After more than a couple of glasses of wine on a typical Saturday night at my apartment, an old friend and I went in to what had come to be familiar discussion about all of the issues in the world that we are worried about, things “we should do something about.” On this night we were in a particularly philosophical and contemplative mood, as can sometimes happen after a few too many vinos and a 60 hour week sucking on the corporate teat where there is little room to find intrinsic fulfillment or to express any real creativity outside of the scope of my immediate role. (For the record, I am Sales Director for an IT company, so the scope of my ability to really think and challenge the status quo, is, well, non-existent. Numbers, numbers, numbers.) We jumped around from a (and I summarise): Turn this off, I am sick of being controlled by the media (and hence the government) in how to think about the crisis in Syria and immigration, to a: isn’t it crazy they they are all piling on to these relatively tiny dinghies to make such a treacherous crossing, the bigger issue needs to be fixed. Which then led on to a: did you see the article on Facebook about how micro-beads in our toothpaste and face scrub are polluting our seas, finally landing on today’s hot topic: animal cruelty. With increasing volume she ranted, why are we allowing innocent animals to be tested for cosmetics, OK cancer curing drugs or meningitis, but for the latest shade of Coral Me Up ultra matt lippie? Really? And by the way, have I told you that I am thinking about cutting down red meat consumption (“did you know it takes 16 times more energy to produce red meat than grain?”).
Friend: “It just so upsets me, I saw a post on Facebook, and the images of these poor creatures were just disgusting.”
Me: “Sounds dreadful, I can barely look at that sort of thing.”
Friend: “I just hate animal cruelty, it’s a really big thing to me as you know. As in really big, always has been. I just think it’s heart breaking, these powerless creatures….”
Me: “Yeah, I agree wholeheartedly. I feel bad, it’s not something that’s ever really fully entered my consciousness. Which Cruelty Free products do you use, any you can recommend?”
Friend: “She shifted from foot to foot. Well, no, but, you know, I have written a sternly worded letter to the HQ of XX brand, and I occasionally try to buy products which seem the most natural, apart from my old favourites, you know how it is.”
Me: “But you are not 100% cruelty free?”
Friend: “Err no, not really. But I will be.”
Me: “Mate, WTF, I don’t understand, if you have such a core belief, which I really believe you do, and it’s a real issue for you, why do you continue to do nothing, it’s confusing? Why are you not voting with your feet?”
Couch activists. To call us procrastinators would assume either one of us has any intention to do anything about it. Where actually it was just easier to sit at home and talk to make ourselves feel more empowered. To smoke our cigarettes, drink our Chillean wine, eat our chicken wings (not organic, they were 3x the price), with the lights all on, the heating on with the windows open, oops, there is another spillage, pass me a wad of tissues please, do you recycle?
And that was my light-bulb moment. As simple as a conversation over a glass (or two) of wine on a Saturday night. The camera zoomed in close. I wasn’t judging her, and was definitely not putting myself on some martyr-like pedestal – it just made me realise how ridiculous I have been. Gormlessly making the same bad decisions time and time again, about my own self care, about the care of my immediate and global environment, about the products I choose to consume and surround myself with, about my relationships – about everything that I hold dear. My core values were just things I talked about over wine, I wasn’t doing anything about them. I remember loathing the inconsistent messages coming from an otherwise intelligent person, my friend. Hated. But on reflection, what I was actually uncomfortable with was that it was a reflection of me and my own modus operandi. My own lack of action or even intention were damning indictments that I had become someone, not that I didn’t like, but that I myself, the core me, was removed from.
And so I realised, there comes in a time in all of our lives where procrastination, contemplation, discussion, planning, and list writing is no longer enough. Time for action.
Do we want to be known for our thoughts, for our words and endless meandering streams of consciousness, or do we want to be known for our ability to push through the apathy and yes, laziness, to create something that will not only fulfill us, but to inspire others.
In this day and age, it is all too easy to be a couch warrior, to troll social media with such powerful and well thought out words, fighting evil and defending all that is good. But without action, surely this is almost as bad as not having had the thoughts to begin with? We can forgive the ignorant, but can we forgive ourselves for not doing anything when we know better? With the knowledge and understanding, comes the responsibility of action. Ideas without action are day dreams. And it’s selfish – if you subscribe to the notion that we are all interconnected, which I do, then holding on to that knowledge and passion and in some cases, the resources, without sharing and passing it/them on, is to state indirectly that it is not worth your time to improve things, that it’s not your problem even.
So I decided to do something. And here you find me.
Copper Lotus is not specifically about any of the issues above, but equally it’s about all of them. Please be patient, I don’t know exactly what I am going to do here at Copper Lotus, or how I am going to do it, but I know I want to do something: I want to help positively change the world around me and us, and I figured the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. I don’t claim to know what our final destination is, but rather than talk about what I might do, I figured I would just put one foot in front of the other, and trust the journey.