Bright Ideas and Baby Steps

My gran used to have a saying (don’t think she made it up, I’ve heard loads of people use it since) that went something like “Learn to crawl before you try to walk!” Normally, this would be rolled out when I had tried to do something, and been pretty rubbish at it. I was reminded of this when I recently sat down to read There’s A Hippo In My Cistern, a great new book from former lads mag journo Pete May.

There's A Hippo In My Cistern

At the beginning of the book Pete is very open about the lifestyle he used to lead – he would fly everywhere he could, cared little for conservation, and was obsessed with consumerism and the latest toys and gadgets. In essence he was living the life most twenty-something blokes would kill for. This all changes, however, when he meets eco-warrior Nicola, and the course of true love, as another saying goes, never runs smooth.

The central point of the book, though, is that despite all the warnings of our planet killing ways, few of us make any major changes to our lifestyle. There could be many reasons for this, from laziness, to comfort, to unwillingness, but I feel the crucial issue is apathy. People don’t think that anything they do individually will make any difference, and therefore don’t start trying. In the book, May finds that adjusting to a more ethical lifestyle is much more difficult than it appears, but by taking small steps, he eventually transforms his life, and turns away from his consumerist, eco-sinner past. We could all follow his example, and start small. Energy saving lightbulbs, for example, can use around 75% less energy than regular ones. That’s 75% less carbon and 75% less money spent on lighting your house, and 75% more happiness in the world (approx!). That’s just one small step, which really is no effort at all, and does wonders for your eco-karma. You know it makes sense.

I’ll end this post with another saying of my gran’s (and, of course, some Chinese bloke) “The longest journey starts with the smallest step.” Why not take that step today, and see where your journey takes you? More small steps to come.

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