A New Project: Immersive Experience in Sustainable Living (IESL)

While the world is focused on a pandemic, there’s an even larger set of problems that we’d prefer to ignore. Human resource consumption passed the world’s ability to sustain it over 50 years ago. We’re in an extinction event (only the 6th one since in 600 million years). Glaciers melting, freshwater supplies decreasing, soil fertility declining. AAAAH! Overwhelmed by feelings of discomfort, helplessness, and hopelessness!

So, denial is one approach to avoiding these feelings. Or, we could actually accept the situation and do something about it.

STEP 1: Acknowledge the situation. Visit a carbon- or ecological-footprint calculator (like https://www.footprintcalculator.org/) to see how you’re doing. Personally, I’m doing pretty well (thanks to COVID, we’ve eliminated air travel and greatly reduced driving) at 1.2 earths. It’s still too high though. My goal is 0.8 earths. I know other people will exceed sustainability levels, so I’ll just aim for lower consumption to help them out too. [It is funny to see how culturally ingrained our views are. I live in a 950 sqft house. Small by any standard in the U.S.A. But the calculator describes that as “medium” sized. True, when thinking globally.)

STEP 2: Take action. The good thing about those footprint calculators is that they indicate areas for improvement. While I’m no meat-lover, I can decrease my consumption. And, since I’ll be increasing my fruit & veggie intake, I’ll get those from the local farmers market. I’ll also look into purchasing green energy. Unfortunately, rerunning my eco-footprint, I’m not at 0.8 earths. But I am at 1 earth. Sustainable! I’ll take it.

The other action I’m taking: Teach a new class in sustainable living. This isn’t your typical college class. It’s a 3-week, full-immersion course. And, using that eco-footprint calculator, we’ll all be living at 0.7 earths. YES!


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