Activism & Frustration

(Leer este post en Español)

We all have friends who passionately stand for a cause. They even leave their rest for later or stop doing things they have to do in order to work for that cause. I have friend like that too! I have a friend Moni: She posts and motivates her friends to try the vegan lifestyle. Another friend, Corinne: She tries to make people get aware and interested in the artistic work of women who paint, write, compose and that have been minimized by history. Another friend, Silvia: She invites people to join protesting marches against corrupt politicians or against social injustices. I can list more friends as well, but unfortunately there are not that many.

I don’t agree with everything that Moni, Corinne or Silvia think and sometimes I have talked with them about why being so radical or getting angry with people won’t make them to react. Maybe I’m more cold, maybe I’m more focused, perhaps I just don’t commit myself so much. Since I remember when I was young (many decades ago), I leaned a little bit more into ecological causes. Before this last adventure where  I went one week to isolate myself into the Soulfullheart ranch, I had promised me that I will start taking more radical actions to be more consistent with what I think: I stop eating red meat and go vegetarian whenever possible, I began to carry water and coffee thermos to reduce my use of plastic, I leave the scooter parked to use the bike or the bus more, etc.

Among many other things, I decided to tell Vallarta Salads‘ customers that I won’t give them straws with their drinks unless they ask me. I had seen other restaurants like Florios or Corazón Saludable doing that. What I’ve noticed is that if you explain to them kindly  your ecological position, most of them accept and stays willingly without using straws. But it’s like with babies, if next time, I am not attending the table, they immediately go and use a straw although I have told them what was my position last visit. Along with the signs we have in each table, I was thinking of putting a sign and post on our social networks where I invite people to try to use less plastic when ordering food. But it frustrates me a little that not all the team members share my ideas. It even seems that they are just waiting for me to turn away to go and offer straws to everyone.

There have been 2 days in which I feel particularly frustrated and a little angry. I talked to my mother about this and she try to feel me. But she was surprised about why there was so much frustration and anger. I really do not understand where all these intense feelings come from to the extent that I just can’t remove them from my head. I do not understand where did this fixation with straws came from. There are so many things that pollute more. I do not understand why this feeling of helplessness … Me, the guy that is able to let everything roll, or at least that’s what I pretend I do. Maybe my ex-girlfriend that was so focused on feelings left me a little bit of her intensity? It’s just a straw, I know! And while I’m preventing a client of ours to use a single small straw, the neighboring fast-food restaurant chain, servs all their meals in plastics even if people are going to eat inside the restaurant. And they have 15 times more customers than us! In other words, it seems that although I could achieve my goal, is nothing compared to all that keeps happening out there.

Perhaps what frustrates me the most is that I feel that if I can not convince those who I have near me, I won’t have a better luck with those I do not know. I think something similar happens to Moni, Corinne or Silvia when people just ignore them when they ask people to do something. I would like to know what do they do to avoid frustration and keep doing what they do?

And in the midst of my frustration, I read a tweet. A tweet from Ecogranjero with this image:

“The smallest action is better than the biggest intention”

Epiphany! Suddenly I felt where I needed to indict my frustration. I realized that i don’t get along really good with all this neurolinguistic idea about “think positive, you can’t change everything, but you can be happy.” After all, not everything is happiness, isn’t it? I like to think that at the same time as happiness, human beings must find another goal: Transcendence. I want to be an agent of change on the planet!

I refuse to be a person that in order to be happy, closes everything around himself and never moves a finger for any cause. There are many people out there signing on behalf of the causes of and display their indignation on their facebook‘s post to ecological disasters or other problems that my friends Moni, Corinne or Silvia fight such as animal abuse, sexism and social injustice. I’m not saying it’s bad, which is not. But it’s not enough. On the topic I was coming to you about ecology, it’s not enough to put a little sign of “Happy Earth Day! turn off the light when you go out” and that’s it! There is a severe environmental crisis and the planet is in a point of no return unless we start doing more drastic actions to decrease our impact. We need more people like the old folks at Soulfullheart that went off-grid to grow their own food and less people who only gives “like” to images by Greenpeace. Of course not everyone can go to live in an eco-sustainable ranch as the Soul friends, but at least stop using the stupid straws during the 15 minutes that it takes for you to drink a a soda and then convert this straw into permanent trash for 150 years.

And before I get more passionate about the subject, I have to understand that many times my effort will not be enough; I have to understand that perhaps the example that I give or the great effort I do to convince someone will not help, but as Ecogranjero said: “It’s better a very small action than a great intention.”


(A hug for everyone who is standing for a cause to make this a better world. I only mentioned 3 friends but there are more.)

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