Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Small Steps To Big Change

To bring about the big changes necessary to spare us from the worst prospects of global warming, we naturally look to big ideas and new technologies to lead the way. New fleets of energy efficient cars, solar arrays spreading across every rooftop, wouldn't it be grand? Unfortunately, all these wondrous changes have yet to materialize, and there simply isn't time to wait. Change in the double digits--20%, 30% or more--has to happen now, not ten years from now.

To bring about big changes, and fast, we must preoccupy our large brains with a multitude of small things--an unused light on in the next room, wearing warmer clothes rather than cranking the heat, combining errands to reduce time on the road. During the Cold War, we thought the end would come in one fell swoop of nuclear holocaust. Now, we know the world is more likely to be undone by the accumulation of miniscule acts perpetrated by countless innocents, upstanding citizens all, as we go about our everyday business of staying fed and comfortable and entertained.

This does not mean we become small-minded. Rather, it requires seeing small acts as the expression of big ideas. In realizing that the seemingly insignificant actions that constitute much of our days are part of a very big problem, we may lose our innocence but gain a sense of personal power to change what is within our power to change, and so alter the destiny of a very large planet.

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