Shift NOW

As I was writing this, I was staying downtown in a large metropolitan city. Every day, I would walk to my favorite grocery store, with an attached eatery, and sit in the sunroom writing. I would enjoy the beautiful, healthy, in-house made foods and salads, on real dishes with real utensils. As I walked the streets of downtown on my trip there and back, I would see people carrying paper coffee cups, designer purses, plastic bags full of takeout containers, retail shopping bags, bottles of water, etc. People who were eating inside of cafes were eating on Styrofoam plates. People in the malls were talking about a $400 pair of jeans they wanted to buy. People walking down the street were talking about their new chemically dyed hair color. People plugging parking meters were driving big SUVs.

Later, when checking emails and messages in the living room of my girlfriend’s place, I watched a video a friend had posted on Facebook regarding the amount of garbage that can be found in open, fresh waters. The video showed flocks of beautiful soaring and nesting birds. Then the video showed image after image of dead bird carcasses, with the birds’ stomachs full of plastic bottle caps and other plastic pieces that they had eaten. The carcasses were disintegrating, but the plastic pieces were remaining. I began to wonder: if we only pooled all of the money that people spend on dumping chemicals on their hair to make their hair a different, more desirable color, how much garbage could we clean up from our open waters?

It’s time to make some new choices. Be the first domino in a chain reaction or by all means be the second, third, or fourth domino. You might become a leader in a group of people (friends, family, colleagues, etc.), or a follower of some already green folk. Have you seen Derek Siver’s “How to Start a Movement” dancing video on YouTube? Start a movement or join the movement.

Each and every one of us can evaluate our current practices and habits, research information and ideas, and take action. It’s time to stop justifying our lack of environmental awareness or action in our daily choices because of the way others live. Let me be the first to say that I’m not perfect and that I’m a wasteful consumer. I have lots of learning to do and changes to make myself. When we get honest about our irresponsibility, it creates a new space to start being responsible.

We each have considerable power in contributing to this green movement—in our own actions and in our ability to influence others’ actions. On a personal level, we can all reduce consumption. In our workplaces, we can make suggestions for greener practices. If we own a business, we can take on making a green change. As consumers, we can give feedback to local and corporate companies.

I challenge you to look at all the levels that you can make a green impact in—individual, family and friends, community, city, provincial/state, country, world—and recognize that you have a responsibility to make green choices. I encourage you to consider what’s at stake here and make a shift. Each and every one of us committing to taking on a greener lifestyle is more important than anything. Today is the day. Start now.

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