Monday, January 7, 2008

The assignment

Finally I have a class that is worthwhile. As an assignment I was asked to write daily and keep a log of my writing. He even said that my blog counts (Thanks Dr. K). Actually I really like the philosophy, writing is one of the most powerful mediums for sharing ideas. If you cannot write and get a clear message across, it really doesn't matter how good your ideas are, nobody will ever understand them. And how do you get better at writing? By practicing. It's a wonderful assignment (not only because he asked for my blog address during class) and I am going to put my all into this assignment.

I got a couple of comments recently that I want to respond to.

First off, someone wrote about voting and said that it's a shame that people think that if they don't vote for the winner, their vote was wasted. Wow, I never realized that was a real train of thought. I can see how people might think that, but that is absolutely not the case. When I got to thinking about it, I wanted to know if there was such a thing as a wasted vote. I thought back to my vote for Perot. In the naivety of my youth, I thought that the best candidate might actually get the votes, even though he was running as an independent. I think there are too many people who only look at the democrats and republicans. So is a vote for someone other than the republican or democratic nominee a wasted vote? I think with how things are now, it might be. We have a two party system and there are not enough people who will vote outside of that to really change anything. Of course if I think the best candidate is not a democrat or a republican, but still vote for one of the two major parties so that my vote counts, I'm just contributing to the problem. I don't have a solution, but there is a definite need for an overhaul in the election process.

I also wanted to respond to a recent comment that suggested that I write about the little things I do to simplify my life and how those changes influence my family. Wow, someone wants to know what I'm doing! The thing is, there are lots of resources telling you how to "live green", but you don't know who to trust and many people aren't willing to make the simple changes. It's crazy how expensive and inconvenient it is to make changes to simplify. I would love to live off the grid someday, but I don't' have the money for solar power, I don't' have the money for a straw bale house, I don't know enough about collecting and storing water, and I am unwilling to do my laundry by hand. OK, if the rest were feasible, I would do the laundry by hand.

I think it's funny how big the global warming thing is, and people are sincerely interested, but there aren't very many practical solutions that are readily available. Oh, I know, I can change my light bulbs to CFLs or LEDs if I'm rich, I can turn the lights off when I leave the room like my mom taught me when I was little and I can drive the speed limit to save on gas, but what about real lifestyle changes that have real impacts? Well, No Impact Man did it in New York City, he just shut off the electricity and started buying local. I would not have enough money to buy local and besides there isn't anything local and organic. I don't even think I could get local vegetables out of season and I'm unwilling to give up all vegetables. I'm in a place that simply doesn't produce a variety of food. Besides that, with me working 40+ hours a week and my wife 8+ months pregnant, I'm unwilling to make her do the laundry in the bathtub while watching two boys.

My point is that I'm making the changes that I'm willing to make. Sure, some of them could be considered sacrifices, but overall they are benefiting me and my family. Others (like no washing machine) would not benefit me and my family at this point. Someday I hope that we can get there. So I'm going to write about my efforts, insufficient as they may be, and hope that someone else can benefit from it. If anyone else has ideas on simplifying, let me know. I'll either try it or make an excuse not to try it.

Tomorrow I'm going to dive into something that I've done to simplify and how it has helped my family. That will be a common theme for some time.

1 comment:

Bri-onic Man said...

I think it would be cool to have a blog dedicated to simplicity/thrift/self-reliance/conservation/etc. Perhaps you could be the alpha blogger and others (I'd volunteer) could contribute as well.