=> shaking up my routine
=> winning an extra two hours a day to “do something else”
=> challenging the values conveyed by the mass media
As you have seen, up to now I’ve mostly shared eco-friendly tips with you. How to reduce my impact as a consumer? How to reduce the energy I use as I surf the web? How do I reduce my daily water consumption? That many topics and more that I addressed on this website through simple straightforward tips and tricks to follow.
Don’t panic: I will continue in this direction, and I sincerely think that change is more the result of daily practical decisions than it is a long-winded ideological battle between opposing camps. Today I’m really inspired by Pierre Rhabi and his tale of the Hummingbird, doing its share of the work, a tiny share perhaps, but the share that it can do as it is and with what it has (time, money, energy, experience, etc).
But that can be challenged: can small-scale common-sense eco-friendly habits actually revert the trend? Yes, they can: it’s just the first thread from a ball of yarn that we will unravel together. But also, no, they can’t: the way our society is organized destroys instead of creating, abuses instead of nurturing, and we will have to change all that to reinvent a model that focuses on mankind’s well-being while caring for our planet and all its inhabitants.
Okay… Where is this leading… You’re asking yourselves, “so what can we do about it?” Simple: we push on! We keep learning to own up to our moves, our decisions, our purchases, our reading, our travels. The question “Why” is a weapon of mass appropriation that we can use as soon as possible.
If we want to be change-makers, we must interrupt those practices that we haven’t consciously adopted, but took on because we somehow followed the flow. From my point of view it starts with one of the most time-consuming of daily activities: TV.
Yep: we French average more than 2 hours of television time daily. 2 hours a day listening to things we hadn’t planned to listen to, and seeing things we hadn’t planned to see. So much advertising conveying messages and values that we start believing even against our will. So many news topics, carefully selected and unabashedly biased, which shape our response and alter our understanding of the world as events unfold. If I take this along a bit further, I remember an image saying there were two washing-machines in our houses. One to laundry wash, and another to brainwash.
So here is your challenge, everyone! Stop TV! Period. Turn its face against the wall, and get something else done with your days for a fortnight, just to break the habit. Does that mean doing away with it altogether? Not in the least! A television, like most human inventions, can be used both in bad and in good. At times it is the epitome of human stupidity, at times it reveals the best in people and spreads culture and nurtures relationships.
So the real ambition is to successfully master our behavior as consumers as we watch television. I was lucky, I spent more than 4 years with no television during the stints I did as a volunteer in various countries, so the transition went unnoticed for me. But I can testify as to how much having changed my behavior on this particular topic has changed my way of seeing the world and being a part of it. More on tomorrow’s episode of ItAllStartsWithMe…