Transitions

Since starting this blog nearly four years ago, I have explored ideas on sustainability, living simply, ethically and well, and established a set of guiding principles reflecting the unique Environmental Warrior ethos. These guidelines include accepting we cannot live in the world without making an impact, reducing our impact by taking responsibility for our choices, accepting the consequences of our actions, knowing we are in a reciprocal relationship with life, expressing gratitude for our gifts, being a positive role model for environmentally conscious behaviour, and finding a healthy balance between opposing extremes of excess and over-consumption, and denial and deprivation.

Creating a new environmental ethos

My personal journey has been one of discovery, synchronicity and serendipity. It has been an exciting, joyful and inspiring experience, but also a sad, depressing and frustrating one, fraught with diversions and backward steps.

I wanted to explore my options for living a sustainable life and educate myself on the broad ideas and concepts underpinning voluntary simplicity, with the aim of successfully applying these concepts to my own life and sharing online what I had discovered.

I chose to read widely on a variety of subjects, and not just those topics that interested me. I opened my mind to new ideas, especially those that challenged my current way of thinking. I questioned everything, including my own biases and those of others.

I refused to blindly accept what I read or was told. If an idea or an argument didn’t make sense, I did my own research to see whether it held up to intense analysis. I used reliable, credible sources, because I knew much of the information available lacked credibility and accuracy.

I tried to think critically about what I read, to discern for myself the meaning and validity of ideas. But I didn’t ignore the facts. When necessary, I changed the way I thought and adjusted or expanded my established worldview. I tried to form a balanced viewpoint.

I always encouraged my readers to do the same.

Two steps forward, one step back

By going back to basics, I was able to formulate a set of guidelines that grew organically into a personal ethos, a new way of being in the world. This was the overarching aim when I created this blog nearly four years ago, and the greater goal of the Environmental Warrior project.

I used my own life as an experiment, and I knew I would have to let go of old, habitual ways of thinking and being. I embraced living simply and treading lightly on the Earth, although it was difficult at times. I faced inner resistance and occasional lapses in judgment and commitment.

Yet I was always moving forward, in the right direction.

Old ethos in a new context

I try to get along to screenings of environmental documentaries, particularly those focused on the ocean and marine life, whenever I can. Over the past year I saw the films A Plastic Ocean and Blue. The horror I feel when I see marine life choking on our plastic waste has not waned, and I am stepping up my commitment to eliminate the plastic I use.

I have come full circle, so to speak, and have arrived back at the beginning of my journey, but with a greater awareness of environmental issues than I had before. My commitment to conservation and reducing my consumption has not changed. My new motto is Awareness – Acceptance – Action and I will remember this as I move forward.

I had hoped to re-launch the Seafood Free September campaign in 2017, but due to some ongoing health issues requiring my full attention, and the logistical problems I was having with getting the idea out there (coupled with my own changing attitudes to technology), I was unable to, and so the project (and the website) has not been live.

I did, however, honour my commitment to participate in Seafood Free September this year and abstained from eating seafood and consuming products sourced from the marine environment for thirty days. Thank you if you did the same. We need to keep the momentum going and get the message out there.

Reconciling opposites

Do we operate from an ego-centric or an eco-centric perspective? An ego-centric take on life sees life as a commodity, a resource to be utilized, and used up, that life has no other value other than what it can give us. An eco-centric viewpoint knows we must learn to co-exist, to understand and respect there are other forms of life, and that life has intrinsic value of its own. It isn’t just about us, but about others too, and how our lives are impacting the lives of those we share our space with.

One thing I found frustrating and difficult to reconcile at first was how I was watching others doing these amazing things in life, seemingly not caring about their impact, and I, being an intensely creative and conscientious person, seemed to be missing out, because I was so concerned about the impact I was making, that I wasn’t engaging with life, and I wasn’t enjoying my life.

But I realized it wasn’t about removing myself from the equation, it was about finding new and better ways of doing things, of living, of creating, of being.

It is clear unlimited growth is unsustainable, and that humanity is moving far beyond the limits of the Earth that can sustain our current way of life. While our political leaders procrastinate about the best way to handle a problem or even whether it’s economically feasible or not to try to solve current crises, we can take matters into our own hands, and change our behaviour, reduce our consumption, and create the world we want to live in.

I know this is a metaphysical cliché, but we do in fact create our reality. We are the ones, through our actions, behaviours and decisions, who have created the world exactly as it is. If we have created this world, we can create a different world. If we know which actions, behaviours and decisions are contributing to the problems we are facing, we know what we must change.

Thoughts in transition

Here are my final thoughts before I embark on this transitional phase of my life.

The conservative, sustainable lifestyle is what makes me happy.

The consumptive, capitalist lifestyle never brought me any real, lasting happiness or joy.

I don’t want to be a cog in the wheel of the economy unless that economy is an ethical one.

I don’t want endless consumption to be the focus of my existence.

I want to be happy and fulfilled, living a life of simplicity.

When we take our focus away from money, consuming and spending, we open to and engage with, our inner world, where money, consuming and spending becomes secondary.

It’s about personal responsibility.

I don’t want to be part of the problem. I want to be part of the solution.

But for now, I need to continue my healing process, and so I must retreat from the online world again, to turn inwards and focus on myself once more.

Thank you for reading, for listening, and for doing your bit. Until next time.

© 2017 Environmental Warrior
Photo by Austin Neill on Unsplash

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