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Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Earth Hour and Bob Dylan

Bob dylan said that the way we treat the planet is a reflection of the way we treat ourselves, and it is with this paraphrased quote in mind that I reflect about Earth Hour on Saturday evening.
With great media hype, many of us turned our lights off for one hour (in my case from 8-9pm).
I took that opportunity, while rocking my infant son to sleep, to reflect on what the hour meant to me, and what I could do once the lights came back on at 9 o'clock.
In my city, apparently the power consumption fell by about 5 percent. Now this is clearly not a gigantic amount, especially compared to New Zealand who dropped by over 10%.
However, as the japanese principle of Kaizan says, the journey of 1000 miles begins with a single step. And we must ask ourselves what the next simplest step is to saving the planet.
In my opinion, Earth hour served to start creating the habit of turing the electricity off, as well as showing us that we can mobilize together for a good reason to make a difference.
I created a principle called "3 minutes on the floor" to help people create the habit of doing something good for themselves. Many people tell me that they want to stretch, or meditate, or do yoga, or eat better, but they don't have time. My advice begins by getting them to make a commitment to spending 3 minutes every day lying on the ground. During that time they can do something active, reflect on life, or do nothing.
Why 3 minutes? Because everybody has 3 minutes. It's not about quantity, it's about building the habit of breaking yourself away from the TV, or computer, or kitchen, or desk and focussing on yourself.
People who do this consistently are so proud of themselves for sticking to something, even if it is only 3 minutes on the floor, and invariably end up increasing the time to 4, 5, or even 10 minutes.
I know that I felt good about myself for not turning the lights on, and not even listening to my iPod. I increased my level of awareness of how much I consume, thought about where I could cut back, and ways I'd like to be more environmentally conscious. But I also spend an hour in silence, clearing my own head without the hum of the TV. There's currently a miniseries on HBO about John Adams and the founding fathers, and I found myself wondering if they would have gotten as much accomplished if there had been 3 TVs in every house.
So doing something for the planet also meant doing something for me. I think often about Dylan's quote, and think that as more people become conscious of wellness and Naturally Savvy living, they invariably become more environmentally conscious. Bob's a pretty smart guy.
What can you do for yourself and the environment?


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