Lest you all think, that with my recent calls for collective action, that I have abandoned individual action, please read my post at WorldChanging about how the two are in separable. Leave your comments there but leave them here too!
A continuing debate erupts within the environmental movement about the relative merits of individual versus collective action. Back in 2007, on the subject of individual action, The New York Times columnist Tom Friedman wrote,
You can change lights. You can change cars. But if you don’t change leaders, your actions are nothing more than an expression of, as Dick Cheney would say, “personal virtue.”
I heard criticisms like Friedman’s constantly throughout a one-year project in environmental living that I took on under the moniker No Impact Man. What difference can one person make? Having had a lot of critics who forced me to look at the issue, I’ve come to some conclusions.
Firstly, there is one circumstance under which one person absolutely cannot make a difference: if that one person doesn’t try. And if we don’t try, who among us knows whether we have foregone the chance to influence the people around us? Which one of us knows for sure that, by applying our talents and efforts to what we believe in, whether we might become a Martin Luther King Jr. or a Bobby Kennedy or an Al Gore or a Betty Friedan or a Nelson Mandela?
Not that these great names are necessarily the most important aspects of movements…
Read the rest of the post here.
PS Did you guys know that the man character in this week’s Law & Order was apparently modeled after me? Too weird.