Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Introducing Ethics to Action

I am leaving my corporate job and moving from Seattle to Ellensburg, WA. I no longer wish to support a system that does not reflect my values; in fact, a system that stands in antithesis to my values. I cannot express the depth of my relief at getting out of this job and company, however much I personally care about and appreciate some of the individuals with whom I work. Living in a small town will give me the peace of mind I have been craving for years, and while there are myriad personal reasons for my move, the main thing is that I need to create a lifestyle that is an outward expression of my deeply held values. I will be better equipped to live with a lighter footprint in a place like Ellensburg.

I realize not everyone can make a change like this ... but a couple of months ago I would have also included myself in this category. I thought I was stuck until the perfect circumstances would release me. In the throes of an epiphany I realized that the power to determine the course of my life resides in me, not in outside factors. And since that moment, everything has fallen into place. Whether you believe in God or destiny, or nothing but what you see with your own eyes, the fact is your beliefs and intentions are extraordinarily powerful and will shape your reality as surely as the weather or the material objects around you.

That's why it is so important to believe that our actions and intentions will save this planet and our future generations.

Do not underestimate your capacity for choice and change. The drive for a better and lasting world will sustain you even when you think you lack power, knowledge, or influence.

I recently sent out this email to friends and family:

"As I'm trying to be more mindful of preserving the environment and living with as little impact as possible, I respectfully ask that you not send gifts or cards for my birthday and Christmas. You are welcome of course to send e-cards and e-mail, that way I get to hear from you and not a single tree was touched!

I will not be giving material gifts or cards either ... but what I do look forward to is sharing time and experiences with you. Also, here are some charities whose causes are close to my heart, if you are interested in making a donation:

Rebuild Green - an organization dedicated to rebuilding New Orleans in an ecologically sustainable manner
Friends of the Earth - "Friends of the Earth champions a healthy planet and a just world."
Mr. Holland's Opus Foundation - helps provide musical instruments and supplies to underfunded music programs throughout the U.S.
Organic Consumers - "Campaigning for Food Safety, Organic Agriculture, Fair Trade & Sustainability."

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has."
- Margaret Mead

Thank you for your understanding and your involvement in creating a sustainable future for generations to come. "

In general, I've had very supportive responses. As the holidays are approaching, ask yourself how you define need and want. Ask yourself if social obligation justifies the purchase of products unnecessary to survival, which may sit in landfills without degrading for millenia to come. You know how your house suddenly seems too small for all your stuff and you have to purge? The Earth has nowhere to purge. This great big beautiful house is the only one on the block and there's no transfer station or thrift store to take our waste. Let's restore and preserve the bounty which existed before us.


At 2:42 PM, Blogger T-Bone_Jones said...

Beautiful post. Very encouraging. Thank you.

At 11:02 PM, Blogger Siel said...

Hey SustainableGirl -- Really happy to have discovered you. I haven't gone so far as to keep gifts from coming my way, but I have certainly rethought the kind of gifts I give and ask for. A membership to Sierra Club, for example, could get you and a friend to share hiking memories, while the gesture of the gift can, you know, express one's appreciation of the friendship :)

And one can never gift too much fair trade coffee :)

But I see where you're coming from. The crap disguised as xmas gifts I get from some people sometimes makes me consider writing similar letters --

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