Damn good advice

Posted by Trish Riley, December 16, 2009

“In the absence of rational leadership, neutral journalism for the public good, or a free and informed citizenry, the task of meeting the challenges ahead falls to each of us, individually. There is no “they” who are going to sort all this out. There is only “us.”

We have to own the problems of energy, food, water, climate change, population, and investments that don’t go sour. They’re ours.

So will be the solutions. Fortunately, there is much we can do.

Concentrate on efficiency first: Insulate your house. Get a more efficient vehicle and more efficient appliances. When an opportunity like Cash for Clunkers/Caulkers comes around, jump on it. Try to limit your driving and use public transit. Move closer to work, or vice versa.

Then do something on the supply side: Add solar PV and solar hot water to your house. Tear up your lawn and plant a vegetable garden, even if it means paying a fine to your HOA.

Rebalance your investment portfolio, with a view toward long-term sustainability. Limit your exposure to dollar-denominated assets and invest in hard assets. Do your own due diligence. Eliminate your debt as quickly as possible. Instead of hoping that your fantasies of wealth will be restored when the economy recovers, think about how you can live within your means if it never does.

Put down the crack pipe. Turn off the TV and read a book—preferably a history, or a how-to book on sustainable practices. Listen critically to the news and do your own research.

And finally, don’t wait for leadership in Washington. Be a leader, wherever you are. Work toward sustainable solutions, not at town hall meetings, but with your family, neighbors, friends and local governments.”

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