Today began month 5 disconnected from the grid, one of my life’s most educational and rewarding experiences. I didn’t know how I’d make more than two days. My goal was one month. I had no idea I’d make it this far, nor how much it would connect me with traditional cultures and reveal our culture’s entitlement, addiction, resignation, abdication, capitulation, and ignorance of how much of life we’ve numbed ourselves to.
We learn through experience. Nearly half the time I wasn’t even using solar at home, though I was using my “cheat,” that I could plug in my computer and phone at NYU.
Over half the human population lives in cities. If they consider what I’m doing impossible, as I did before starting, they won’t even try. Many consider it a degradation, as I would have, but I’ve found it deeply rewarding and often fun.
Some of my biggest lessons:
We are entitled to the point of stupidity. Most people can’t imagine dropping their pollution—that is, their hurting other people.
Our environmental problems are largely failures of imagination and of leadership.
Using less power means less addiction and more community.
I’ve connected more with traditional cultures across space and time through living as they do than I did by flying. Our culture has lost nearly all its humility in learning from people actually living sustainably.
People who call using less power “privileged” or “inaccessible” are cruel and ignorant about what actually helps create equality and access.
Hoping to create a more sustainable culture without trying to pollute less personally is like trying to reach Carnegie Hall without practicing.
Systemic change begins with personal change, which I already knew, but am learning more. People trying to change systems while they believe in and practice old ones is the blind leading the blind.
I invite you to try. Maybe unplug your fridge for a couple months, as I did before disconnecting the whole apartment.
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