Monday, November 8, 2010

Creating value for humankind

"As you walk up close, you can see that the collective is only made up of lots and lots of individuals. There is no bad consumer over there somewhere who needs to be educated. There is no public out there who needs to change. It's each one of us." Chris Jordan on Bill Moyers Journal
Because it was daylight savings, time to turn back the clock yesterday, and, because I forgot to turn back the bedside clock and forgot it wasn't turned back when I awoke and looked at the time this morning, I had a bit of 'extra' time on my hands when I finally realized my mistake -- which was while making coffee. Too late to go back to bed by then. I was already wide-awake. Already finished my meditation. All ready to get my morning on the move.

So, I decided to do something I love to do when I 'have the time'. Surf through If you haven't visited the hundreds of amazing talks and presentations at -- do it! You'll be awed and, quite possibly, become addicted like me to watching and listening and learning what others are doing to create change in a world afflicted with so many issues, I sometimes wonder -- will we survive?

At I am always reassured. We will survive. We'll adapt. We'll evolve. We'll shift. We'll redirect. And we will survive.

At, I am always inspired by what others are doing to awaken each of us to our responsibility, our need to be accountable. To bring our integrity to bear in everything we do -- so that we don't keep saying, 'it's their problem, not mine', Let them do it. I didn't create the problem. Not my fault. ...

This morning, in my surfing, I came across a presentation given by photographer, Chris Jordan in 2008. Some of you may remember Chris Jordan's stunning visual representations of the millions of plastic cups airlines use in a day, or cigarettes to represent how many youth start smoking every year in the US.

In this presentation, Chris presents some of those photos, and others, and exhorts each of us to be accountable--not just for what we use, but how we use it.

Watching and listening this morning, I realized I need to become more accountable. Even last night, I had a chance to do my bit and I forgot. It happened at the grocery store. I was in a rush and forgot my cloth bags in the car. So, instead of taking a moment to run out and grab my bags, I brought home 4 plastic bags of groceries. Not such a big deal but, what if I forget my bags at least 50% of the time?

Do the math. In a average week I'll stop by the grocery store at least twice. If, in each of those occasions I use on average 3 bags, in a year, that means I am 'wasting' the opportunity to be environmentally and socially responsible 312 times. Say I only forget my bags 50% of the time, that's still 156 wasted bags. 156 deposits I've made to the 'ill-will' of the planet.

Now, alone, I don't really see much problem in that number. Right? I'm just one little consumer wasting 156 bags a year -- and I do use them for doggie doo scooping! But, truth is, I am always accountable and every bag makes a difference.

When that number gets 'real scary' is if I multiply it by the number of 481,900 households (source in my city of just over 1 million people. If I suppose that 50% of us forget our cloth bags 50% of the time, and that we visit the grocery store on average twice a week with an average of three bags of groceries, that's... a big number! Even if I base it on one visit to the grocery store per week with an average of 3 bags and only 25% of the time using plastic, it's still a big number. -- almost 19 million plastic bags a year.

Chris' presentation reminded me that I am responsible in the little picture of my life, and in the big picture of the world, for everything I contribute, take-away, create and do. I am accountable for 100% of my actions -- and my little forgetfulness has big impact on the whole of the sum of our parts. My 156 bags count. And in that accounting, I am not doing my part. Not doing everything I can to create harmony and value in a world fit for humankind.

Chris Jordan pictures some shocking stats
11:14 Posted: Jun 2008


Maureen said...

Your post highlights the importance of starting somewhere, starting with one. Even if each of us sometimes forgets (and we all do), all the times we remember count so much.

M.L. Gallagher said...

So true Maureen. Remember is as important as forgetting! Knowing the right thing to do, and doing it, is vital.

Hope your weekend was wonderful -- the artscapades sounded wonderful!

S. Etole said...

It all begins with one ...

star acrylic awards said...

It all begins with a choice. once you've chosen where you want to start with your life the rest will eventually come by instinct.

Jingle Poetry said...

lovely message.