• Ian McClellan

The end of negativity; the start of positivity.

Updated: Mar 30, 2020

The World is divisive right now.

You are either for or against. You are blessed or outraged. Everything you knew, or thought you knew, is wrong. We are hyperconnected, yet we use that privilege to simplify and marginalise.

We are at once boastful and seek to put our life above those we call our friends, yet we are also quick to absorb ourselves in momentary mob benevolence to someone whom we’ve never met.

These behaviours make us quick to stereotype, but at the same time, those who seek to gain attention behave in a way that makes it easy to create a stereotype or a caricature, and justify the divisions.

We have all done it.

You pick a side, and then you mock the other side from inside a social media bubble of amusing yet offensive placards, criminal behaviour masquerading as protestation, self-promotion above a cause.

These were the thoughts that were going through my mind today. Our capital city was at a standstill, or seemingly was. Extinction Rebellion were being called ‘un-cooperative crusties’, but in many ways the individuals who were taking part allowed this image to be legitimised. Staged-managed Instagram blockades put individualism above the issue at hand, and put people against people. Young people were giving adults a lesson in global priorities, yet were somehow being mocked or belittled.

If there is one thing that should unite us, it’s the ground on which we all walk. The air that we all breathe. The plants, the creatures, the oceans, the fragile ecosystems that we might not see but that affect us all. This is important, this needs attention.

Imagine if we all united to make positive changes and united to make our planet better, rather than attack each other? Imagine if we didn’t leave it to someone else? The young people, the corporations, the governments?

Yet current environmental discussions, are being simplified and almost pushed into binary boxes. You are a believer or a non-believer. Stereotypes tell us that you must radically change your life, or you cannot truly change anything – instead you are part of the human-created destruction of our race, and many other mass extinctions.

But there is also a feeling of hopelessness. Many of us are at a standing start, despite the fact that climate change should not be a revelation but a statement of fact.

Deep down, many of us want to go all the way. Many of us want to change our lives, break the habits that we have spent a lifetime creating. I am sure many of us would like to change the institutions that are defining our future, and we must support those who do. Some of us may even work for these institutions, but we must not be made to feel hypocritical of every choice that we make.

Perhaps another way is to do it step by step. This means the best time to start is today, and the best way of making sure the changes stick is by being a little better.

Not compared to the person next to us, but to ourselves.

We can all be a little better, and then a little better still. And as parents, we can educate our families, and in groups we can listen to our friends. Make better choices where we can.

So we have started this, and by ‘we’ I mean our little family. It began as an idea to do something fun and different, and call it ‘World Wednesdays’. World Wednesdays were a way of teaching our little boy good environmental practices, learn them ourselves, and keep a diary to remember. Maybe make ourselves a little folder at the end.

The blog is a log of progress, just the start and hopefully our family’s path to being more conscious of our actions and our consumption, to build new habits that are more wise about our planet for us.

It’s a pledge to use less, do things differently, and to mindfully do something once a week, 52 times in the next year, that becomes part of our day-to-day and contributes in a meaningful way to what we all should want to prevent – that we wake up one day and find that the world perhaps is not going to end in a cataclysmic or catastrophic event but gradually, and eventually, on a preventable wet Tuesday afternoon.

We changed the name, so that it didn’t need to be Wednesdays. Any day with a ‘y’ in it is an opportunity to be wise about the choices we make for the planet. So we’ve re-named it Project Planetwise. It is grassroots, at an individual level, but that doesn’t mean it is not important and that other larger movements are important as well.

There is feeling that everyone should join in, and if you have discovered this then PLEASE do in your own way … but at the same time that is not the point.

If we all did join in, then the stats are compelling. If there really are 2.4 BILLION people on Facebook, imagine if instead of using our hyperconnected privilege to post pictures of our food, or of our best selves, we all posted our good and bad efforts and ideas about how to make the planet better. It would mean showing vulnerability, but I know that I can do more.

And we did it once a week, for a year - there are potentially 124 BILLION individual opportunities per year to make a difference.

The rules are simple. The change is for me, compared to me, or us compared to us. It must be new, and must be something that we can persistently achieve so that we create new and good habits. It doesn’t have to be big, but must be incremental. If someone gives us a new idea, then we try and do it together. If we get it wrong, then we just accept that, learn and move on, we are not experts or activists.

It starts here, 52-times, once a week, for now. A pledge to keep getting better, and through that we put the ultimate pressure on our society, the pressure of demand for the right things, the pressure of supporting the right choices, the right opinions, until our little changes start to change big things.

When we walk up a steep hill, we do it step by step, little bit little. It's only when we occasionally glance at where we have been that we think: look how far have we come.

Look how far we have come.

#beplanetwise #littlechanges #recycle #reuse #reduce

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