Affect Change

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Keeping an open/alert mind

People are like sheep. I think anyone asked would probably agree. They would also probably think that they're different and that statement wouldn't apply to them. I feel like there are so many simple little things that can be done to save energy and the enviroment and the only reason it's not being done is because it's not status quo. Sheeplike. Here's one of my sheeplike moments:

I've recently moved in to a new house with my fiance, our first, and we've been going through the usual accumulation of things necessary to run a household. After getting about 3 doz. CFLs and numerous other second hand items (yeah freecycle) we also were the beneficiaries of an old but very well maintained motorized push motor. I really didn't think anything of it, in fact I was quite grateful. Then I was over at a like-minded friends house talking about the newness of homeownership and he brought up the old school push reel mowers. About 3 days later it's all over the internet about how great these are and how much gas we, as a society, would save if everyone had one. So feeling peer pressure and a need to not be hypocritical, I made the jump. Hopefully I'll feel justified as I push around my motorless/gasless/pure human powered lawn mower.

I guess the point of the post is this:
1. go out and buy a push reel mower
2. Don't be sheep. Or better yet recognize your sheeplikeness

P.S. I want to try to at some point list all the little things I mentioned.


  • Reed --

    Good post! I completely agree with the sheep-like behavior thought: we do so many things without thinking, just because we do them. They are habits. They are just "what we do".

    Being aware, being concious of ones actions can make a big difference. I have been trying to be concious for several years now, and really only got into it as a result of blogging, which sort of made me walk the walk. Yet I still realize there are many ways I do the normal thing.

    My wife says that it takes some number of repetitions of a thing to make it a habit (we have little kids and are trying to teach them good habits as we unlearn our bad ones). I have paper bags to reuse in the front seat of my car, but even then, I am having trouble remembering to simply carry them into the store when I shop for food.

    Being aware takes effort.

    By Blogger Tom Harrison, at 6:26 PM  

  • Having grown up on an amateur sheep farm, there are a few key differences to point out. The biggest one is that sheep and humans smell different. Neither is necessarily better. And our vocabulary is a little more varied.

    HOwever, a little less tangential-ly, both sheep & humans developed their herdlike mentality from aeons of evolution that determined this was the best way to stay alive. And being creatures of habit is not exactly unique to either species. We just need some less-harmful habits to blindly follow, like your lawnmower. Changing the available tools is much easier than changing people's minds...

    By Blogger Stellastoria, at 11:35 PM  

  • You may have implied this in the final breakdown, but it seems that the sheep analogy works for both types of mowers--you just decided to follow a different herd. Ideas as much as items are recycled--one herd or another perpeturally and joyously rediscovers the proverbial wheel, and proceeds to pat itself on the figurative back. Hence, I agree that it is not wise not to disavow our sheepish natures, but we might also make an effort to see the poodle in disguise.

    Also, doesn't some of this depend on if you believe in the (strange but very powerful) ideology of uniform, closely shaven grass of a specific variety as the epitomy of lawn-ness? Why not just let the thing grow itself into what it desires to become? This line of reasoning spouts the inevitable question: can we as upstanding Americans allow lawns to have agnecy?

    By Blogger dahlj, at 10:35 AM  

  • I think the object of the post was to point out my ignorance and how unaware I am of my ignorance. I have a defined set of morals that as without an incredible amount of sacrifice I would like to have my habits/actions be as sustainable as possible (not really pinning it down but go with me here). In the fury of creating a habitat for myself (and my fiance) out of someone else's house I lost my open-mindedness (there's got to be a better word) and went with status quo (granted a free status quo). I think that this applies to millions of people millions of times. If my one stupid little post can change a fraction of a percentage of that than I think the benefits would be enormous.

    As for letting the lawn grow free, that's just out of the question. Sorry Dahlia.

    By Blogger Reed, at 5:37 AM  

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