Sunday, November 18, 2007

Call to Action: Green Your Lifestyle, Attitude & Behavior

We need to transform how we live in the world. We must do this in the next two to three years, or it will be too late. A new synthesis of the world literature by the United Nations group that was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize last month is a brave and inspiring call to action.

My husband and I were reading the New York Times this morning, which is to say that we were getting about one minute of focused concentration before our toddler would need us. We felt that much of our mounting alarm and wish for expeditious intervention to lessen climate change was reflected in a new document (check it out at called the Synthesis Report of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

What inspired me about the article on page 3 of the front sections were the following:
1. The synthesis report was approved by 130 nations. That's not easy when you are aware of the science involved.
2. It is personal -- the cost of action is less than the cost of inaction, to paraphrase Jeff Sachs of Columbia University's Earth Institute. We need to get rid of our two cars (and just keep the Prius), we need to make our homes energy-efficient, we need to walk and bike when we can, we need to think carefully about our consumption and it's effect on climate change, we need to figure out how best to model this for our kids and encourage them to join us on the path of earth stewardship. We need to find ways to integrate social justice into the movement so it's not just the upper classes who are able to afford to "green" their homes, lives and closets.
3. Achim Steiner - head of the UN Environment Program - wants this message sent to individuals and not just world leaders: "What we need is a new ethic in which every person changes lifestyle, attitude and behavior."

My husband and I have been paying a lot of attention to "greening" our lives over the five years we've been together. He regularly uses a tool he invented from his developer days -- a "Life Balance Sheet" as a way of benchmarking his place in the world and how he's contributing to the triple bottom line of green. We are deep in the design of a deep-green remodel of a small bungalow in our hometown of Rockridge here in Oakland. We are trying to be mindful of our mutual tendencies to be overachieving and under-relaxed, and how this affects our health, connection and our kids. This is my corner - the intersection of health and green. We are lessening our carbon footprint, although some experiments are more successful than others.

Meanwhile, the UN report pumps up the urgency. I would love to hear from other moms, yoginis and fellow warriors who have figured out how to lessen the carbon footprint of driving our beautiful kids many miles to the glorious schools we've chosen for them. I've found carpooling to be much harder to pull off than it should be -- perhaps again getting to Mr. Steiner's comment about us needing a new ethic of lifestyle, attitude and behavior, so that driving our kids to school is less about our individual needs, schedule and convenience, and more about modeling for our kids our willingness to try new things to do our part in reducing climate change.

Get inspired, do your part. Walk the talk. Tell us about it. Namaste and blessings, SG.

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I'm an organic gynecologist, yoga teacher + writer. I earn a living partnering with women to get them vital and self-realized again. We're born that way, but often fall off the path. Let's take your lousy mood and fatigue, and transform it into something sacred and useful.