It is spring here and that means my hive is buzzing.Â Even though â€œhereâ€ is Florida and the seasons arenâ€™t traditional, per se, I still observe them in spirit.Â So, for me, March, April and May is my time to be cloaked with vibrant color shifts, birth, reemergence and the winds of change.
I have been invited to take part in the 2012 Sustainatopia, taking place next month in Miami.Â Itâ€™s a bit of an honor to be asked (blushing) and I am still pinching myself.Â Sustainatopia is an impact conference that encourages people to really consider how social relationships between investing, finances, and environmental sustainability can become more collaborative, creating a global community that benefits economically from doing what is, essentially, the right thing.Â Um, wow!Â Doesnâ€™t that sound lofty?
Honestly, their mission seemed somewhat intimidating on first glance.Â If I accepted their invitation to exhibit my art, would I have to give up those sweeet leather Gucci loafers in favor of padding around in a pair of flax colored canvas Tomâ€™s shoes?Â Would it be contradictory for me to nosh on a big Porterhouse steak while I mulled it over?Â I was worried that maybe I am not hard-core-organo-hippie enough to walk their walk.Â I was giving myself a case of â€œover-analysis paralysisâ€.Â But then it hit me.Â It is exactly guys like meâ€¦I am the core audience, the target demographic for this way of looking at things.Â Like any group thatâ€™s worth itâ€™s weight in hemp, they arenâ€™t trying to convert an army of rabid, militant followers.Â Sustainatopia isnâ€™t about writing legislation, pushing shame or passing judgment.Â The force behind Sustainatopia is focused on generating ideas, presenting options and helping regular people think outside of the box to find their way to being better stewards of their community.Â Itâ€™s a serious issue with a laid back approach.Â I can do some seriously laid back!
But, itâ€™s gotten me thinking: What am I doing today that I can be proud of?Â As a son, father, employer and walker of this earth, what example do I give?Â That isnâ€™t just a question for art exhibitors or tree-huggers, I think itâ€™s one that everyone could spend some time with.Â For me, for today, my answer is that I am open.Â There is likely no one perfect universal lifestyle, and I can accept that.Â While I may not be ready, or even want to turn my world upside down to save endangered tigers, stop oil drilling or live â€œoff of the gridâ€, I can certainly play around with incorporating different tactics and little tweaks.Â I am open to exploring and making new choices and seeing where it leads me.Â Experimenting doesnâ€™t mean that Iâ€™m molly-bolted to any thing.Â I am open to making my life less disposable.Â What is the worst thing that could happen from me condensing errands or carpooling to events so that I drive a little less?Â Would incorporating â€œMeatless Mondayâ€ into the at-home dinner menu hurt anything?Â I donâ€™t think that for me to associate and coexist with the spirit of Sustainatopia requires what I might perceive as a sacrifice.Â A cleaner, less fettered life doesnâ€™t have to be about all of the things that I feel compelled to give up.Â The other side, and perhaps the more important one, is to consider what it is that I can take on.
I can install a rain barrel for watering my potted plants.Â I can drink from the same glass all day.Â I can walk to the post office, be comfortable with the thermostat just one degree higher.Â I could even learn to reupholster a chair instead of buying a new one.Â I could take responsibility for my health and quit smokingâ€¦oh, wait.Â Checkmark, â€˜cause I already did that!Â There are so many things that I am capable of doing that wonâ€™t feel like deprivation, but could be a little piece of something far bigger than a mere contribution.Â The whole, is the sum of itâ€™s parts.Â I aim to be a part.