Tuesday, March 20

The Green Triangle

About 10 years ago, I viewed my life through the lens of recovering from overspending. One of the important books to me at that time was Living Cheaply with Style by Ernest Callenbach. I recently found my copy in a box and flipped through it to see what it might offer at this stage in my life. I was entertained by the comment about how CFLs might evolve into pleasant home lighting in the future. But I was struck by the sensibility of Callenbach's Green Triangle.

The concept is that our health, our finances, and the ecosystem are three points on a triangle. Whenever we act for the health of one of these, the other two are also benefitted. So now, although I'm looking at my life through the lens of living more gently on the earth, my actions are very much in line with my friends who are trying to improve their health naturally or who are looking for ways to save money.

From another perspective, the green triangle might be seen as the legs of a three-legged stool. Sensible decisions are informed by all three elements. It doesn't make sense for me to drink corn-syrup sweetened drinks even through they might be cheaper than bottled water, because they are worse for my health and for the environment.

From a third perspective, the green triangle might describe three phases in a cycle of a spiral. By making choices that move toward the greener end of the spectrum, we can offset choices in the other direction. I can drive my car to a gym to work out on a treadmill in the air conditioning, or I can take a walk. I actually do both, but considering the weight of various options, maybe I can make a greener choice today.

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NotSoBigLiving is the story of a woman inspired by Sarah Susanka, Bill McKibben, Airstreams, Tumbleweed houses, Mennonites, Jimmy Carter, hippies, survivalists, Anasazi, Pema Chodron and Joko Beck, Scott Peck, Buckminster Fuller, and Al Gore to see what she can do to reduce her carbon footprint in her mid-80's suburban townhome. Strategies include roommates, alternative travel, organic eating, planting a victory garden, mindfulness, and a belly full of laughter.