Monday, October 15, 2007

Blog Action Day!

So today is Blog Action Day, a day devoted to unifying the blogosphere on a single topic: the environment. At The Story Game, we don’t talk about issues like that too often, and we probably won’t start, being all story/writing-centric, but the environment is an issue we both feel very strongly about. Our father (yes, “our,” we really are brothers), a great man, was the editor-in-chief of one of the nation’s leading government-run wildlife publications, and he instilled in us two major passions: writing and the outdoors. We talk about writing a lot, so here’s a chance for us to talk about our other love. (by the way, we learned of this bandwagon a little late, so if this post seems a bit disoriented, it’s mainly because I am writing it at work while guardedly checking over my shoulder to make sure the overlords don’t catch on.)

The beauty of the world is in life. For me, all the magnificence of the cosmos pales in comparison to the miracle of a clump of algae clinging to the leeward side of a rock in a stream. I think a lot of us on the environmentalist side share this viewpoint, and we beat our heads against the wall to see others who don’t. We think, “why is it that no one else sees things this way?”

But here’s the secret: Most people do. Most people put value in nature. Many industries are finding that people, a lot of people, will actually pay a premium for environmental benefit, even when that benefit is non-obvious. Most people want to do right by the environment. But they don’t know how, or it’s too easy not to, or hasn’t really been made relevant in their lives. Look at the success we’ve had with recycling: everyone recycles. In the US at least, it’s gotten to the point where recycling is such a success that few people even think of it anymore—it’s part of the background. Other things work the same way: phasing out incandescent lightbulbs, switching to reusable canvas grocery bags. I’ve heard the most unlikely people (conservatives, no less. Average, man-on-the-street conservatives!) tell me about the benefits unplugging your phone charger when you’re done with it. These things actually do make a huge difference, and they’re things people will do, all people will do, if the environment is right.

The enemy of the environmentalist is inertia. Why don’t people use canvas grocery bags? Because they’re weird, and the plastic bags is normal. But put it on Oprah (they have) and suddenly canvas bags start spreading the nation. Anti-environmental groups/industries prey on this by creating the image that environmentalism is for wackos and fringe freaks, and everything’s fine on the normal. And environmental groups help them, by being wacky, condescending, and freakish.

So here’s my proposal: you don’t have to stop showering and start eating tofu to be an environmentalist. You don’t have to change your life totally to love the environment. Let’s all just start with one little thing. There are a ton to choose from. I’ll choose one, you choose one, and let’s make it a pact to do it from now on, and to mention it to the people around us—but let’s say it in a “hey, did you know?” type of way, not a preachy “why aren’t you doing this” type of way. Go Green, it rocks! Or something not as dorky.

So here’s mine: I’m adopting the thermostat rule. From now on, I’m turning my thermostat three degrees down in winter, three up in summer. And I’m a guy who likes his comfortable temperatures. But is that hard? Hell no; why shouldn’t we do it? And next year, we’ll pick a new one. And then another. And then another. And so in small ways, we’ll change the world. So that’s my goal, what’s yours?

Oh, and buy a Solio. Why? Well, a) they’re really freakin’ awesome, and b) because my friend friend Mike left the Orange County DLC to join this company, and if he thinks it's better than the OC, it must rock. So do it. I will. And a merry Blog Action Day to all! Blog bless us, every one!


At 2:44 PM, Anonymous Carrie said...

I’m turning my thermostat three degrees down in winter, three up in summer

Notice he doesn't consult the person he lives with :) Actually, I'll do you one better. We have an electric thermostat (came with the house). According to my sister, they are easy easy to install and not that expensive. So we can set ours to kick on the heat only when we're home (leaving the cats to freeze, but that's what they have the coats for!). I think it's a great way to regulate energy use because you don't have to remember to turn up/down/on/off the thermostat.


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