Nudging the Clouds: Blog Action Day 09

15 Oct

Today is Blog Action Day. For one day each year, the folks at invite bloggers everywhere to unite around action on an important topic in the world. Today, there’s nothing more important and scary than climate change. There are crazy big changes coming that will effect the life of everyone on this planet, and much of it was done by us. We didn’t mean to screw things up, we didn’t even realize we were doing it. But now we know, and now we can change.

So, how do we change our behaviors–the way we go about everything–in one big swoop? We can’t. Humans have designed and built a society and life infrastructure that doesn’t work without messing up countless ecosystems, from our own bodies to our backyard to the other side of planet Earth. Reconstructing those social and built norms is like trying to push a cloud with our hands. It would be easier to just say screw it.

That would be normal. After all, despite overwhelming evidence that all those Big Macs and desk jobs and video games and chemical cocktails in our food are killing us, we keep up behaviors that doctors tell us will give us cancer or a heart attack or some other disease. Over and over again. It seems there are only two things that can change that kind of normal behavior:

  1. We have some sort of deadly health event that scares the crap out of us, and forces us to change or die, or
  2. We join some sort of program because of an incentive (my friend is doing it, I’ll be in front of a bunch of people at my wedding soon, my boss will give me perks to do it, I will win some contest, etc.).

The thing is, with climate change, we haven’t seen those deadly events yet. Or at least the cause and effect connection hasn’t been obvious enough. And so far, we haven’t been able to agree on enough incentives. so that means it’s up to me and you–we can change the world by changing our own behavior. More precisely, by changing our behavior in ways that really make a difference, AND won’t really mess up our life. Little things. Everyday things that love the Earth a little more. Nudging the clouds.

Here are three free ways to start nudging:

  1. To get started, try the No Impact Experiment. It’s a free one week plan to eliminate the biggest baddest stuff from your life, one thing each day for one week. Just try it for a week.
  2. Or, if you want to change little things over time, Green Groove is a neat little service that helps you create your own custom withdrawl plan, and you can choose if you want to make it easy, medium or hard.
  3. Finally, my favorite is Do the Green Thing, where you can watch funny (and sometimes shocking) videos teaching you how to do seven green things that are simple and fun. Here’s my favorite: Human Heat (tasteful nudity alert).


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Posted by on October 15, 2009 in activism, Food, global warming, Mother Earth


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