Tuesday, October 14, 2008

APLS October Carnival - Education

The APLS (Affluent Persons Living Sustainably) Carnival for October is about education. How do you educate yourself about sustainable living? How do you pass that knowledge on to others? Do you educate your family members and friends? Are you a member of environmental organizations? Do you do volunteer work? After reading my entry, why not check out the others at the APLS site. We’re a great basket of thoughtful people.

Education is my middle name. My mother must have given birth to me in a library. And I bet I came out hugging a book.

My answer for everything is – read up on it! So it’s natural that my way into the green world is through the written word. Almost everything I’m reading right now is about the many facets of sustainability.

My daily morning websurfing gives me the opportunity to research who the authentic leaders are. What’s global warming, what’s the big deal about weather and CO, what grows in my zone. My information base grows exponentially. What are the issues, the key words, and then what do I think about it all.

But woman does not grow by words alone. Eventually it’s time to move into the action stage – cloth napkins, composting, shutting off the lights/AC, growing herbs and veggies, baking bread. I started a blog and then pulled out the family digital camera, which I had been deliberately avoiding, and learned how to use it so I could put photos into the blog.

Then I start looking for others who are on the same path. We joined a synagogue that has a strong social action element. So when I heard that they were ramping up their green team, well, I couldn’t call the office fast enough to connect with the rabbi in charge of the committee. We met and schmoozed about community building. Now the green team is set to gear up next month after the summer recess. What will we do? I don’t know but I’m so excited anticipating that first meeting. I welcome finding a group because there’s strength and hope in numbers. Plus it’s more fun.

With my eyes open, I notice things like classes and speakers. This girl loves a good lecture. So next week I’m going to hear Ed Begley, Jr. speak about Energy Efficiency for the New Millennium, an event I read about in our local weekly newspaper. Last weekend I took a 2-day class on permaculture that I found while browsing the website of a county-wide sustainability organization.

I don’t go out of my way to educate my family. Pronouncements usually don’t work. So I guess I use role modeling and talking about what I’ve learned at the dinner table. It does work. My younger (16 yr old) daughter wants to join me at a Habitat for Humanity event. Does that not set your parental heart aflutter?

Right after Hurricane Katrina, my older daughter, a high school senior at the time, organized her friends in a collection drive of much needed emergency items. Maybe her efforts came from watching me write checks to the Red Cross whenever there was an earthquake absolutely anywhere in the world. (We live in earthquake country. I shudder whenever I read about fellow earthquake survivors and need to send help.)

To nudge my husband in a more eco direction, I set up a big plastic container for the kitchen recycling. I sewed up cloth napkins and put them out in a basket on the counter. I brought home documentaries like King Corn and made him watch them for our weekly movie night. Well, that one might have been a tad pushy. But he did enjoy it a lot.

I don’t try to convert friends. I just schlep my monster stainless steel water bottle around. When you slam one of those suckers on the table it gets attention and discussions seem to come up naturally.

For me, education is how I interact with the world. Learning is why we’re here. Nothing makes me feel happier or richer than coming home from the library with a stack of books. Free, legal and nonfattening. Such a deal.


Daphne said...

I tend to be a big reader too. One of the other carnival posters was talking about how she didn't read about things first but just jumped right in. I definitely read and research before I do anything.

Green Bean said...

"I just schlep my monster stainless steel water bottle around. When you slam one of those suckers on the table it gets attention and discussions seem to come up naturally." That's hilarous! I totally do that too. In fact, I was lucky enough to get one at Slow Food Nation which yells out SLOW FOOD NATION. I'll slam it on the counter and just smile. Even if no one comments on it, you know everyone is looking.

Bobbi said...

Thanks for the comments folks. Daphne, I'm working on myself to read less, do more. Pumping up the activist muscle. Though I never leave the house without my current read. Green Bean, do we like to get in people's faces just a little? You betcha!