Monday, March 26, 2007

More on No Impact Man

My gosh, I left a comment to No Impact Man's blog with a link to my blog and a post about the NYT article "The Year of No Toilet Paper," and I TOO got hate mail today! The comment at my blog suggested that, since I'd chosen as a young man not to have children, then why not take that one BIG step further and kill myself.

Actually, that argument has been made to tread lightly gurus for decades, but it's more spite than sense. As Colin reminds us, this is about living a likeable life, not wanting to flush life down the toilet, much less hating it so much or suffering it so acutely that you want to end it. hey, there are already enough suicidal specters out there as it is.

I say that all treading lightly experiments are, indeed, about loving ALL of life and people, near and far, the very IDEA of people and life, and CAN WE coexist in such numbers with healthy ecosystems and other big mammals? I'm really curious to see if we can pull this off -- or better yet, pull us back from the brink of doing so much damage to El Mundo Grando.

I say trying to live well and honorably is about loving wildlife and the last remnants of wilderness. And it is about loving ALL of life, as it is, in the contexts and conundrums and societies and challenges in which we find ourselves. Right now, today, here.

Colin (Mr. "No Impact Man") calls himself a schlub, but he's getting his fifteen minutes of fame (maybe more) for stirring up good debate for a good cause. Unfortunately, he's become another target for petty spite as well. There's always been a lot of petty spite to go around. It ain't the new game in town. And maybe turning off the lights and taking the stairs (and giving up the housekeeper and beer) aren't the newest games in town, either. But what's good comes back around again. Like trains or bicycles. As gorgeous and graceful and efficient as these transport modes are, they might look old-fashioned to some, but they're just as much about the future. Thoreau's experiment was about the present and the future. My ongoing experiment in treading lightly (sort of) is about the present and the future. Colin's experiment is about the present and the future. I'd rather stand tall even for small things than cook up slander and suggest others slouch toward denial or decadence, turning away from the beauty of the big things, the very biggest things. Like love.

We can only be responsible for ourselves, not everybody. And love, which I insist this is about, is not about making demands or taking control or shouting shoulds. It is about taking responsibility and taking care of ourselves and others, IF we can. The best we can do is do things we're proud of for a long time to come.


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