Sustainability is fun! That is part of the message that keeps getting lost.  Sustainability is pitched by the media as “doom and gloom.”  It’s a downer.  But it doesn’t have to be. It is necessary if we’re going to survive as a planet, let alone as a species.

I’m sorry you don’t have to listen to talk radio or yourself on a car ride, because you picked up a neighbor to carpool.  That time locked in the car goes by much faster if you’re with a friend, and the connections are stronger in your personal community.

It’s too bad that cooking for yourself or your family gives healthier food to your stomach, cutting down your ultimate health bills. If you’re lucky enough to have a kitchen to share with a family member  that time spent peeling potatoes allows time to “catch up,” on things in each other’s life.  That wonderful, terrible odor of a roasting chicken is so much less pleasant than a chemical air freshener. When the meal is done you have meals to build from that memorable time, instead of worrying about getting the trash to the curb, or running to the store for yet another meal to purchase from someone else.

I hate it when I cook for the family and my son asks “What’s in this?” and I can rattle everything in it, without needing a chemistry book.  The preservatives may be honey, or sugar, but they aren’t going to keep the meal around for the next millennium.  It would be even better if I had a green thumb and could grow my own food, but that’s another challenge for me. Until then I’ll try to be mindful of who, how and where my food is grown.  It’s kind of like a geography bee all of my own. Take that Alex Trebec!

I’ve found that building something myself, rather it’s a potting table, or a stuffed animal is a much longer lasting sense of accomplishment than signing my name on a purchase receipt.  The smells associated with wood working, and the joy of watching a toy or doll come alive with its own personality is so much enjoyable than purchasing something wrapped in plastic, which I then have to throw out, adding to the solid waste problem.

If “getting a deal,” is so enjoyable, what a deal you must enjoy when you cut down on the water bill by taking shorter showers, capturing rain water for your lawn, or saving water during your tooth brushing time.  Those are just little things, but they add up to a discount on your water and electricity bill.

Being mindful of how I live my life is more enjoyable to me than mindless purchases and being locked into an “electronic box.”  What kind of community would we have if we danced together at a contradance instead of learning from a video on You-Tube, or using our “Dance Revolution,” personal dance floor?  For me hearing a live story from someone’s life is more exciting than watching polished actors deliver their well rehearsed lines. I love theater and television, but the spontaneity of storytelling, or live music, is a much more shared experience that bonds the community that is the audience.

Instead of fighting the impulse to see sustainability as a resignation to failure, why not look at it as a new way to succeed?  Success means cleaner air, cleaner water, a more vibrant world around us, and a more personally involved group of humans. And it doesn’t cost a lot of money, like a cruise or a flight. In fact, it saves money ,and the planet!  Is that a downer? Or is it a great way to have fun in so many different ways? I know what I think. 

Find out more about how we define “the potential fun of sustainability,” by visiting our website, www.northcountrysustain.org. Learn more about the fun by subscribing to the “Earthling Almanac,” for just $5/year. Lots of tips for sustainable fun.  

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