a forest
-At one time we actually ate pesticides
-At one time farmers only grew soy and corn, now farmers grow native veggies in my hometown

Anyway, it is late and I can't think but I hope you got my point. Don't stop blogging, writing and talking. Your kids, husbands, wives, family and friends will all get your message. Sometimes a movement takes 1 and sometimes it takes 1,000,000.
Go Greenies!


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