Is personal lifestyle change effective?

Tree of LifeIs working hard to make personal changes in our lives, especially when it comes to living sustainably, a futile effort in the face of all the other kinds of unsustainable things going on in the world?  Is personal lifestyle change effective?

I've asked a version of this question before: Must we become the change we wish to see in the world? You can maybe tell that there's a theme here - impactful personal lifestyle change is not often convenient, and sometimes it is downright scary.  But that's not a reason not to spend as much energy and time as it takes to try to live more sustainably, right?  Change has to happen with each person individually before we can expect the system to change, right?

Or does it?

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On life without cable television

9th Ward RailroadFor over a year now, I've been living well without cable or broadcast television in my life.  I thought I would share some thoughts on how that transition has gone, and some pointers to tools and technologies you might be interested in if you're on a similar path.

(Disclaimer: I'm not here to tell you how to live, but my general sense is that the world would be a better place if people didn't spend their time watching television.  Period.  That said, and the reality of TV watching as a cultural norm firmly in place for now, I continue with my narrative.)

The end of channel surfing

The first stage in my transition away from "watching TV" was to get free of the notion that my schedule should ever revolve around the schedule of TV broadcasters.

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Waiving fees on charitable donations to Haiti

Moon Over MonteleoneA few petitions and e-mail campaigns have been circulating that demand financial institutions waive their processing fees for the handling of donations to help relief efforts in Haiti, following the earthquake there last week.  Some of the requests that I've gotten have expressed irritation that fees are charged at all on charitable giving transactions of any sort.

While I commend the efforts of those who are seeking to maximize the funds that have a direct impact on the actual aid work, I'm not sure that this particular request makes sense to me.

First, a little background on how processing fees work:

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Feedback results, a new year of blogging

I HappyWelcome to my first blog post of 2010.  I didn't expect that my hiatus would be over a month long, but here I am in mid-January.

Thanks to those of you who took the time to complete my blog feedback survey at the end of 2009 - it was really helpful in understanding how my regular readers see the blog.  From the responses I received, here are the highlights:

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