My local electric company has an extensive program to help its customers conserve energy. This month they invited persons who had taken steps in that direction to tell their stories. This is my story that I sent to them.
Dear ______ Energy:
I am a strong believer that energy conservation is a crucial strategy if we are to avoid 450 ppm of atmospheric carbon dioxide and the heating it guarantees, and an acidic ocean. I believe that the adoption of new energy efficient technology is only a part of that. We must also be willing to change lifestyles to conserve energy, and this change will have to last at least through the remainder of my lifetime, if not also for the next generation. I am 66.
Here is my story.
I retired from Iowa state government in June of 2006, determined to find a way I could best work for the environment. I met an environmental activist on-line, Keith Farnish of the United Kingdom. Together we started the Green Seniors blog www.greenseniors.org, a site that helps older people find information, join networks, build communities, and make a difference. The blog was launched in December 2006 and has served as a unique clearinghouse of information about environmental work spearheaded by seniors (including young retirees and boomers) around the world.
The Green Seniors blog has been written by myself and Keith, with an occasional guest writer, until this year when I became the primary author/reporter. Also in 2006 I launched another blog containing only my original writing, www.greengranny.org. This site chronicles my personal journey to live in a responsible manner that preserves the earth as we know it for future generations, and in doing so to live life fully and joyfully.
Many other people have made far greater lifestyle changes than I have managed to do. The purpose of my writing is to share my experience, to show that we are not alone in this effort, and to inspire others to reduce their use of fossil fuel and environmental degradation resulting from excessive and thoughtless consumption.
Although I possess an extensive scientific education and enjoyed a long professional career, my writing concerns general themes of life, from leaving the world a better place than we found it, to preparing beloved grandchildren to meet their future with courage, resilience, and compassion. I don't always get to spend my days riding my bicycle, hanging the wash, tending the garden with my husband and sewing with grandchildren, but the days thus filled are my happiest.
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to share my story.
Were you expecting to see a photo of me? This blog is about GRANDCHILDREN—mine, yours if you got ‘em, and their contemporaries around the globe. Our world is threatened, but theirs—their future world—faces environmental catastrophe. (If you don’t agree, go to the websites and other blogs recommended in the side columns.)
When I say catastrophe, I’m not talking about polar bears becoming extinct or even losing half of Florida to the sea. I’m talking about a future earth with oceans too warm and acidic and land too hot and dry to sustain humans or the plants and animals we need. I’m thinking about the generation of human beings over this entire planet that will fight for survival as conditions worsen. It may be our grandchildren or our great-grandchildren--babies we’ve cradled in our arms, welcoming them to life.
I’m one of the most fortunate people on earth. I’ve just retired from a career I loved, my husband and I are healthy and comfortable, and we have beautiful grandchildren whom we love dearly. Our generation didn’t realize we were jeopardizing Earth’s future as we pursued the good life, rather like humans have always done. But during the last few years, the science on climate change has matured, and if you aren’t scared silly by it, you haven’t been paying attention.
Just when my generation thought we had earned our rest and some self-indulgence in life, we find that our kids need us more than ever. In today’s global economy, American young people face rising costs of education, sinking job security, and a skyrocketing national debt that happened on our watch. They don’t believe Social Security or Medicare will be there for them when they are our age. Plus, they are doing the hard work of raising the next generation. People like that aren’t likely to have the time or energy to battle global warming. It’s up to us—the most fortunate generation on Earth—lest we be the last fortunate generation on Earth.
I made up my mind I was going to do whatever was in my power to change the script for Earth. This blog consists of my opinions, reflections, and personal struggle to make the most of my time to do that very thing. I’m no superwoman, just a granny trying to be green. I’m going to fight global warming as though doomsday were right around the corner, while celebrating the joys of being alive in this beautiful world. I’m going to green up my own household, and I’m going to take time to lay on the grass with my grandkids and watch the clouds make shapes against the blue sky. I’m going to cherish today, and keep hope and optimism about tomorrow.
If you have similar concerns and don’t know where to begin, let’s join hands and tackle this thing together. Learn how to comment to blog posts, if you’ve not done that before. (Just a short while ago I didn’t know what a blog was.) We can pass advice and encouragement to one another.
Now you have met me, the Greengranny, the one who looks after this blog and the Greenseniors blog. I’d like to meet you—best way is for you to post a comment.