By way of (further) introduction, I’d like to regale you with a brief history of my life as it relates to my desire to write…
I’ve always been vaguely interested in the environment. As a child, that interest manifested itself in a wishy-washy, disconnected urbaner sort of way — nature is good, man-made is bad, but god forbid anyone makes me actually go outside.
Around the time I started university, my idealistic brother prompted our family to start buying organic food and eco-friendly household products. It was my first step on a road to a more sustainable lifestyle.
But the moment of truth came a couple of years later when I read Jared Diamond’s Collapse. His book shocked me into the realisation that humanity was in trouble, and we were in trouble now. Published in 2005, Collapse describes the effects of resource scarcity on past civilisations*, followed by a review of the current state of the Earth and the warning that in about ten years we would globally be reaching the point of resource depletion-induced civilisation collapse. That was nine years ago.
Since then, I’ve gradually been educating myself on the problems facing us and exploring some of the solutions available to to help us live more sustainably. And, to be honest, I’m driven much less by a desire to “save the environment” than by a desire to escape the awful life of conflict and hardship foretold by Diamond. The earth will be fine**; it’s us humans that will suffer if we don’t change something soon.
Despite my growing sense of urgency, I was never quite sure how to take environmental action beyond making changes in my personal consumption patterns. I’ve always enjoyed reading and writing, and somewhere along the lines I considered starting a blog to share information on sustainability. The Green Lips was founded a few years ago but I never gained the momentum necessary to really do anything with it at the time.
When I finished my undergraduate studies I made the decision to go on to a PhD in a healthcare related field. However, sustainable living remained my true passion, which meant the PhD was both a blessing and a curse. Being a postgrad student gave me the flexibility to continue exploring environmental issues and solutions, but it also gave me a huge responsibility — that of finishing a PhD…
I spent much of the past year focused solely on writing my thesis and completing the remaining requirements of my PhD. By the time I’d finished, I was broken, with little energy or passion for anything that had interested me before — including sustainability.
It was at this point that I began encountering messages describing the important connection between caring for oneself and caring for the world around us. For, as I had learned first hand, how can you be an activist for positive change when you don’t feel positive about anything?
As the old adage goes, time is a great healer, and I’ve gradually regained a sense of purpose. I’ve already described the new direction I plan to take with this blog. I hope that as I progress, you too will understand the connection between the seemingly disparate topics I may cover: climate change and self love, composting and women’s rights, peak oil and resilience, recycling and home.
* A quick summary: It’s conflict and death all round, folks!
** Although many species and ecosystems certainly won’t survive.