I belong to Flight Free USA, which helps motivate people to avoid the wretched addiction of flying. I recommend joining and taking their pledge to avoid flying. You’ll be glad you did. I recommend reading the profiles of people who have pledged and found the joy, fun, and freedom of not flying.
Their last newsletter inspired me to think of other initiatives to start that could improve people’s lives similarly by helping them kick addictions based in pollution.
Having disconnected my apartment from the electric grid with the goal of a month not knowing how I’d make even a few days, I’m now in my ninth month and wonder if a parallel project to Flight Free might make sense. How about something like Grid Free USA, though we wouldn’t want to promote people switching to diesel generators. We’d want them reducing power.
Come to think of it, the biggest polluters in my home that I thought I couldn’t free myself from but that surprised me most in improving my life most, how about Fridge Free USA and TV Free USA?
The alternative to a fridge isn’t food going bad, it’s farmers markets, CSAs, and coops. Just like the more people who fly and drive, the more airports, highways, and oil extraction, the more fridges, the more delis, supermarkets, and McDonald’s, closing down farmers markets, CSAs, and coops. Crazy as it sounds, fridges lead to extracting money and time from communities, leading to a cycle of dependency, poverty, and poor health.
I probably don’t have to describe problems with TVs, especially now that everyone has figured out how to make shows addictive. The opposite of more TVs is more participation in arts, culture, community, and sports instead of passively watching it.
What do you think of initiatives like
- Grid Free USA for people disconnecting from the electric grid, even if temporarily (on they way to permanently, how all humans lived for 300,000 years)
- Fridge Free USA for people unplugging their fridges
- TV Free USA for people getting rid of their TVs
Ideas whose times have come?
Incidentally, here’s the text of my profile at Flight Free USA:
Digging for oil displaces and kills communities, cultures, and wildlife. Pollution kills people and wildlife by poisoning air, land, and water. Leading people to live far apart tears apart families, communities, and nations as cars do with cities. People think of planes bringing them to distant loved ones, forgetting that flying in general makes them far away in the first place, relying on planes to fix the problem that planes created. Planes made a virus into a global pandemic overnight.
I pledge not flying in 2023 because not flying in 2022 made it far better than it would have been, just like 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, and most of 2016, when I first challenged myself to go a year without flying. I expected the worst year of my life. Instead, it’s led to more time with family, more community, more control over my career, more savings, more adventure, more connection with other cultures instead of polluting them, and I could go on. Who would have guessed?!?!
It replaced feeling entitled with feeling humble. Life isn’t about what I’m missing out there but what I create, wherever I am, whomever I’m with.
Systemic change begins with personal change, which you’ll love. Some of my changes:
- Months with my apartment off the grid in Manhattan 8 (and counting)
- Loads of garbage per year: 1 in ’17, 1 in ’18, 1 in ’19, 0 in ’20, 0 in ’21, 0 in ’22 so far
- Days picking up at least one piece of litter: 2,067 and counting
- Years not flying: 6 and counting
- Average electric bill in 2022: $0.52
- Annual carbon emissions: about 1 ton
- Daily burpees: 202,085 and counting
- Daily blog posts: 4,833 and counting
- Gratitude emails in a week: 70
- Resting pulse: ~50 bpm
- Daily average spent on fitness: < $0.20
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