Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Today "We" is One More.

The Riot for Austerity/90% Reduction made NoImpactMan today here:http://noimpactman.typepad.com/blog/2007/06/getting_concret.html#comment-72477916. Thank you Colin!!!

Looking at the responses to Colin's wonderful post, I think a lot of people's initial reaction to this project is fear, or perhaps "I might do it if you make me but I could never volunteer." And I genuinely understand that reaction - after all, my own reaction when I saw the real numbers was "what if we can't." I understand that this is a bigger change that many people are ready to make, and that's ok. But I do want other people to understand that "I can't" is merely a first reaction.

Because, what if we can do it? Right now, the yahoo list is at about 150 participating families, with a total of nearly 500 people involved. And 500 hundred people are, in themselves, enough to make a real stand. To face the people who say "we can't or won't do this" and say "We have to. We believe in the future. And each of us is living proof we can." We can put the faces of all of us, men and women, children and the elderly who are doing this out there and say "when they tell us it is impossible to do what is necessary, they are wrong!" 500 people is a bigger group than started the American revolution.

I never dreamed we'd have 500 people. Now I'm starting to dream even bigger. What about 1,000 people? What could they do? How many people would they tell, speak to, influence? We could make music, video, art. We can speak out with a collective voice, and say not only "We can. You can" but also "We're here and we won't go away. This is too important." Less than 1,000 people began the march across India in Gandhi's revolution.

5,000 people all over the world who cut their emissions would be a constituency, a PAC, a political power, a voice of quiet joy and anger. 5,000 people alone could save 25,000 barrels of oil from being burned. Less than 5,000 people changed the 2000 US elections.

When 10,000 voices speak, you cannot help but hear. When 10,000 people stand up and say "We did. We can. We must" those who would rather not hear us have to pay attention. 10,000 people have changed the course of history hundreds of times.

50,000 can march and stop traffic. 100,000 can change the world. 1 can change the world if it is the right 1 - just not all alone. I don't know how many people it will take before my kids and your kids and everyone's kids get to live in a world with water and reasonable security - but getting to that number starts with one and only goes up until we reach it. We don't have a choice - I didn't make these numbers up, and science doesn't negotiate. The simple fact is that these are the numbers that give us the best chance of having a future - and that's worth any price to me, and to a lot of other people.

This started out with Miranda and I challenging one another. Neither of us wanted to do this alone, so we thought we'd be better together. Neither of us ever thought that there would be 150 participants in a matter of a few weeks. Now we wonder - what is possible? We are, of course, sometimes overwhelmed and frightened. But hope is a heady and joyous thing, and that makes the fear subside. And with friends, and allies, neighbors and community, and eventually the dragging feet of political support, it gets easier and easier and easier...

I leave you with an excerpt from Marge Piercy's _The Low Road_

....Alone you can fight,
you can refuse, you can
take what revenge you can
but they roll over you.

But two people fighting
back to back can cut through
a mob, a snake-dancing file
can break a cordon, an army
can meet an army.

Two people can keep each other
sane, can give support, conviction,
love, massage, hope, sex.
Three people are a delegation,
a committee, a wedge. With four
you can play bridge and start
an organization. With xis
you can rent a whole house,
eat pie for dinner with no
seconds, and hold a fund raising party.
A dozen make a demonstration.
A hundred fill a hall.
A thousand have solidarity and your own newsletter;
ten thousands, power and your own paper;
a hundred thousand, your own media;
ten million, your own country.

It goes on one at a time,
it starts when you care
to act, it starts when you do
it again after they said no, it starts
when you say "We"
and know who you mean, and each
day you mean one more.
-Marge Piercy "The Low Road"

Welcome, to today's 1 more!!!



Pea said...

Thank God! We are more, yeah!

lavonne said...

Wow, talk about an inspirational post. Ya got me all misty-eyed. Thanks. :o]

Piddler said...

Pick me! Pick me! I want to be one more! Where do I sign up?

Deb G said...

This is wonderful....

dustybanjo said...

My 11-year old son chose to do his end-of-year speech to his Grade Six class on the 90% Reduction Project. I was amazed, delighted and proud. It was listened to not only by his classmates and teacher, but by the principal and some of the other teachers in the school. There were a lot of questions which he was able to handle. Here is another example of how the project will spread.

Anonymous said...


Once again your writing has evoked much emotion as did Marge Piercy's poem.

Thank you for all you do.


margarita said...


Hi, my name is Margarita, and I was wondering if you ever got a response to your question with regard to why Mr. Beavan is asking for donations for his "experiment"? I have to admit that I found his request a bit puzzling, myself, and I'm glad you had the courage to ask him about it. Unfortunately, from what I've seen, Mr. Beavan doesn't seem too inclined towards answering the more challenging questions.
I did not grow up poor, but we were blue-collar, working class, and my mother's and father's families were large and poor, as were my husbands parents'. We did learn to live without things, and sometimes find that when someone like Mr. Beavan goes around "discovering", as it were, the world of without with such wide-eyed enthusiasm, well, it's almost...insulting? You know, kind of like, he's a tourist, but he gets to go home, you know? And then he asks for financial support when there are so many people, so many, many people, who would be there, who would make it, if they could just get a break, you know? I wonder why he didn't encourage tithing instead? I know these aren't questions you can answer, but you are asking them, too. You are voicing the "Why?" It's not a popular question. Thank you for asking it.

daharja said...

I don't know if my family and I can do it, but we're going to do what we can, and then do a little bit more.

90% sounds like a lot, and it is, but we can only start by taking the first steps, and then by learning from each other as we go. I've just joined the Yahoo group too, and I hope that I'll be able to learn a lot from other people there, and maybe teach a little too.

All I know is that I want to be able to look my kids in the eye when they are adults (they're babies now), and say: "I did what I could, everything I could, and I didn't sit by and watch the world fall apart. And I did what I could because I love you."

jewishfarmer said...

Piddler, if you'd like to sign up, all the links are at the top of Miranda's blog www.simplereduce.wordpress.com. If I can ever get them put up here, they will be too! I'm so glad you want in!

Thanks for all the compliments, and dustybanjo - I'm so impressed by your son!!! That's wonderful!

Margarita, Colin never did answer me that I saw. I admit, I'm puzzled too. I get a little irritated sometimes too, but I think he's sincere - but "letting" people give you money seems a little weird to me. Typepad isn't that pricey - I think it is free, no?

But I do appreciate the support for this project we got.


RAS said...

Good post Sharon. That is really inspirational!

I was also upset about NIM asking for donations. Allright, I WAS insulted. I spent a good deal of my childhood on the streets and some yuppie Manhattanite wants me to pay him to give up his fridge? (Sorry but that's how I felt when I read that; I nearly hit the roof.) He probably won't be happy when he reads the comment I left on his blog, but oh well.

susan said...

Your blog title is fave--I was always curious about that book.

I admire your restraint with the Beavan: he's doing a lot of good with that blog but he's also got some serious money blinders and it can get somewhat maddening. What annoys me and what I keep snarling ineffectually about in comments is his attempt to pass the impact buck onto lesser mortals (like, "You use your dirty, dirty laptop to typeset my book so I can stay pure," etc.). He somehow doesn't see that that doesn't add up to a reduction of one's impact. It's like paying somebody to tote stuff and turn the lights on and off on Shabbos or paying someone to serve one's time in jail or the military. He ain't see that, though, au cause de too much money obscures one's view of other people and moneystates. AnNOYing.


Flick said...

Thank you for the inspiration. Reducing our impact and living a good life of growing food, using les and wasting less is my wife Deanne and my direction /obsession and it feels damn good to stumble onto a community of like minded people. We, like so many folks I'd guess, have been gravitating in this direction for a long time, and are trying to function while soaking in the consumer culture that is devouring our planet and creating the mindset of most people. It is all too easy to feel like a space alien even among friends and family sometimes. Your thinking is clear and your heart and soul have the power to change people.(Colin is not so bad either in his quirky way! Sure sometimes he seems like a tourist but I don't think anyone could do what he is doing and remain uncommitted in the long run. I wish I had the gumption to do half of what he is doing to lower his impact right now. We are all fools of one sort or another and should try to love and support each other as much as we can bear to. I think the problem for Colin is that he has drawn a lot of media attention and has striven to make use of it, but his visability leaves him no protection from the enormous vulnerability to critcism that comes with being viewed as a perfect living example. It's a media microscope that would make most of us very uncomfortable.) Anyway thanks for the insights, commraderie, book recommendations and especially thanks for the hope!

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