First of all, I wanted to remind you all that there is a sneak peak at the No Impact Man documentary in New York tonight (Thursday). Click here for details. I hope I'll see you there. It'll be outdoors if the weather is nice and indoors if it's not, so rain or shine! Now, onwards...
I am sitting in the lobby of my hotel which is the only place I can get an internet connection. Behind the couch I'm sitting on, the hotel keeps a little radio playing that is tuned to a classical station. The music makes me think of Isabella, the four-year-old girl who is the heart of my life, my daughter. Isabella always makes me stop turning the radio dial when she hears classical music. She loves classical best of all.
Anyway. The hotel where I am is in Washington, DC.
I began writing this post with the point of telling you why I'm in DC, but I can't help it--I want to write a little something about my little girl. Do you mind if I stop to tell you that she has the most amazing blue eyes? Also, she is incredibly brave. We went to a petting zoo the other day and she fed all the goats and cows and sheep. A pig bit her by mistake. When she went to school, she showed her thumb to a teacher and said, "A pig bit my thumb."
"A what bit your thumb?"
This went on for a while. There not being too many pigs in New York City, the teacher was having a hard time believing her ears. Isabella was quite pleased. It may have hurt when the pig first bit her, but Isabella was still the only kid in school who could point to a boo boo and say a pig caused it.
You know what I think about when I think about how much I love Isabella? I think about how everybody else has someone they love too. I think that we all have someone who makes our hearts ache with love and how since we all have that then we must be essentially the same.
We're all the same. How can I live my life with enough compassion to bear out this tremendous truth that we all have an Isabella, that we are all the same? If we are all the same, shouldn't we understand how much we all feel joy and sorrow and be moved to treat each other with tremendous kindness?
Personally, I am moved to treat everyone with tremendous kindness. The sad news is that, moved though I may be, I don't actually do it. I get mad or selfish or controlling or small minded. Then I get mean. Honestly, I am at times so disappointed in myself, in my own humanity. Then I realize that that happens to everyone else too. We all feel disappointed in ourselves sometimes, no? We have that in common, too.
Which brings me back to the fact that we're all the same.
We're none of us perfect, right? But most of us, I think, are doing our best.
I'm in Washington, DC because tomorrow I am meeting--along with the associate director of the new No Impact Project and some other colleagues--with representatives from a group of environmental non-profits to discuss how the No Impact Man book and film might best be used to help engage people in environmentalism.
Lots of ideas are being thrown around. A don't-drink-bottled-water campaign. A stop-eating-beef campaign. A ride-your-bike-more campaign. All based around aspects of the No Impact Man year. It's amazing to have come to the place where the No Impact Man year might actually be used to help engage citizens in environmentalism.
But one thing I don't want to lose site of is this: that, for me, whether it is less meat or bike more or whatever the campaign might be, the whole reason for doing it is to make the planet--our habitat--more livable for people I may not even know.
And why do I want to make the planet more livable for people I don't know? Because those people love an Isabella, just like me. Because those people want to do the right thing but their personalities get the better of them just like me. Because everyone bleeds when they're cut and will die when we're old, just like me.
We're all the same. It's so sad and wonderful, but it's true. We're all the same.
PS Can I tell you something that brings tears to my eyes? That up in the bedrooms of this hotel are a whole team of people who are gathered here to help promote the values espoused by the No Impact Man year. People try so hard. So many of us are searching to try to do what is right. We're the same in that way too, don't you think?
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.