The Idea Dude


Monday, January 21, 2008

The Power of Many

Reading a newspaper article on environmental issues reminded me of what my daughter said a few months ago when the very same topic was part of her school assignment. After going through the work, she simply said in a matter-of-fact kind of way, You know, Dad, if only a few people did it, it would make absolutely no difference. You need everyone to do it to make it work.

I have often wondered about that. We are encouraged to take the bus instead of driving, or turn the heat down by a few degrees. Every week, our family religiously sorts out all the recycling material and compost. But at the end of the day, unless we ALL do it, the impact may be all for naught beyond making our consciences feel a little better.

The metaphor is this. You can be pushing a huge boulder up a hill your entire life and bask in the knowledge that your bit of energy is contributing to getting the boulder over the hill. But unless there is critical mass, i.e. enough people pushing, all your efforts are for naught.

Unfortunately, our culture of excess and self-indulgence makes it tough for our generation to make significant changes that will impact the environment. It is not part of our DNA, our education never taught us that. To do it requires effort and we know the law of entropy. Very few continue down a path that requires continual effort over a lifetime.

What we can do, is educate the next generation so that it hopefully becomes their culture. Hopefully it is the least we can do.


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