Good Habits Are Hard to Break

<March 11/14> I started using the GO train to get into Toronto from where I lived, out in “the boonies” of Durham Region, east of the city (northeast in my case) & where btw everyone owns a car/van/truck (or three), eons ago. I dunno, 20 years ago anyway.

I did it for environmental reasons (it was actually climate stuff in the news that nudged me into environmental activism way back when … in the late 1980s, in my case). I would be contributing less to greenhouse gas emissions, I figured, if I used the train. For sure it wasn’t because it was economical; it actually costs more to use the GO train than to drive (something that has always rather pi**ed me off, to tell you the truth).

I do still own a car (a small Toyota with great gas mileage), & now I live in the city & barely use it. Right now I’m writing this on the train, heading for an evening thing.

Good habits are hard to break!

I wrote a posting once about how/why I love public transportation.

I used to think if I set a good example with the things I did – practicing the 3R’s (reduction, reuse, recycling; in the correct order of course), composting, consuming less, driving minimally, keeping the house temperature down & using a clotheshorse & clothesline instead of the dryer, not flying – all that kind of stuff, you know – that others would follow my fine upstanding example.

As if, eh??

Well, that obviously bombed. I hardly know another soul who uses the GO system or avoids flying for environmental reasons. Or, well, okay, I know one or two, or maybe even three or four. It’s such an oddball thing to do (the flying thing in particular) that I don’t even talk to anyone about it. They would take me for a moron. A wing-nut. A kook. (Funny that, now that I think of it. Everyone does that anyway!?)

But the thing is, good habits are hard to break.

I now no longer believe that any of my naïve notions about conserving less made, or make, or will ever make a darn bit of difference in the long (or even the short!) run. Pretty sure that ship has sailed, hmmm? I believe all the tipping points the smart folks used to talk about years, decades ago now, for heaven’s sake, have been passed. Or is it past? (Plenty of sobering corroborating info on that here.)

Still, good habits are hard to break.

It’s somehow kind of a comforting thought.


p.s. I could write a little essay called “Car Culture.” I’ve lived both in & outside of it, & had some interesting insights about cars & suburban life, once I got a bit out of the suburban habit. But you know? It doesn’t really matter anyway. Car culture is one of those things that has led/is leading the human race to a gigantic crash-up (as it were) – but it’s too late to do anything about it now. It’s probably been too late for thousands of years! That run-away train called “civilization” simply sped up to hyper-warp speed in our lifetimes (can you say exponential??), & the crash course it’s on has way too much momentum for any of us to halt it now. Me & all my naïve efforts, eh?? Ah well. Still. They always felt good – still do now, mostly, even.

p.p.s. I’ll keep right on using public transportation – the GO train & the TTC streetcars & subways – ‘cos I like public transportation. I enjoy it. It feels good to me to use it.

Good habits are hard to break.

Most people I know? You can’t pry them out of their cars. Car use is so deeply ingrained in our culture, breaking its stranglehold is inconceivable, now.

Bad habits are hard to break, too. I ought to know! I have more than my fair share of those.

‘Quote of the day’ with this post: On the dangers of un-guided technology: “We are aboard a train which is gathering speed, racing down a track on which there are an unknown number of switches leading to unknown destinations. No single scientist is in the engine cab and there may be demons at the switch. Most of society is in the caboose, looking backward.” – Ralph Lapp, scientist-turned-writer

Others: “The truth is that we never conquered the world, never understood it; we only think we have control. We do not even know why we respond a certain way to other organisms, and need them in diverse ways, so deeply.” – E.O. Wilson

4 Laws of Ecology:     “Everything is connected to everything else

Everything must go somewhere.

Nature knows best.

There is no such thing as a free lunch.” – Barry Commoner

“I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy.” – Rabindranath Tagore, philosopher, author, songwriter, painter, educator, composer, Nobel laureate (1861-1941)

“I can say that it is time now to play ‘the end of the world’ symphony. I don’t know what instrument you hold, but you need to play it as best as you can, & find your place in the score. You don’t have to play a solo here. But this is our task now.” – Dr. Sandra Steingraber, in a recent interview with Bill Moyer (you really MUST watch this interview!)

“I see my job, Bill, as not helping people to feel that they can be safe – but rather, showing – illuminating for people – where the paths for activism lie.” — from the interview referenced above

** more Sandra Steingraber quotes here

** tons more quotations in the ‘Quotation Central!’ section