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Wednesday, June 21, 2006

WEEKLY Q: Big green statements?

What is the single biggest greenest positive statement I could make? What action could I do to send the most upbeat cityhippy message to the world?

And it cannot be a negative like NOT flying.

Buying organic? Switching to green energy? Gotta be something even bigger than that.

All too often the green message is about what we should not do. Lets give people things they can do...and the bigger the impact for the least amount of input the better.




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At 2:04 AM, Blogger baloghblog said...

off the top of my head, I would have to say the biggest positive impact that one could have (although, I am not sure about it being the "least invested") would be:

Teach our children well.

Imagine, a full LIFETIME of green living. Children given a positive, green example in their lives must be much more likely to continue those practices as they grow into adulthood. Children also rub off on their friends (yes, there must be some sort of positive peer-pressure...)

Wherever you have the opportunity to influence kids, try to set a shining positive example on how to treat the earth with respect, and to be responsible for your actions.

Although 1/3 to (gasp) 1/2 of our lives may have passed, we have the ability to affect the earth positively for many years beyond our passing.

This is the biggest green statement that I think that one could make.

At 9:39 PM, Blogger City Hippy said...

Yeah very good point...and as a new father this weighs heavy on my mind at all times.

What about immediate statements though that I could make this week?

What is the biggest loudest statement I could make by the end of the weekend? ;)

Any thoughts?



At 9:20 AM, Anonymous sonia said...

Baloghblog has a great point - and we don't have to wait till we have our own kids. there are kids everywhere! kids and the environment go really well together - as adults we've kind of 'weaned' ourselves out of the enchantment kids get from their surroundings.

back in the distant days when i was 15, i got involved with recycling and promoting the idea as well as trying to push for some recycling facilities in the school i went to. although it was generally quite a 'new' thing then all the kids were really keen. we did the usual sponsored walks etc. to raise some money and awareness, but the imp. thing is that it all stayed with me and has made a big difference to the person i am now.

At 10:12 PM, Blogger City Hippy said...

Hi Sonia

Thanks for the comment.

I think it is very important for us all to help other adults see the variety of options they can offer their kids. As well as show our own kids. And if you work with kids then engaging with them on the issues is a must for sure. Also when my son gets older I look forward to encouraging his pals to care too. So many to make an impact on the future generation.

Also engaging with our world as children (do we ever grow up?) is a good step towards repescting it all over again.

And finally your point about the impact it had on you as a youngster is right on...positive eco happenings affect kids immensely. As do negative happenings.



At 12:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The greenest thing anybody can do is to help stop maltreatment of children worldwide. In America, they grow up with hatred never aimed. It affects us all countless ways: the environment, safety, love, ................

Abuse is generational. I wrote a novel to help stop it: "Rarity from the Hollow." A percentage of any proceeds will prevent child abuse in West Virginia where I work as a Therapist in a children's mental health program. More than that, the novel will bond readers to the cause. Please promote and help in any way you can. Robert Eggleton


At 4:14 PM, Blogger etbnc said...

Good stuff. I like the emphasis on positive values. I think that's the most effective way to engage people long enough to even begin to influence their values.

I spend a lot of time thinking about crafting messages for particular audiences. I have yet to see "The One" message/sentence/sound bite/bumper-sticker that works every time for every person. So I think more in terms of a collection of messages that express a framework of healthy values.

"Teach our children well" fits that framework. As y'all commented, it implicitly requires us to engage adults, too, especially parents.

I'm starting to use "Share what you care about" with some folks. I think that expresses the same value system as teaching our children well.

For folks who respond well to brief checklists, I'm experimenting with a variation: "Care. Share. Focus."

I'm also trying out a new cocktail-party sort of question as a way to try to engage people:

How would we live if the phrase, "And we all live happily ever after..." began a new story?

Perhaps that's another way to suggest, "Imagine a full lifetime of green living."

I think this is all part of an important public dialog. Thanks for sharing it!



At 8:06 AM, Anonymous Jane said...

I would say that literally encouraging everyone to do their bit, no matter how small, has an enormous impact. Get people to think about what they can do to help the environment.

This week a friend commented that she didn't really have the space to recycle as she's in a small flat - my response as to team up with the other residents and use a space in the communal area to store the recycling ready for the council to collect it - it'll take 10 mins of her time but make a big difference (especially if it gets her neighbours recycling more as well - that will be 6 flats)

At 6:03 AM, Anonymous Jennifer Killpack-Knutsen said...

Hi Al,

this post really got me thinking a few weeks ago. I came up with an idea and I'm not sure if this is what you mean by big statement, but it works for me at this level here

The idea is to promote a big campaign for Christmas to get as many people as possible to buy their adult loved ones CFLs for Christmas, which would decrease CO2 and educate at the same time.

Anyway, just thought you might be interested in where your question led me.


At 4:46 PM, Blogger dirtworks_organics said...

Teching yours / or others children is an excellent idea...

One thing you can do - forvive the plug here - is to visit (and and check out and buy the organic lawn and garden supplies, natural pest control products (safe for pets and children too) as well as biodegradeable plastic bags for use in all applications - we've got tons of stuff that work just as well in the city or the country, the home or the farm.

PS has organic and hand made spoaps and lotions, and other great stuff to bring small company made all-natural stuff into your life on a daily basis.

At 2:37 AM, Blogger robert eggleton said...

I Owe One to Robert Eggleton
By Evelyn Somers, The Missouri Review

Earlier this year I was contacted by a first-time novelist asking if I would review his forthcoming e-book. If people knew how many requests of this kind editors get, they would understand that out of self-preservation we sometimes . . . well, I ignored it.

Robert tried again. There was something in the tone of his e-mail. Clearly this mattered to him. So I said yes, I’d take a look, though I didn’t think we could review Rarity From the Hollow. This is all fogged somewhat in memory: in the months since then our magazine moved its office, I was hospitalized for a cat bite (yes, they’re dangerous!), we’ve published several issues, read hundreds of manuscripts, I went to Africa, etc., etc. But as I recall, Robert sent me the first chapter, which begins with two impoverished schoolgirls (from the Hollow of the title) studying together and spelling the word for an adult sex toy. It was quirky, profane, disturbing. I said I’d look at the book, not entirely sure what I could do to help.

He sent me the whole thing. I read portions of the book, which is subtitled “A Lacy Dawn Adventure,” after the girl protagonist, Lacy Dawn. I liked Lacy, who lives in a world of poverty, classmates with precocious sexual knowledge and/or experience, unemployed men, worn-down women and cruelty so casual that it’s more knee-jerk than intentional. Maybe I was just too bothered by the content, but at a certain point I knew I just couldn’t do anything. Time was nonexistent.

So I deleted the book.

Robert contacted me again, and I got soft. You see, there was something about the whole project in general. Robert is a social worker who has spent at least a portion of his career working with child-abuse victims in Appalachia. The book was partly about that, and mostly very strange. In the Hollow, Lacy takes up with an android named DotCom, from “out of state,” which really means out of this world. Under DotCom’s wing, she decides that she will “save” her family. Little does she know she will end up saving the universe. Robert was donating the proceeds from sales to help child-abuse victims.

Robert is not a kid; he’s maybe my age, maybe older. This wasn’t about youthful ambition, vanity and reputation. It was about some kind of personal calling. I believe in those. I also believe in people who are driven to get their writing out there to an audience, through whatever venue. The e-book idea intrigued me. The earnestness of the appeal got to me. Send the book again, I said. He did. It’s still on my hard drive. (I suppose I should delete it, since I haven’t paid for it.)

Robert kept after me. If I liked it, could I write a blurb? Yeah, of course. I was fund-raising for my African trip (a Habitat build), teaching, editing, raising three kids. But who isn’t busy? We set our own priorities. I put Robert and his book lower than some other things, which really wasn’t fair because I said I would do something, and I didn’t.

And it has bothered me. Here’s another thing people don’t know about editors. They sometimes have consciences about books/stories/poems/whatever that they’ve allowed to get lost or neglected in the shuffle of what amounts to thousands of pages.

So I’m belatedly giving Rarity From the Hollow a plug. Among its strengths are an ultra-convincing depiction of the lives, especially the inner lives, of the Appalachian protagonists. The grim details of their existence are delivered with such flat understatement that at times they almost become comic. And just when you think enough is enough, this world is just too ugly, Lacy’s father (who is being “fixed” with DotCom’s help) gets a job and Lacy, her mother and her dog take off for a trip to the mall “out of state” with Lacy’s android friend, now her “fiancé” (though as Lacy’s mother points out, he doesn’t have any private parts, not even “a bump.”) In the space between a few lines we go from hardscrabble realism to pure sci-fi/fantasy. It’s quite a trip.

Rarity is published by FatCat Press, which has other e-books for sale as well. You can find it at The blurb on the website says in part:

Lacy Dawn is a true daughter of Appalachia, and then some. She lives in a hollow with her mom, her Vietnam Vet dad, and her mutt Brownie, a dog who's very skilled at laying fiber-optic cable. Lacy Dawn's android boyfriend, DotCom, has come to the hollow with a mission. His equipment includes infomercial videos of Earth's earliest proto-humans from millennia ago. DotCom has been sent by the Manager of the Mall on planet Shptiludrp: he must recruit Lacy Dawn to save Earth, and they must get a boatload of shopping done at the mall along the way. Saving Earth is important, but shopping – well, priorities are priorities.

Yes, priorities are. I should have had mine in order. Robert Eggleton’s book deserves your attention. Check it out.


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