It is the workers at the organizations I volunteer for who confirm for me that environmentalism is not about trying to use less but about trying to be more. It is not about sucking our tummies in but pushing our hearts out. Environmentalism is not about the environment. It is about people. It is about a vision for a better life - for people.
...But at the same time, I'm not sure that reducing individual resource use is the entire way forward. At root, most religious philosophies say do less harm, yes, but they also say do more good. There is a limit to how much less harm I can do. But my potential for good is unlimited. All of our potentials for good are unlimited.
The question becomes not whether we use resources but what we use them for. Do we use them to improve lives? Or do we waste them? My life itself is a resource. How shall I use it?
I went into this project wondering if I could make a difference. But the question isn't whether or not I make a difference. The question is whether I want to be the type of person who tries. We can all make a difference. We all have the responsibility to make a difference. You might think the responsibility part is oppressive, but I began this experiment, in part, as an expression of my victimhood and powerlessness. To understand that I can make a difference is so freeing.
The job is simply this: to live our lives as though we make a difference. Because, paradoxically, when we imagine we don't make a difference, that is when we do the most harm. The special interests have money on their side, but we have the people.
Colin Beavan, No Impact Man