Wednesday, January 04, 2017

One Word to Change the World

As published in the Citizen-Record newspaper on Wednesday, January 4, 2016, by Sara Jewell.

There’s been a trend the last few years of choosing a word for the year instead of making resolutions. Apparently, it’s easier to be guided by a word than it is to keep a list of resolutions. There are books and websites devoted to this idea of changing your life with just one word, and people choose words like empathy and joy, progress and smile.
You can see how this would grab hold. A year governed by the word “smile”, or “yes”, or “no”, could certainly have an impact. I’m not sure if choosing one word instead of setting goals is another example of our modern approach to life – passive-aggression made to look like simplicity or a dumbing down in order to exert as little effort as possible – but this year, the idea of a word for the year has taken hold of me.
Because for me, for my household, that word is CHANGE.

After nearly ten years of living in rural Nova Scotia, after nearly ten years of ignoring the voice inside my head that whispers “Buy less, make more”, 2017 is the year of making a few changes.
By writing about this and putting it out there in the public domain, I’m ensuring these changes will happen. There is no better accountability than someone asking me if I’m using my green bin yet.

For that is the first change: We are gardeners so our organic waste goes into composters to get turned into black, crumbly soil. Yet I’m conscious of the stuff that goes into our garbage bag that shouldn’t, and I’m tired of feeling guilty about turning a blind eye to our haphazard waste disposal habits. It’s not ignorance but laziness, and a dislike of nagging, that has kept me from making this change.  

This is also the year when we go from three vehicles to two. I’m the only one in our three-person household who works, and that’s just on Sunday mornings, so there’s no point in having the oldest vehicle sitting idle. Surely three adults can manage to coordinate their schedules and vehicle needs by marking appointments on the calendar in the kitchen.

The final and most significant change for 2017 is what I call “local and less”. When I met my husband ten years ago, I was thisclose to being a vegetarian, so I feel dogged by a lack of commitment to pushing back against factory farming and the mind-boggling amount of food we waste in First World countries. My household is now committed to knowing where our meat comes from because we want to purchase humanely raised and butchered meat and support our Cumberland County farmers.
When I looked at my breakfast plate on Christmas Day, I realized every inch of it was locally-sourced: homemade bread, homemade jam made from Oxford strawberries, bacon and sausage from Wallace Bay, and eggs from our very own chickens.        

So it’s not that hard to do. It takes a little effort – another word for the year – to make choices and take actions that are fair and right and sensible.
I, for one, resolve to be the change I want to see in the world. 

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