August 27, 2010

Why I shouldn’t write for Elephant Journal

I’m ‘that’ guy. The ‘centrist’. The one who is happily a Democrat, but only slightly left of center when it comes to business and taxes. The Boulderite who admittedly has varying degrees of eco-bling and eco-baubles including a bunch of bikes, a sustainable house built of reclaimed materials, and yet I love cars, motorcycles and actually do work for a few manufacturers of said items.

Yes, I’m the one that EJ readers like to occasionally take a potshot at. In fact, I took a few tough shots after an article on my really big truck where I was taken to task both publicly and privately. I enjoyed the debate but it did leave a slightly bitter taste in my mouth. Here’s why:

I admit I love do-gooding. I love that consciousness is shifting now. I love that what used to be called left wing rhetoric is finally finding a more mainstream audience.  But I also abhor the attitudes inside many of the social activism circles I intersect with and occasionally participate in.

In fact, here’s my (organically raised) beef:  Goes like this:

WTF people?! The Elephant Journal cannot be about just talking to our own communities and like-minded people. It needs to cultivate outside circles and interests as well. The ones that are not, shall we say, very palatable to many of the readers.

Like my circle of friends who have families with 3+ kids and drive gas-guzzling mini-vans 20,000 miles a year to limo them around to the 5 sports practices per year per kid. Or my constituents who run large companies that have anemic sustainability blueprints at best.

We’re not going to wake up one day, look outside and see the planet cooling back down, everyone on their bikes with their cars left abandoned in the streets, Monsanto miraculously shut down… or electric 747’s humming in the skies, and then pat ourselves on the back that all our rhetoric actually somehow seismically shifted the Universal paradigm overnight because we yelled a lot and/or concentrated really really hard.

The truth as we all know it, is that it’s going to take incremental steps. And incremental steps take hard work. And it will take, dare I say, diplomacy. And diplomacy takes time. Time we know we don’t really have. But alas, it has to happen this way. Anger and finger-pointing ain’t gonna cut it.

So I’m that guy. The one who does a lot of activities and runs businesses that aren’t always 100% environmentally perfect and in line with the EJ ethos. While my cumulative driving mileage is down from 14,000 to less than 10,000 miles/year, given my own increase in bicycle usage, I still fly in polluting airplanes all over the place to get my business done. And I probably buy and consume products that aren’t always locally sourced or produced when I’m on the road. But I’m that guy who just might be able to influence the influencers, and the large companies they run.

My own personal environmentally-conscious gains are in fact incremental, yet they are significant compared to where I was even 3 years ago. And back then I even owned a hybrid. But my own experience is the one that needs to be amplified to a larger audience. And I’ll do it with or without writing for EJ. So people, shall we talk amongst ourselves? Or should we talk to the world? If it’s ourselves, then I submit my resignation. If we want Elephant Journal to face our voice outward, to set an example that we don’t have to live off the grid to prove a point, and that we/you will welcome those who will sign up and commit for systematic and methodical incremental gains, then what the hell, I’m in.

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