Southampton Greenworks

Eco-Sustainability is our Business

The Modern Guide to Sane Living – Part 1

How often do we recite our credos? How many of us even have a credo? FYI, a credo is a brief statement of one’s world-view. For example: Work Smart, Be Efficient, Finish What We Start, Look After Those We Love, Contribute To The Greater Good. A credo is something we can periodically recite to remind us of what is important when we are trying to make decisions.

But how do we know what is important? Who teaches us, and who do we learn from? What if our role models are missing something essential? What if our set of Important Things is incomplete? What if our credo is wrong and we don’t even realize it? A few years ago it occurred to me that I was living the wrong way. Not only that, but almost everyone I knew was living the wrong way, and everyone I’d learned from and respected in my youth were guilty of the same mistake. In short, I figured out that virtually all of us suffer from cultural insanity. I mean, what else do you call it when a nation, or a species, is working hard to bring about it’s own downfall?

Existential risk stems from the possibility that our culture or our species will fail. Anthropogenic risk occurs when our culture or species self-terminates. Ecocide is the destruction of our ecosystems or ecosphere. We rarely think about this stuff. Who has time? It’s hard enough getting to work through crowds or traffic or bad weather; hard enough getting home at rush hour; hard enough feeding the kids and looking after the house, let alone getting enough exercise. Besides, why should any one of us feel responsibility for long-term survival of humanity? Most of us are mere pawns in the grand game. Not only that, but things are not that bad; we’ll figure out a solution eventually.

Right. The Hail Mary approach to survival of our species. The reality is, most of us are in denial, but deep down, we know that we’re living on thin ice – not a good place to be as the climate heats up. We know we are sacrificing our future for the present, we know we are consuming our ecosystems to death, but we carry on, happily ignoring our eco-impact. Definition of insanity: 1. Behaviour that is imprudent, irrational, or extremely foolish and unwise. 2. Being unsound in the mind and thus free of (legal) responsibility. 3. Inability to perceive and react sensibly to reality.

There is a solution. The key is, don’t try to save the world, just try to contribute positively instead of negatively. That’s all, but it’s easier said than done. Don’t quit work, don’t run off an join a nut-and-berry cult, and don’t blame anyone. We’re all at fault. Here’s a few things we can each do: have only one off-spring; buy fewer products and services; live in a small house, not a large one; stop using fossil fuels (if we are masters of our own time, it’s amazing how much can be accomplished with bikes, public transit, and walking). I know — these seem like nonsense ideas, but remember, when we suffer from cultural insanity, only the oddball ideas make sense.

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