I love the work of Eco-philosopher Joanna Macy, whose voice was the first I heard speak of the "Great Turning." We humans are part of an extraordinary moment in history – a time of global crisis and possibility; the shift from industrial growth society to life sustaining civilization. Macy described the Great Turning as having three concurrent parts: one, stop the destruction; two, identify, develop and employ sustainable alternatives; and three – which is the tough one and the key – bring about a shift of consciousness.
It’s simple, but it’s not easy. It can be as simple as admitting that we care. Acknowledging that we do indeed care that our species continue to have a viable existence on this beautiful planet opens up all kinds of possibilities, including feeling pain and sorrow over what we – our kind, our ancestors, ourselves, I – have done to the world with our choices to date. The old adage that when we admit there’s a problem we take the first step to solving it, applies here. Open up to the sorrow, the fear, and move through it to action. I have been told that despair is not an option. I disagree. It is an option that many of us try on for awhile. It’s just not a good place to stay. Despair is what got me started my own path toward sustainable living.
When I became a parent in my mid-thirties, I somewhat typically discovered there was a whole realm of things I had never cared about for my own sake, but now that there was this cool new being I had a part in creating, my choices suddenly had new consequences. I got really, really scared about what kind of world he would grow up in. About that time I read the Joanna Macy article on the Great Turning, and realized what an opportunity, a gift it was, to be alive to take part in this shift. That’s when I realized I cared enough about conserving energy to choose a sweater and a lower temp in the house, over a t-shirt and 72 degrees on the thermostat. I recognized that I was willing to go back out to the car if I forgot to bring in bags to reuse at the store. That I now cared more about not burning gas, than about consuming whatever I would pick up with that extra trip to town. That I would seek gentle ways to share my intention and insights with others.
Above I wrote “indeed” and “to date.” Let’s keep those words in mind, and be encouraged that we are not defined by what we have done to date, and that the solution lies in our each and every deed from here on. Shift your consciousness. Move through fear, take action, seize the possibility.
My company Greener Days helps people reduce their ecological footprint. This column, "Greener Days with Sara Gordon" on The Lohasian, will help you do the same by putting to use simple, often even easy, methods I will introduce to help you choose a sustainable way of living.
See you here next time !
All good things,
For more information on Sara Gordon's Company Greener Days:
Go To www.Greenerdays.net
For more information on Eco-Philosopher Joanna Macy:
Go to www.Yesmagazine.com
Sara Gordon is the founder of Greener Days, a green coaching and buying service assisting businesses and homeowners with reduction of ecological footprints. Sara is a LEED® Accredited Professional through the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design program. She is also one of 1,000 North American Climate Ambassadors of The Climate Project and trained with Al Gore, in a team of educators and scientists, to educate citizens on environmentalism.
She is a long-time sustainability advocate and educator who works in the Conservation Planning division of the Peconic Land Trust in Southampton, and is consulting Service Learning Coordinator to the Sag Harbor School District. Sara is a member of the Long Island Climate Solutions Network, the Mayor's Task Force for the Greening of Sag Harbor, the Sag Harbor Citizens' Advisory Committee to Southampton Town, and the South Fork Chapter of the Long Island Progressive Coalition.
Sara lives in Sag Harbor, New York with her husband Geoffrey, son Sam and dog Madeline.