Monday, February 11

The Power of One

It's a common theme on environmental blogs to talk about why one person's behavior makes a difference. I generally stay away from that, believing that folks who care to read blogs like this are looking for things to do and stories about what happened to keep them in the game. However, a couple of weeks ago, I caught a story about the American Airlines pilot's union. (Original story here.)

Here's the deal. In the months after 9/11, most US airlines went into bankruptcy because their business plans didn't have a clause for a sudden, dramatic halt in air travel. One airline that avoided bankruptcy was American, and part of the reason that they were able to was that the pilot's union agreed to pay cuts. In other works, because a whole bunch of individuals took less money, they saved their company.

And also notice that ads are targeted to individuals. Companies trust that if they make a good ad, they will get a whole bunch of individuals purchasing their product.

So, if businesses are convinced of the power of individuals, both as employees and customers, why do we lose heart?

1 comment:

Cindy said...

Hi, I just stumbled upon your blog. I have always had two minds about the power of one. In 2004 general election, I opted out (gasp!) because I did not believe my vote would matter. I am still not convinced 100% that any specific individual actions can save us from the impending environmental catastrophes. But if we don't start with us, where do we start? Wait for businesses to have long-range vision and do the right thing? Not likely. Wait for our government to act decisively? Doubtful. So the only place I know is to start with me. With the power of internet, we may be able to form an increasingly large community that will have a voice in product choices and policy decisions. Perhaps that community can continue to influence and bring more people into the fold. So I no longer question whether individual actions matter, because it seems that we have to start somewhere.

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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.