Some green thinkers believe it is best to be vegetarian, some believe you should eat meat and support humane animal husbandry. Some think you should shop local, some think your dollars should support fair trade in far away countries. Some think we should buy more Prius’s to support the hybrid car industry, some think we shouldn’t buy cars at all. Some think we should concern ourselves with personal conduct, some think we should concern ourselves more with political activism.
It’s good to talk and refine ideas and listen to each other in order to refine our choices, but I try really hard to synthesize different points of view, rather than to oppose them.
A student asked a spiritual teacher I like, “What is the true way?”
The teacher answered, “Interstate 95 goes from New York to
On another occasion, another student asked the same question, “What is the true way?”
The teacher answered, “
I love these answers because they suggest that there are many ways and that the way depends on are where you are and where you need to go. The one true way is the way that is in front of you. Pay attention. The light may change!
The teacher’s answers wake me up to the immediacy of the present situation, and the problems of dogma, at least as a way of my running my life. I mean, I would love to have a succinct set of rules to adhere to. Then I could go to sleep and switch on the auto-pilot. I could know the answers and feel safe. I love thinking I know the answers!
Here is another story: Two monks who have vowed not to lie are walking down a path. A rabbit runs past and goes left at the fork. Some hunters come and ask “Which way did the rabbit go?” The monks may choose to point left and stick to their dogma or right and save the rabbit’s life. At that point, which is more important?
Bruce Nussbaum of BusinessWeek once pitted my No Impact philosophy against William McDonough’s. “Hair-shirt sustainability vs. Go-Go growth sustainability,” he wrote. “Colin Beavan—No Impact Man—meet Bill McDonough, Cradle to Cradle man.”
“There is no fight,” I wrote in reply. “They are two facets of the same general strategy—to treat the planet more gently.”
The point is that there are many good rules and ways to move forward. Rather than argue about the many different ways, I think I’d rather just move forward.
PS I have been invited to join a syndication of how-to-live-life-type blogs at LifeRemix.Net. LifeRemix is for people trying to figure out how to improve their lives. It compiles headlines from all of its member blogs: Black Belt Productivity, Behance, Cranking Widgets, Dumb Little Man, Happiness Project, LifeClever, LifeDev, No Impact Man, Pick the Brain, Success From the Nest, Tim Ferriss’ Four Hour Workweek, WiseBread, Zen Habits, and Unclutterer. I'm so pleased that people are beginning to see living green as a way to make life better.
Image courtesy of RainFallsonEveryone.Com
Colin Beavan (that's me!) is now leading a conversation about finding a happy, helpful life at Colinbeavan.com. If you want to know how people are breaking out and and finding authentic, meaningful lives that help our world, check it out the blog here and sign up to join the conversation here.