Sunday, October 08, 2006

Tarheel Tavern #85,
setting an example

Welcome to this 85th example of the Tarheel Tavern. Our theme this week is setting an example. My friend and sustainability advocate, Chris, recently posted about the ways he demonstrates sustainable living. Like a blog meme, his example inspired me to think about the ways I try to demonstrate sustainable attitudes. It also reminded me of the theme of ...Slowly she turned, a regular Tavern participant who is slowly turning toward a new blog host.

I remember commenting earlier this summer that part of the value of her community gardening effort is to set an example. When I experienced one of those light-bulb-over-the-head moments three years ago I realized my best contribution would be to persuade other people to see value in sustainable living. The value of mowing my lawn with an electric mower is for my neighbors to see me doing it. The value of bringing my own reusable bags to the grocery store is for other shoppers to see me doing it. I'm very conscious that the value of this blog and my other Internet projects is for readers to see ordinary, real-life examples.

Mr. R., blogging at Evolgen, understands the value of teaching by example. He's also aware of the challenge of setting a good example consistently. As a science teacher he tries to inspire his students, but even the most dedicated science teacher can find it difficult to muster enthusiasm for nine straight weeks of nothing but dihydrogen oxide.

Writing Iddybud's Journal from the northern annex of Tarheel territory, Jude reflects on the challenge her mother faced and the influence of her mother's example. And she finds the sacred within the ordinary.

Mandie, approaching motherhood herself, sets an example of frenzied activity that makes me tired just to summarize it. Have you ever watched one of those home remodeling shows that recap a whole weekend of work in 30 seconds of frenzied sped-up video? Well, Mandie set that pace without the benefit of video effects. Picture a pregnant woman rebuilding multiple home appliances, cleaning gutters, jump-starting cars, constructing a corral, and taking crash courses in fire safety and plumbing 101, while eating chocolate and talking on the phone.

If that makes you tired, you might catch your breath while watching telenovelas en español at Pratie Place. Melinama describes a lifetime of bad behavior by the character of Doña Jacinta. (Viewing hint: "You know she's bad because she dresses in black and carries a cane.") Although the bad guy gal goes down in flames, some viewers wonder if Jacinta escaped too easily.

Real-life TV photographer (but not real name), Colonel Corn describes an interview with a rock star who sets an example by helping real life victims of abusive relationships.

A huge toxic waste fire in central North Carolina became a scary part of our real life this week. At Sustainability Southeast (another project in which I'm involved) we consider the example this sets: the example of our investment in our health and investment in our quality of life.

Over in western North Carolina, the Scrutiny Hooligans observe that a politician sets an example of “do as he says, not as he does”.

At the national level, the political example gets worse. A political operation that trumpeted its particular concept of moral standards recently discovered it doesn't live up to its own example. Ron takes issue with the search for scapegoats as he examines the Foley Fallout.

Thanks, everyone, for sharing your examples. Thanks for sharing what you care about.

Share what you care about.

That was the answer that energy and sustainability problem-solver Hunter Lovins offered when asked the challenging question, "What can I do?" She didn't hesitate before she replied, "Share what you care about."

That's the value of teaching, the value of parenting, the value of community gardening, and the value of blogging.

Thanks for sharing, and thanks for reading.



Laurie said...

Wow, not only did you include me anyway, you put me at the top. Thanks, because I was just wondering if 1 p.m. the day after the deadline would be okay! Great theme - I am really convinced that the small things make a difference.

Abel Pharmboy said...

etbnc, what a beautiful comment to leave on my post about my wistful phone call with Billy Bragg after missing Stetson Kennedy's 90th b'day party.

"So the milkman of human kindness really did leave an extra pint?"

Indeed, and a very rich extra pint, as well!

Given my otherwise sadness (formerly, anger) thanks to RDU's US Airways staff, I didn't even think to submit this for THT. Turns out that Stetson has many NC connections in that his son Loren Kennedy has played a major role in Durham's American Tobacco Historic District, two UNC faculty in the Center for Study of the American South sit on the Board of the Stetson Kennedy Foundation, and Durham's Institute for Southern Studies and their Southern Exposure publication take their name from one of Stetson's books.

Thanks for coming by and thanks for hosting a great THT this week!