Top 5 Ways Our Family Went Green-er in 2014 – Part II

January 13, 2015 at 1:03 am Leave a comment

Contributed by Dr. Sarah

In the last post (Part I) about how our family continued the process of going green in 2014, I talked about several lifestyle changes we made, from getting a new water filter system to buying an all-electric NissanLEAF (aka The Silver Leaf). In Part II, I share the top two ways we went green-er in 2014.

All of our lifestyle changes are well and good. We need to alter the way we orient ourselves to the day-to-day actions that impact– and often deplete– the natural world that sustains us.

And we need to use the power of social influence to create a new normal that respects the limits– the “limitedness”– of natural resources like water, and create a sense of “enoughness” so that we can appreciate all that we have– not just our stuff, but the people in our lives.

That said, we need to go beyond individual lifestyle changes in order to achieve the scale of change required to ensure future generations a world that we can be proud to leave them.

Hence, the top two changes I made in 2014.

#2. Expanding My Spheres of Influence

The Spheres of Influence platform now has over 10,000 followers, across this blog and social media outlets such as Twitter (@drsarahsviews for the lay public and @sarahbwarrenphd for the professional audience).

We all have various spheres of influence— our homes and families, our schools, our workplaces, our neighborhoods, our purchasing power, and the all-important voting booth.

I’m continuing to expand and use both my face-to-face and virtual spheres of influence to engage the “un-enlisted” as well as my sustainability colleagues in dialogue about how we can most effectively ensure a viable, sustainable future.

The Spheres of Influence Virtual Fireside Chats continue to bring together national and international experts and thought leaders with the lay public to share insights and inspiration about how we can move the needle.

Yes, I believe that using our spheres of influence has greater cumulative impact than any single lifestyle act– even driving a green car.

#1: Using My Voice as a Voter for Our Kids’ Sake

Using our voices and our votes is the single most important, powerful action we can take. Maybe I should have used caps there. That’s how crucial using our voices to policy makers is if we want to protect the quality of life for the children and grandchildren we love.

When the KeystoneXL Pipeline vote came up in November, 2014, Illinois Senator Durbin was the lone undecided vote in the Senate. I called his office that day, along with many others. He voted against KeystoneXL.

It took about one minute, maybe two, including looking up the number.

KeystoneXL– and other crucial matters– are far from over. We will have a chance to use our voices again!

I know you’re probably overwhelmingly busy. I know I am. I’m a self-employed, divorced mother of two young kids who had two major orthopedic surgeries in 2014. But I made that phone call to my US Senator’s office.

The photo that says it all appears again in Part II of the two-part series on how we went green-er in 2014.

The photo that says it all appears again in Part II of the two-part series on how we went green-er in 2014.

When President Obama was in the US Senate, I wrote a letter via his Environmental Legislative Assistant about climate policy. Then-Senator Obama’s Legislative Assistant called me, an ordinary citizen. We had a series of conversations. I was amazed.

Turns out our elected officials are listening– which I didn’t know until I used my voice.

Since then I’ve learned that often a legislator’s vote can be tipped by personal contact from as few as five or six concerned voters. I have a friend who is a former legislative assistant who said just one compelling story can affect how a legislator votes. Just one voter!

It’s worth taking the time to be an engaged eco voter, because the scale and urgency of our ecological problems require changes at the policy level.

And I’ve discovered that using my voice is empowering. Who knew?

Looking ahead to 2015

Let’s see… In 2015, I plan to get our household composting.

I will continue to convene the Spheres of Influence community, and to use my voice as a voter because it’s the most important action any of us can take. I hope you will join me in reaping the rewards of being an engaged voter.

Won’t you join me in using your spheres of influence to protect the natural world for the children we love fiercely?

Share your story in the comments area!

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Top 5 Ways Our Family Went Green-er in 2014 – Part I Miss the Roundtable on Sustainable Collaborative Leadership? Listen Here!

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