Donna Nichter is a local environmentalist. She showed up at our first Media Makers Meet-up, which we co-hosted with The Good Neighborhood and GreenWatch. Donna's participation in the Media Makers Meet-up led to the publication of an article and the creation of an event - WNY Green Meetup! Read on for information about Donna's second WNY Green Meetup planned for this Friday, May 4, at 6:30 PM.
Two questions – what sustains you, and do you act in a manner that supports your sustenance?
When I think of what sustains me, some of the things that come to mind are physiological: air, water, food. Then there are things like safety, shelter, health. And there are higher needs (according to Maslow) – love, peace, connection, joy, contribution, meaning… Oh, there are more to be sure, these are universal. If you’ve never thought about this or it’s been awhile, you can take a look at this list of needs to get you started in reconnecting to what is important to you.
Onto the next question – why is it that on one hand, I believe these are the things that sustain me and make a healthier and happier me, community, and planet; and on the other hand, I sometimes choose to act in ways that don’t support what I say is important to me? Gandhi said, “Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.” I know this to be true. When I am living my Truth as I understand it; when I am in integrity with that which I value – I am more centered, lighter, I breathe easier. So why is it?
Nonviolent Communication teaches that when we choose one action over another it is still meeting a need. “Needs” in this context are life energies that flow through us, qualities or values that are universal and when fulfilled lead to life enrichment.
For instance, I stopped composting last year for a couple different reasons – my values for contribution and health for myself, family, and the planet were superceded by my needs of ease and harmony that were not being fulfilled. I was working seven days a week and not dealing with compost was one less hassle. My family didn’t like the smell on the kitchen countertop and we were not willing to find a solution.My intention is not to make excuses, but to understand. If I can understand why I make a choice, then maybe next time I will do so with more deliberation. That may mean I choose either way, perhaps my need for ease in that moment really does outweigh my desire for contribution. Or perhaps I will take a moment to pause and find a creative strategy to meet all the needs. Either way, it is a more conscious decision. A step towards responsibility. Maya Angelou says, “When we know better, we do better.”
I was delighted when I found others at the WNY Green Meetup who shared similar stories. We decided to take action. First on the agenda – composting, yay! We decided we would each research ways to make composting a part of our routine. From urban to rural, we are finding ways to make it fun, easy, and rewarding – and not stink.
Join us as we explore the world of dirt at our next gathering on Friday, May 4th, 6:30-8:30 PM at Ashkers, 1002 Elmwood Avenue. Bring your ideas, experience, and questions – it’s a group effort. We will be planning future ventures as well. Come help us create as we discover the joys of green living!
Join the WNY Green MeetUp at - http://www.meetup.com/WNY-Green-Meetup/