My Intentional Life

By | Sunday, August 29, 2010 3 comments
Grist recently (last month) started publishing a webcomic called My Intentional Life which is billed as "somewhat true stories of attempted sustainability in the city."

While I'm one of, if not the most 'green' person I personally know, that's not saying a whole lot. I know of many things I could do to help the environment more than I am. I drive a hybrid car... but I could try harder to find a way to not drive at all. I reuse and recycle everything I can think of... but there are probably more ways I haven't thought of to reuse things. I probably could make my own compost and grow my own garden if really worked hard at it, but I think I'm pretty terrible with plants. I try not to buy things I don't need, but I still want to live comfortably, and I like a good comfy sofa. I'd love to install solar panels in my home, but the upfront costs are beyond my immediate cash flow just now.

I'm interested in the subject for two reasons. First, I think we as a planet need to live much more sustainably to ensure our continued survival. Second, and of more immediate and direct concern, it's more efficient and, therefore, more cost-effective over the long term. It's because of that second reason -- that practical viewpoint -- that I try to keep up with reading about green issues. I take what ideas I can that make sense for me and incorporate them into my life.

So with that in mind, plus my long-standing interest in comics, that I'm pleased to see a comic ABOUT trying to live more sustainably. It's been a little slow-starting so far, but it still looks promising and I hope to gain some additional practical insights about living a more holistic life. I'm giving them a shout-out here in the hopes that you'll get some insights too.

Go check out My Intentional Life.
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Anonymous said...

Hey, thumbs up on trying to do your part to be green! - jfbauer

Matt K said...

You point up one of the problems with the popular "do your bit" perspective on environmental issues: the fact that, if one follows "use/consume/do less" to its logical conclusion, one should basically just stop breathing.

And of course, even then, the results will be a drop in the bucket. Meanwhile, I think most people can see these problems and the mantra of "use/consume/do less" ends up undermining the whole concept of environmentalism, and becoming counterproductive.

As you point out, some things make sense for an individual, in the short term, for other reasons (I have a lot of "furniture" made from cardboard boxes, but more out of thrift than out of a desire to save trees). Other things make sense for an individual over a longer time horizon but require a big upfront cash outlay. And then other things will simply never make sense, from an individual economic point of view, so long as the full costs (e.g. pollution) of various alternatives are spread out over society instead of built into the price tag.

I'm deeply concerned about all these issues, but I don't see the challenge as one of trying to "minimize one's foot print" by doing as little as possible. Rather I see it as one of figuring out how to do as much as possible, how to live as richly as possible, within a "budget" rather than running up an ecological debt.

Unfortunately the latter concept still doesn't really become practical unless everyone is involved, which requires things like collective agreements and mandates, and America is pretty much in a perpetually unreceptive mood when it comes to these things.


Anonymous said...

You should bike around the office. J