We don’t like change. We don’t like moving to new and strange places. We don’t like getting on a plane for the first time. We don’t like changing jobs. We don’t like the end of our favorite season.
Even though we often fear change, we usually accept that change is necessary. We need to solve a problem. We need to regroup. We need to engage reform in society. We need to make improvements.
Although many are aware of necessary changes, we still fear what we don’t know; we still fear the unfamiliar. Unfortunately, sometimes we neglect action even when overwhelming evidence and premonition point imperatively to change.. In my book, that’s called ‘ruttism’– being stuck in a rut, fighting against any iota of change. A ruttist may or may not be informed about a topic of reform. They may know the advantages and disadvantages of a change. Ruttists may even understand deep down that change is imminent. But a ruttist denies any efforts at changing the status quo.
We’re stuck in a rut on many things. We play down climate change, we consume ravenously and inefficiently, we pollute the land, the water, the air, and ourselves. We seek secular materialism while holding that our Christian dominance over Creation merits our less-than-stewardly actions. We seek the same material goods at the same prices ‘they’ve always been,’ while neglecting that price doesn’t always reflect the social effects of underpaid labor, the health risks of under-regulated pollution standards, or the environmental impact of shipping across vast oceans.
We need changes and improvements to reduce our environmental impact, to promote fairness and social equity, to increase efficiency, and to save and make money so that we can still make a living. I believe that efficiency improvements are needed across the board. We can argue over the next big renewable energy technology. But in the meantime, we can reduce the amount of energy required to live the way we want. We can debate the impacts of dams, reservoirs, and excessive groundwater extraction. In the meantime, we can use low-flow plumbing, drip irrigation, rain barrels, cisterns, and greywater. We can relentlessly debate climate change and global warming. Meanwhile, we can be ready for the weather with improvements to infrastructure, relevant building codes, green stormwater management tools, living architecture for urban heat islands, and low impact development (LID). We can worry about how to pay for all of these improvements. Meanwhile, we can reap the long-term environmental, social, and economic benefits from the important, though costly, initial changes.
The point of the sustainability portion of this blog is to highlight efficiency improvements, calls to action, visions of a sustainable future, etc.. Think about giving them a read. Think about some other improvements that could be made NOW. What other improvements do you think will pay dividends?? How do you think we can escape the rut?