Knowledge is power

Knowledge reveals and unlocks doors of opportunity.

Knowledge is power.

Knowledge is power.

My progress to live a sustainable life is hampered by lack of knowledge.  It is unfortunate that the knowledge I seek is scattered across many sources, and is less than easy to track down.  It would seem that for humanity to progress on a sustainable path then knowledge must be freely available in easily assessable locations.

Surfing the internet it is a challenge to find internet sites on sustainability for the individual.  It appears that sustainability has the mentality of being the province of the politician, academic or the corporate for which nearly all sustainability websites seem to cater for.  Since it is you and me, the individual, who are the change masters to make sustainability in the world happen, it is a madness that knowledge is targeted in a top-down rather than a bottom-up way.

Similarly, when I visited the bookshops of Colchester I found just one book that addressed sustainability.

For the change master to take the actions to create a sustainable world the doors of opportunity must be revealed, and the keys to unlocking those doors provided to them; which can happen if knowledge is made available to you and me.

The following are the sustainability actions that this quest for knowledge resulted in:

Sustainability Action 11 : I purchased a second-hand book on sustainability

Try and buy second-hand; it saves you money and reuses items people dispose of.  I went into a second-hand bookshop in Colchester to buy “Where on earth are we going?” by Jonathon Porritt.  The book is twenty years old but deals with the problems and solutions that are still relevant today around the subject of sustainability.  The book when new is £9.99 and I got it for £1.50.

Sustainability Action 12 : I joined the Guardian Sustainable Business forum.

I run a business, so finding this site was a treasure trove of knowledge for me.  Dedicated to the business owner, but also relevant to the individual, this site is hosted by the Guardian newspaper.  The Guardian is a social and liberal publication that has recognised that sustainability is an important area to be involved in.

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23 responses to “Knowledge is power

  1. Leading, from the front…

  2. Hello! Your intention and effort to look for books on sustainability for the individual or community is very admirable!

    SoundEagle understands your difficulty of locating relevant material and information, and would like to introduce you to the following (apart from my own blog):

    http://www.ecoplan.org/general/responsibility.htm
    http://interoccupy.net/selfsustainability/
    http://sustainabilityncl.wordpress.com/2012/03/08/rio20-what-about-individual-responsibility/
    http://www.salto-youth.net/tools/european-training-calendar/training/personal-responsibility-for-global-sustainability.2305/

    Academic ones:
    http://www.erica.demon.co.uk/EV/EV1907.html on “Reframing Individual Responsibility for Sustainable Consumption: Lessons from Environmental Justice and Ecological Citizenship”
    http://www.erica.demon.co.uk/EV/EV2119.html on “Bearing the Weight of the World: On the Extent of an Individual’s Environmental Responsibility”

    Enjoy and happy new year to you!

  3. I have an ongoing discussion with my eldest son on my choice not to buy new and if I do to make sure it’s either handmade and/or made in the USA where I live. He feels that if everyone lived like I do the unemployment rate would be astronomical. I respond that instead I see more people starting their own businesses or working for local businesses. Sure it would change the way we live but while we have this discussion I freely admit that he has no worries as there are plenty of consumers out there making up for my deeds.

    Sound Eagle, I want to thank you for the links also and will be checking them out.

    • Your son like so many is trapped in the glamour of the unsustainable illusions of the need for constant growth and consumerism. The problem is the energy system called the economy has run out of money, now the money used to pay for consumerism is through debt. The idea of producing products nobody needs which will be thrown away, wasted and never reused is a drain on the planet, this is unsustainable. The very process that your son supports is the thing that will destroy the economy and produce vast unemployment. Thanks for your comment.

      • I agree, I am still trying to teach him that lesson. For the moment I am happy that he doesn’t use credit cards and his only debt is his mortgage. He isn’t totally opposed to buying used, just not for everything the way I am. This week, a neighbor tossed out three brand new pairs of shorts. We pulled them out to find they were not only my son’s favorite style by his size. He is thrilled with his new shorts. His home is furnished with second hands, a coffee table his grandfather-in-law picked up at a yard sale, an entertainment center I saved and turned into a toy storage/reading nook, and a chair I saved and restored. His son sleeps on a bed that belonged to my great-grandmother that I repainted for him. It’s all about little steps with him.

      • Well done to you on all your efforts on reusing and recycling. There will come a point (after considerable turmoil) that most people, perhaps your son too, will have a paradigm shift to a new way of thinking about the economy and the environment as you do.

    • Why believe that the jobs lost in manufacturing, wholesaling and retailing won’t be recreated in the recycling industries and in the collecting and retailing of reusable materials?

  4. Very true. The whole idea of positive thinking should lead one’s perception to spot opportunities.

  5. On your “get off the fence” approach. It’s not a bad one. It is one I have used to great success on more than one occasion to make big changes. There’s only one drawback to it: it might not address the underlying beliefs that led to the situations where large changes were required and this can result in getting stuck again. That’s why you feel the increase in anxiety despite the good results (although sometimes just the successful act changes it once and for all). You want to work on those underlying emotions and beliefs. Just my opinion though since I feel the same way at times.

  6. We each of us are searching reaching out more now to fit those pieces together. We have in many ways lost our sustainability by giving away our power. By relying solely upon others to provide.
    We have also along the way lost the power to think for ourselves as the media tells us what to think. What to wear. What to eat. Where to eat. And we slip into that zone of compliance relying no more upon ourselves. We then think we cannot sustain ourselves as we lose the abilities our forefathers had. In skills and determiation to provide. As we have adapted our lives to rely upon others to provide that which we need.
    If let us say the power of electricity failed. Things grind to a halt pretty quickly.
    Power comes through the knowedge of understanding we are more than we give ourselves credit for.
    I and my hubby grow most of our own food. But we need to learn a lot more to sustain ourselves should the need arise.
    A thought provoking post Alex thank you
    Sue

    • Those at the top follow their own selfish agendas; they create a fantasy that they have the answers, but they are powerless to make any changes without the will of you and me.

      It is unfortunate that the people at the bottom gave away their power, and live the illusion that the people at the top will offer them security, plus all those comforts of civilisation that is taken for granted.

      This unsustainable situation is going to result in a painful reality check in time.

      Thanks for your great feedback.

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