Thursday, May 24, 2007
Reconciling Discouragement With Hope
For some reason, it has been really hard for me to write about sustainability since we got back from Southern California a couple of weeks ago. I guess it was just so disheartening being in the land of 12-lane freeways and drive-thru everything, my little happy bubble got popped for awhile. It's easy, when you live where I do, to believe that most people are interested in and striving for sustainability, that people really do think about the consequences of their actions, that change is starting to happen. And perhaps it is, still. I know things have to start at the grassroots level, and I know that every little bit helps and as those little bits join together, real change can happen.
The irony, of course, is not lost on me. We went to Southern California to do the whole Disney thing. The kids love it, I love it, my mom has just retired and hasn't been to Disneyland since I was ten, so she has really been looking forward to going there with the kids. And we totally had a blast. It's almost blasphemy around here to admit that you like Disneyland, but despite the fact that it is a wholly commercialized mecca, I still check my sense of reality at the gate every single time and have a great time. So we were there to soak up the total commercial experience, I don't know why it would be so shocking to encounter everything that goes with that.
I guess it's strange to think how far outside the mainstream norm your everyday life is. We went by a McDonald's one day for lack of time and opportunity to find a different restaurant. Got a meal to go and went down to the beach to eat. I was just shocked when we were done by how much garbage there was left over. Big plastic clamshells from the salads and napkins and boxes and plastic forks and all. And of course not even any recycling to put it in to mitigate even a fraction of it. Taking that big bag of stuff and throwing it in a trashcan felt so awful. It was about as much garbage as our family generates in a week - seriously! And then thinking of that multiplied by all the fast food meals sold in an hour in this country, well, I felt like crying.
So right now I'm trying not to feel hopeless, trying to get back into that happy bubble and do what I know I need to do: change the things I can, work towards bringing change to the world around me, walk on the path I want to be walking on.