Sunday, April 19, 2009

From Fear to Action

At times it is easy to become discouraged as an energy guy. Too many people seem interested more in their current financial situation than in their future -and the future of our mutual home.

For those who are willing to step out of their "comfort zone", though, amazing things begin to happen! It is for such people that I have devoted my life.

When I see the eyes of those who discover just how much radiant energy sails through windows (even the best ones), and that there is a solution to this #1 waster of energy, then the huge process of starting a new, little understood, business is worth it! (See In'Flector blinds.)

In my experience many of the few who are willing to do something to reduce their "carbon footprint" are reluctant to take the next step (action) because they are afraid of change, fearful of failing, feel ignorant, or simply do not have the access to money.

At the Victoria Home Show, from which I have just returned, there were a few people who were willing to risk. Of the hundreds I met, only four were people with whom I have already established a relationship. The rest did not know me, hindering their willingness to risk. I don't blame them. All of us have been burned by unethical salespeople, those who value money more than people.

But even several of those with whom I am quite friendly have not followed energy suggestions I've sometimes given to them, and later have said that they wished they had done otherwise.

They are not alone. How often I have failed to follow the wisdom of others, and so have learned difficult lessons "the hard way!" And so I can be gracious toward them, and me!

As energy becomes much more expensive I know that the resulting pain will drive people to trust me more. Indeed, pain is usually needed before most of us make important changes. Still, I never enjoy seeing people hurting.

My strong wish is that all of us would be able to risk enough to move beyond our self-imposed confines and more fully grasp what it means to live on this beautiful, yet limited, planet. Then we will fear what we need to fear, not what we usually do fear. Then we will experience most amazing lives, and a future worth anticipating.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Taking action

What a wonderful response to my last blog was posted by Judy Roberts! As it turns out she will become a neighbour of mine once their co-housing project is completed late this spring.

Not wonderful in terms of the terror she experienced upon reading my last blog, but wonderful in terms of the actions she and others are already taking.

She listed several concrete ways that she is making a difference: putting her energies and capital into an energy-efficient building, becoming a member of a functioning, intentional, community. Giving up her car and using more sustainable methods of transportation. Growing their own food.

Together these efforts do make a tremendous difference to both the planet and Judy!
Of course not everyone can give up their car, especially since we value time more than we do the planet. Being a car-centric culture is extremely difficult to change! But leaders like Judy are showing us all that the quality of life can improve without a car (despite what auto ads suggest).

Judy asked for some suggestions about what to ask candidates leading to the upcoming provincial election in terms of fiscal matters. Unfortunately the banking industry is regulated by the Federal government. The province only regulates credit unions. So there is not a lot that can be done provincially, even though the Bank of Canada can (if not blocked by the Feds) lend money at very low interest rates to the provinces.

However, most of us could shift our banking to local credit unions. In any financial melt-down (such as is being experienced world-wide) credit unions are more likely to side with their members than are some impersonal banks. I expect that the financial problems will eventually hit Canada, perhaps as early as 2020.

Other steps can include buying gold and silver coins, investing in technologies that reduce our dependence on utility companies (such as insulation, solar equipment, window insulators, etc.), growing one's own garden (you do not need a lot of space!; consider joining a community garden or use someone else's yard), canning (water shortages will soon be threatening our food supply), forming a greater sense of community (through groups such as music, faith, mutual interests, action groups such as the "Carbon Busters", etc) so that you are not isolated when things get very scary, and more. I will post other ideas on this blog.

In the meantime we are all wise to get started somewhere. The first step is usually the hardest. And, as Judy has shown us, we are not alone.