5 thoughts on “Is personal lifestyle change effective?”

  1. I think the math here comes down to a simple issue of possibility. As in: "What is it possible for you, personally, to accomplish towards the end of improving society."

    Becoming the change you wish to see in the world is a necessary precursor to fighting for social change -- I'm sure we all remember hearing about Al Gore's energy-INefficient home -- it makes him look hypocritical for asking everyone else to take that same issue seriously.

    The author is correct that personal change ALONE may not change the world -- but for some people, it's all we have. I have a family of four now; It is not feasible to think that I could go to work for Public Citizen, or spend lots of time & resources lobbying (or fighting against lobbyists). I call my Rep / Senator when I can (if the issue matters to me) and I try to spread awareness and stay informed about the things I care about.

    But what I AM capable is hardly futile -- at the very least, I am reducing my contribution to exacerbating the problem.

  2. thanks for your treatment of the jensen essay. i read it some time back but didn't take much time to reflect on it.... as one who has been tilting at large corporations all the while being part of them -- i'm totally frustrated at this point in time.... the particular corporation and industry i work for now -- is chillingly fascist -- i offer this not as a euphemism but as a statement of fact....it disturbs me deeply --- cause this isn't what i signed up for....

    the feedback i get from colleagues at my feeble and passive aggressive attempts at confrontation is: "right on man", "keep doing what you are doing" .....

    how to change the beast? by law, the CEO is beholden to the shareholder -- else they find themselves out of work -- a couple weeks back I was able to attend a phenomenal lecture by economist john ikerd.... one of the key take-aways he left me with -- in regard to creating a sustainable future -- is the need to cleave corporations from politics and strip corporations from "person-hood." needless to say i am left feeling even more hopeless: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=122805666

    i find myself over time becoming more polarized and sympathetic towards jensens line of thinking -- but simultaneously terrified of where the trail of his thinking leads....

    the only possible out i see -- is re-creating worker owned coops and corporations -- whereby the workers own the means of production (not likely with the means of production being so massive and $$$$)

    miss you, thanks for letting me vent 🙂

  3. The last question -- Is personal lifestyle change worthwhile and effective? -- struck me as a particularly American and western question. The whole notion of "personal lifestyle change" brings the focus on the self, the I, the ego. Embracing this as a credo can often make of the embracer a self-satisfied smug-let.

    And that further alienates those who don't, or can't, make said "personal lifestyle changes."

    I'd much prefer we do something a little less egocentric. At least call what we do by a less self-centered name. Take out the "I" but in the "we." That would make this middle aged cynic very happy.

  4. Thanks to all for reading and commenting!

    Aaron: thanks for your comments. Re Al Gore, this touches on my point nicely: he may be a hypocrite, but does that necessarily make him any less effective? Does his considerable personal resources make him even more effective in some regard?

    Cheech: I'm grateful for your work, frustrating as it may be. Maybe you would find some relief in exploring the terrifying trail more fully, if only to convince yourself that it's not what's right for you?

    Jean: you obviously weren't standing over my shoulder when I wrote and then cut out the two paragraphs of guilty disclaimers about what a privilege it is to even be able to ask these questions, let alone do something about it. And yet, as American and Western as the questions may be, they still feel important to me - after all, aren't the small lot of us responsible for a good lot of the destruction and chaos in the world right now?

    Chris

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