Saturday, May 08, 2010

Personal reflection on why and how

It seems that some people are born with an alturistic way to look upon the world. Altruism, definded as an unselfish consern for the wellfare of others is also used in biology where one can count how good it is to "help another" in a matter of pretect the genes in a family or colony, so called kin selection. Example is social insects and the naked mole rat. In our society, people can behave alturistic and have courage to stand up for others who can't speak up. But a lot of people have the never-ending question "how would this help me" (we might do some calculations for them, hm?).

In a world out of balance, we need to work with all. Even with people who do not think like us. This is the challenge.

But to start with, we should look to ourselves. How do we contribute to a better world? What is alturistic in my behavior? I nag alot about a vegetarian diet to cut low of the resources and everything what''s around. I know when I don't eat meat/milk that I use 1/3 of the agricultural land compared to a person with a mixed diet. I have no clue what local or seasonal choices adds to this but I know that the way of my eating habits affect my own impact on the world and that is other people in the world. Choices like I don't want to buy new things when I can find old things in the same condition, is another, seperate my garbage, buy organic and I do not own a car seems to me like I do like a lot of others does..

A woman said to me once that "no of course, we have to deal with our own problems first, before we can save the world", and its still in my head because this was a response to if I could go and help them in their exchange clothes day. I try to in my head in every choice I do, see the impact for both environment and humans. So would this not be an action, i.e "one small step to save the world"? I think that a lot of people think in this way, and they are really great, they do what they can do in their everyday life, but not in mass actions or demonstrations. So question is; does everday environmently behavior as action, counts?

What I think or you think, does it even counts in the big picture? Is it anyone that can see how I behave and act and think? If I have an environmental profile I might not buy so much stuff as others, and how do we measure "less". Does my lifestyle effect anything? Compare it to someone that buys a car and we need 100 of people like me? Or how is it? Or is it just a feeling of good alturistic behavior?

Example; for my owns sake I tried to be a vegan for a while, but as eggs are good nutritions, I stoped. Now, everytime I buy organic eggs, it feels as I do something good- because this will acually be counted. But if I buy lintils instead of meat- is that anyone who sees that? And even more important- if I done that for 12 years- does it counts? I know for my own that I try to make an even more delicious meal every time, and if I have friends or family over, it can affect them- but really, how can low-consumption be measured? Sure- it feels good for me, but its also a heck to find all good food, to think in every choice, even if I'm "use to it". So truth out, is it really alturistic (does it make it any better for others), or is it a selfish way to get the feeling "I've done my part".

In last conference/meeting with the group of "buy environmently friendly" (handla miljövänligt), from Society of Swedish Nature Conservation, a discussion about the organisation's labeling, Bra miljöval (one of strictest requirements in Sweden and most used) was brought up, and the question; how would the dream society look like in the future? was answered with -yes labeling is a way we are doing it, but we do it because it should be worthless- the goal is to have everything labeled". That future is maybe not for us who lives here right now, so being environmently friendly is both a direct act (counted as a demand for more organic stuff) and an act to future generations (organic production can run in the long-term). But an environmently friendly behavior that are based on a minimalistic way of shopping, is hard to see. In the other hand, a top-down attitude in terms of "someone else have to do it", "if it's that bad, we need to change"(means, restrictions from government) or "technology will fix the task" is not in the right line. Why haven't it already saved some of our resources for example? Last post show hos fisheries is in deep danger, and more examples can be found all over in different areas!

Why sustainable thinking is so boring for some, is because we need to think of how we act, how we consume, how we built, how we produce. We can not just do what we want, we need to think of the consequences in the long-term. The alturistic way thinks about the wellfare of other humans, now and in the future. But in a modern society where we don't have insight in everything we need to ask other, or put our trust into others who can labeling it. So is that a good society? Sure I can do the choice of being environmently friendly or I can have no knowledge at all; I can choice a nice, funny, interesting, nutrition right package! Choices! I have an environmentalist lifestyle or NOT.

The thing is that people don't have the interest in everything. And we (environmentalists) need to understand that, because it is hard also for us to do "right" in every situation. I think that in many situations it might not be right at all. To collaborate in those situations and discuss happens all the time, by science, labeling groups and in NGO's. But do we have the right answer? And if we have, who cares? Who are the people who will follow?

Information is not even the beginning on the task we have to deal with in a sustainable society. Some people are sensitive to it, want to discuss it, want to act in a way of involve more people. But not to forget, is to ask who those "more people" are. Everytime we do something like an "exchange clothes day" it will gathering a lot of people that just think in the same way as the people who organise it. So is it an improvement? We should make it easy for all. If we want to exchange clothes, we should be able to do it every day. To make it as easy as the alternatives should be the answer. And it is not before that, we can say that we fully act according to our arguments and puts this in the context of sustainable development i.e "save the world".

Like with the labeling- goal is to make it worthless, so should living in a society be without a need to feel to act alturistic, it should just be there naturally and right; wellfare should be equal.

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