Friday, 21 October 2011

Live and love the seconds that you breathe.

We are obsessed with striving for happiness.  What makes us happy? What fulfills us? Power? Money? Success? Love?

We spend so much time trying to be better, trying to be happier, constantly reinventing ourselves to be more harmonious and successful and constantly talking about what we should be, what we should be doing, how we should behave. Trying to make ourselves happier, instead of just being.

We are, after all, human beings, shouldn't we just be.

Instead of trying to be the best you can, just be.
Instead of planning and telling people what you are going to do, just do.

Just ride the wave of life and watch it wave by.  We are a mere blip on the scale of existence.  Savour every moment of now.  Look back at all the wonders that have been, look forward to all the wonders that could be,

but live and love the seconds that you breathe.

Sunday, 16 October 2011

All Quiet on the Sustainability Front

Hello Old Friend, it has been so long.

I do apologise for my silence over the last months, I have been busy at my job at the Garden Museum where I am a trainee in the sustainability of heritage.  I am already over half way through the traineeship and starting to consider my next career move, but am also starting to refocus on my own sustainable lifestyle (or current lack of it).  It is common knowledge that full time work, particularly with a commute, makes it dreadfully difficult to be sustainable.  In fact it is highly ironic that the trainee in the sustainability of heritage at the Garden Museum lives 60 miles away!!  And with my current long distance work arrangements our household efforts to reduce our energy consumption and our efforts to not have plastic packaging have quite understandably drifted off. 

There is a part of me determined to find some kind of formula, solution, framework or maybe just answers to how to be a sustainable city commuter and I know there are many things that I can change if I just try.  Then there is an even bigger part of me that is becoming resigned to the fact that actually our 40+ hour weeks, where we commute into and out of the city and stays in hotels here and there, just isnt sustainable, thats just the truth of it.  Another truth is that the majority of the commuting population, if not all, do not want to spend 3-4 hours of their day travelling and would like to have more time at home, to nest build, spend with the family, indulge in their hobbies and so on. But unfortunately we feel trapped into an economic system that requires us to conform to this work schedule in order to pay the bills and maintain some sort of lifestyle.  But why am I banging on telling you all this, you already know, we ALL know this to be the case.  The real problem is that we are just not ready to change, some of us dont believe that its financially possible, some of us are too scared and comfortable, some of us feel pressurised by the eyes of society, judging whether we are working hard enough (or in the case of today, working ourselves to the grave). 

For me, I decided to take on the Cambridge to London commute to grapple an amazing career opportunity, to get onto the Sustainability ladder.  'Just a year in London to do this traineeship,' I said, 'I know the commute will be hard, but its totally worth it and its just a year.'  But now as I start looking for my next rung on the ladder, I start to realise that most of the next rungs are in London, that I am going to be hard pushed to continue to do what I want to do in Cambridge.  My life, my passion, is sustainability.  I believe that sustainable development is the most important and fundamental thing in the world today.  Yet to pursue a career in sustainability, seems to mean to give up a sustainable lifestyle.  What a weird world we live in.

I like to endeavour to have a solution at the end of each of my blog posts, something people can take away with them, as I have spent too much time in conferences and discussion groups discussing the same problems with the same arguments and never concluding with an answer.  But this issue isnt as clear cut as me suggesting an answer, because it is so situational, it depends on each family, each household doing a careful cost benefit analysis of their needs, their wants, their money and their time.

For me, the number one thing is getting a job in sustainability, I need to feel that I am working towards something that will make positive sustainable change in the world.  To live sustainabley comes very closely behind, how can you be a sustainability professional if you dont practice what you preach?

So I think my solution is go and grab another sustainability job; if its in London carefully work out how you can make that commuting lifestyle more sustainable.  When you get a job in Cambridge you can enjoy that extra time in making your home and your lifestyle the most sustainable it can be.  Thats the best that I can do for now.