To sum up…

I said earlier that I would mention ten ways to make a difference, and I have now written ten posts – this is my eleventh and final post in this series – to sum up some of the things we can all do fairly easily, to make a difference.

There is a marvellous Grizelda cartoon in the latest edition of “Private Eye”, featuring a well-dressed shopper loaded down with bags and her “John the Baptist”-style husband, for which the caption is, “He’s saving the planet, I’m saving the economy”. Which just about sums up our current dilemma: the more we consume, the more we have the potential to cause damage; but if we fail to consume anything, we reduce life to its most basic, at which point it becomes almost unliveable, especially given urbanisation and the wonderful inventions we now rely on, such as hot water, the wheel, computers, books…

There are many ways in which I find my life options limited, yet there will always be ways to reduce my options even further and thence to absurdity: I can’t cycle, nor walk far, so the ecological option would be to stay at home and go crazy. But clearly that is not feasible, unless I am reconciled to wasting my life.

So rather than saying, “Do less, be less, live less,” the focus of my efforts is to tailor my hopes so that others can have similar hopes too.

Instead of going for the biggest, best car I can afford, I would rather have a small car, since if we all had small cars, it might become possible for anyone who needed one, to have a car and live sustainably with it. Instead of opting for cheap fashion, I tend to go for more expensive clothes and wear them until they fall apart. That way, I hope to take a longer term view of what stays in my wardrobe, and I can wear nice clothes – and isn’t it amazing, how many of our nice clothes we never wear? – that don’t cost the earth. Instead of insisting on having asparagus out of season and strawberries all year round, I visit farmers’ markets and buy their fresh produce in season.

In so many ways, steps like these can be life enhancing, instead of life limiting. My focus has had to evolve, so that I continue to do what I can, but in such a way that others can have a hope of doing them too. On restoring beauty so that others may enjoy it, restoring dignity so that it may extend to others, on restoring balance, so that all may participate.

Thanks for listening.

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