09 March 2010

Tell 'Em What to Do

My friend, Elise, responded to my self-description as a foghorn by saying:
"Foghorns are wonderful things. I love them. (Especially in fog in a boat — where I have been.) So I reconsider: Be a foghorn! Our culture is in a fog — maybe a foghorn is actually a more apt metaphor, when I think about it. Beacons are for the clear-eyed. We are in pretty deep fog. Not able to see where we need to get to. Very short-sighted.

"I do however think that if you attached something to DO with some of your rants, people would feel empowered instead of distressed, because you are always right when you say what you know — so then what? This is all about needing to do things."
Point taken. I have to admit that I keep thinking there's so much information "out there" about how people can lower their energy consumption or decrease their footprint on the Earth that it sounds silly to keep repeating it. But I went to a meeting today of a new environmentally focused group here and the organizer put the heat and lights on instead of urging us to wear sweaters and sit near the windows. So I guess we have to keep saying it.

When we can save some energy by sacrificing some comfort for the sake of future generations, let us decide to be uncomfortable and save the energy!

It's that simple. We must change our habits, including our habits of mind and heart. We must change our expectations. Change what we think we're entitled to. Start thinking (picturing) zero carbon. Picture no more fossil fuels, no more burning. Envision finding energy from nega-watts (conservation and efficiency), creating energy from the sun and the wind and the water and the deep earth.

Once we start to think differently, it will soon feel easier to act differently. That's my response to "But what can I do?" for today, damn it. Be a little chilly for once! (Or a little hot, if you're living in the southern hemisphere.)

Suffer for the children — just a little bit, so that they won't have to suffer a lot.


  1. Thank-you for being a foghorn and inspiring the horn that is hidden within my fog to sound!

  2. Hi Leigh,
    Thanks for reading! I discovered yesterday (see 13 March 2010 post) that my foghorn is still silenced when I'm afraid I don't have every scientific fact at my fingertips. I call it the "I'm-not-an-expert" barrier to doing the right thing. The shame of this is that deniers and skeptics of climate change don't seem to care about whether they know what they're talking about. And yet, even though I know I've read about the research or the "fact" in question, if I can't remember every detail, I don't speak up - on behalf of all future generations, of all species. I am not proud of my foghorn today!


I would appreciate hearing your thoughts or questions on this post or anything else you've read here. What is your take on courage and compassion being an important part of the solution to the climate change emergency?