Saturday, September 11, 2010

I Can’t Do Everything, So Why Do Anything?

Seeking excellence, not perfection

Sometimes there seems to be so much to do to set our world right that it seems completely overwhelming. The skewed logic of our brain says, “I can’t do it all, so why even do anything?” And thus we give ourselves an excuse to just give up and do nothing.

We may feel that since we don’t always ride our bikes or use public transit to get around, we’re not going to try to reducing our driving. We may judge ourselves for wasting water or eating meat or driving an SUV. We may feel that if we don’t always buy every single thing organic, that we are failing.

Let’s get one thing straight: our actions are not perfect. If we fail to do something because we fear it’s not perfect, it’s a greater failure than doing something that’s not perfect, but is heading in the right direction. We need to not let the lack of perfection keep us (or let others keep us) from doing what is needed for ourselves and our planet. Let’s let go of the perfection or nothing myth. Rather than focusing on unobtainable perfection, let’s make it our focus to be excellent. And excellence comes from doing and growing and refining and making mistakes and learning and doing better.

Now that we know our actions don’t need to be perfect, let’s look at what positive step or steps we each can take today. Maybe it’s combining our errands to make a few less car trips this week. Maybe it’s swapping out our household incandescent bulbs for compact florescent ones or putting low flow heads on our showers and faucets. Maybe it’s signing up for renewable power. Whatever you are inspired to do, do it and let yourself feel good about it. You are contributing to a better world for us and our children.

The Urgency of Now

“We’ve got maybe ten years, some say less, in which to turn things around. That’s damn little time… I think we can change very, very, quickly. We’ve shown historically that we’re capable of it… if people really understand the imperative for change.” --Dennis Wilde, Principal, Gerding Edlen Development, from the film, Deep Green

With the growing focus on environmental issues in the news, we may find ourselves overwhelmed with the range of problems facing us and our planet: climate is changing at an alarming rate, the quality and quantity of water resources is decreasing, forests are being destroyed, problems with air pollution and toxic emissions march on, and the number of animal species facing extinction continues to mushroom.

With all these massive problems, it is easy to feel overwhelmed and helpless. The key is to recognize the problems without becoming overwhelmed—maybe easier said than done, but I’ve found the key is to do something—none of us can fix the whole thing in a day (or two or three), but we all have an opportunity to do something. It could be as little as changing a habit to use less water, or weather seal your home, or change to a less impactful way of eating or get your workplace to incentivize employees to not drive, or starting an organization or company that will help make systematic positive changes in your community.  

The point is, we all need to do something—ideally many things and encourage others to do what they can too.  

Then the question is, “when?”. We can’t do anything yesterday or last year, or last decade that we didn’t already do. And if we wait until next decade, next year or even next month, it may be too late.

The only choice (do you like my logic here?) is to seize the urgency of the moment and act NOW. Our children will be glad we did what we could.

Why this on-line community?

I just checked BlogPulse and there were currently over 146 million (146,321,069 to be exact) blogs on line. So, why do we need one more? What will this new community add to the mix that is not already out there? What can we offer, what can we share, what can we inspire, what can we do that others (or ourselves via other means) are not already doing? These are some of the questions I’ve been asking myself over these recent weeks and months as I’ve been considering starting this on-line community.

With Shared World Blog we seek to inspire, share, grow, learn, and help each other bring positive changes to ourselves, our communities, and our planet that will help protect and restore the balance that will allow us to pass along something of value to our children and grandchildren. We don’t pretend that we are or will ever be the be-all end-all of positive change—far from it—we seek to create a community in which we can share the best of our individual knowledge, understanding, ideas, and share what is working in both on-the-ground and internet-based communities.

We hope that what you find and share here will inspire you to share with others and bring wonderful changes to you, your family, your workplace, and your community. We hope that you will in turn inspire others to do what they can to bring changes that will help curb the many environmental challenges that face us. Through this community we hope to do our part to lead the way to a brighter today and healthy tomorrows for all of us who call this spinning, blue orb home.