I have a professional certificate in Sustainability Management from the Sustainable Practices Programs at the University of Colorado Boulder. I have one hundred hours of training in sustainability management. I used to keep a cycling oriented blog (more so than this one!) and developed my political and environmental views through that lens as I wrote about transportation and climate issues and the concept of Peak Oil.
Eastern Kentucky is not exactly a hotbed for environmental activism. “Sustainability” isn’t even a hotly contested concept because most people are not culturally aware of its significance. I firmly maintain that the opportunity presented by the lack of environmental education and sustainable practices in the region is an accident waiting to happen. That “accident” could be me. On my long drive in to work this morning (I miss my ten-mile bike commute!)—listening to the news coverage on NPR as I sipped my free trade coffee from a Klean Kanteen—I ruminated on my qualifications. I pondered the possibilities of moving more into the realm of environmental education and consulting. I have the ink and paper to make it happen.
I’ve ignored my values for too long. Mandy and I had committed to a fairly progressive lifestyle when we still lived in Colorado. We threw around terms like “car free,” “car lite,” “voluntary simplicity,” and “who left the bathroom light on!” We rode our cargo bikes to the grocery store and bought local produce and other local items. We tried to reduce our ecological footprints as a family and as individuals. This meant a lot to us then, but when we returned to Kentucky we found it difficult in most cases and impossible in others to maintain that lifestyle.
Well, we’ve been back for almost five years. We’re as settled as we’re going to be. I think it might be time to start making small changes again. We can plan a little better (I’m a Planner for crying out loud!), and we can scrutinize our habits and our output.
While the Cheeto Benito (stole that one) can say the US has pulled out of the Paris Climate Accord he can’t force all of us to stop adhering to the principles of sustainability. He can’t make us willingly support extractive industries. He can’t take away our core values. He can’t rob us of our potency as a citizenry. He thinks he can and he has, but I am convinced that if the Orange Shirts come for us the well-armed Americans (because not just Right Wingnuts have guns) will make a stand. I am convinced if the American fascists push too far they will have a revolt and it will be ugly. I do not wish this upon myself, my family, or the world.
What I can do today is make the changes that are within my ability to make. I can reduce my impact on the environment. I can speak up in defense of my environment—OUR environment—and I can negate the negativity that has arisen in the world with my positive life energy.