When I took a breather from updating this space I really hoped I’d be writing my next posts from smoggy, overheated, post-apocalyptic L.A., which is the place I want most to be in the whole world. But as hard as we’ve tried, we’re still in Oregon. Our house hunt was unsuccessful and deeply disappointing. So we’re staying put for a bit longer while we let our kids have some kind of normal for a while. Having them settled somewhere they could regularly be around other kids was really important to me after a year and a half of seclusion.
And in the downtime, between packing up a house and then immediately unpacking it, I’ve been thinking a lot about my place in the sustainable movement. Thinking a lot about the imposter syndrome that follows me to my trashcan. The impostor syndrome that follows me to my garden, devoid of veggies, with no compost heap. There are a lot of things in my life that aren’t environmentally sustainable right now. And I have to remind myself that the image of an environmentally sustainable human being is itself a falsehood. It’s a fabrication that’s used to sell things.
Our infrastructure is not built with nature’s health/our health in mind. Our systems largely do not even take nature or health into account other than to mine them.
Every waking moment we make tiny decisions from options that were never ever created for nature/animal/people symbiosis. It is only natural that we don’t have the energy or resources to follow through with even our very best sustainable intentions and to claim otherwise is pure fuckery. It’s worse: it’s harmful.
Asking already taxed and drained people to take on more and more responsibility for the environment is a distraction from the true problem: people are getting rich from systems that harm humans, animals, plants, earth. Me placing the blame on myself for throwing away more plastic packaging is a distraction from the fact that someone out there is making money churning out more and more and more plastic. Someone out there is profiting from using plastic rather than finding a less wasteful solution.
I’ll continue to pursue this low waste lifestyle, and I will continue to encourage others to bring their best selves to the work of sustainable living, but even more forcefully I will shout to the rooftops that truly sustainable living requires SYSTEMIC CHANGE, not individual blame. Stay tuned for more ways to let go of eco impostor syndrome so that you can take meaningful actions to protect this sacred planet and its inhabitants.