History is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake.
–Stephen Dedalus, Ulysses, James Joyce
A man is rich in proportion to the number of things which he can afford to let alone.
–Walden, Henry David Thoreau
Technology, climate change, the need to save money, or just Gaia’s righteous claims are turning us green. Telecommuting, the growing use of natural energy, and the electronic alternatives to paper are lessening the strain on the planet. Nowhere near enough or fast enough, but the larger a problem is, the harder it is to solve. And the longer people and institutions do something one way, the more resistant they are to change.
Yet decisions we make have social, political, economic, and ecological as well as personal consequences. Food first: organic or non-organic? Fauna or Flora? Dairy or vegan? Do we choose green products, services, and companies or not? Leave a light on or not? Tithe to the seventy percent of the economy that is consumer spending or abstain?
The choices are clear, even if blending them into a lifestyle isn’t. The choices may be easier to make when you’re young, passionate, idealistic, and don’t have kids, a car, and a home in the suburbs. Greening that lifestyle takes more than good intentions. (A book idea: an inventory of the thousands of products and services required to maintain a house, family, garden, and two cars.)
These problems and the process for changing them offer endless possibilities for all writers. You can call on Calliope, the muse of epic poetry, whose emblem is the writing tablet (Steve Jobs, please note), to inspire you. Finding words to provide help and hope is a noble calling. Saving the world for our children is the ultimate challenge of our times and the greatest opportunity that corporate slaves to profit and the best government money can buy have ever bequeathed writers. Is now the time for you to be inspired by Gaia or Calliope? By being green or making green by writing about it? Or both?
Comments, questions, and rants welcome.
The 9th San Francisco Writers Conference / A Celebration of Craft, Commerce & Community / February 16-20, 2012 / www.sfwriters.org / email@example.com / http://sfwriters.org/blog / @SFWC / 1029 Jones Street / San Francisco, 94109 / www.facebook.com/SanFranciscoWritersConference / 415-673-0939 / San Francisco Writers University / Where Writers Meet and You Learn / Laurie McLean, Dean / free classes / www.sfwritersu.com / firstname.lastname@example.org / @SFWritersU