Monday, July 20, 2009

The power of blogging

One of my favorite bloggers, Ta-Nehisi Coates, wrote this today:

"Here is something else: Institutions are essential. But to me, writing, and the tools it depends upon (creativity, intelligence etc.), belongs to the people, not the institutions they create.

The power of blogging is that it takes back writing, it takes back public thinking, it seizes it from the bishops and archons and gives it to the people. It is the bane of credentialism. We just need more people to take up the fight in earnest. Grab your shield. Let's go."

Hey, I'm not just blogging, I'm fighting a populist battle!

All kidding aside, I wanted to write this blog because too many environmental sites I've read are either a) all about living off the land, off the grid--something unrealistic for people who live in urban communities and hold down regular jobs; or b) all about the expensive stuff--replacing all your furniture with sustainably grown wood and clothing with organically grown cotton fashion, for example--which is unrealistic for anyone on a budget.

No Impact Man is a sterling exception, because he writes about living low-impact in New York City. But after reading his blog for a while, I noticed a refrain that often came up in comments, and in my own mind--frustration when someone touts something that people should be doing to go green that many readers feel is out of their reach. I came to accept that not everything that works for one person or situation will work for another (although we can always do better). Some of it's temperament: what we're willing to do or tolerate in our quest to go green will differ from person to person. In many other cases, however, it's an issue of cost or access. So, as someone who has almost always lived and worked in urban areas and has always been on a budget, I wanted to add my voice and story about my own eco-efforts in hope that it will make a difference.

I realize that the things I do won't work for everyone. For example, I love to cook, so making my own hair and skin products is not much different. I also happened to discover a few stores here in Tacoma, such as Super Supplements, Grocery Outlet and Value Village, where I could buy natural products fairly cheaply and quality used goods (don't get me started on how much better Value Village is than the local Goodwill back in Boston). I know that not everyone has such stores in their area. I also have a car to use to travel to these places, and to a lesser extent, the bus (it would take a few hours of walk and transit, but it's doable)--again, not everyone has those options either. So if anyone is reading this and thinks, "But I can't do that for x, y or z reason" -- it's OK, I understand. I just want to offer my voice among many others, and if it can help someone else, I'm happy.

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