The best way to start is to begin

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People who know of my interest in sustainability sometimes ask where to start, and my answer has varied over time, dependent on what new action I've been exposed to.

Perhaps this states what's obvious to others, but I've only recently come to understand that the right answer is the first one, whatever that is. Whether one starts with here or there doesn't matter nearly as much as having started.

As I detailed in my previous post, we take quite a few actions for sustainability in our household, but very few existed in my thinking until shortly before we adopted them. Each one has led to another, naturally.

That's why those who deride Prius buyers as shallow, one-hit wonders are wrong — who knows where it will lead?

This crosses with a point my brother made recently, that what individuals do is inconsequential until corporations and governments change their actions. I take his point that widespread change will come far more quickly when large actors change their roles. But how do huge institutions achieve change?

Most often, individuals who coalesce as blocs — of voters or buyers — convince them that their best interest lies in newer directions. Most of the people I know in the green fields have become convinced enough of the need to change that they began changing their personal choices, and now behemoths like The Home Depot tout their green products and attitudes.

Such change — can I avoid calling it "organic"? — does come slowly, but I see it coming nevertheless. Is intense fighting ahead, such as when a carbon levy of some sort is proposed? Unquestionably. But are the odds of such a notion's succeeding different today than they were even a year ago? Also unquestionably. Will it come soon enough? Finally, a question in doubt.

Regardless, those who haven't seen the need or decided yet to act need only take any one simple action, and then they too will be on the resolution road. Who knows where they'll end up.


Author and wellness innovator Michael Prager helps smart companies
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