Sustainablity: Sheepwalked?

Seth Godin’s blog has an article on what he calls "Sheepwalking", which Godin defines as "the outcome of hiring people who have been raised to be obedient and giving them a braindead job and enough fear to keep them in line." He then proceeds to give several examples of what sheepwalking looks like and discusses how to change the situation.

This got me thinking a bit about the turnaround that we’re beginning to see in the popular media – being "green" and "sustainable" is becoming the latest rage, with more and more news articles published every week on the subject, some giving examples of citizens who are lowering their carbon footprint with very simple changes to their lives. But to what extent does this reflect change?

Let’s redefine "sheepwalking" a bit. If sheepwalking were instead "the outcome of being obedient to the status quo, giving them many reinforcements that the status quo is correct and enough fear to believe that the status quo should never change", what does this say about sustainability, its proponents, and its detractors? How does this change the image of someone who believes that global warming is a myth perpetrated by liberals, or the environmentalist who has gotten rid of their car in an effort to reduce their impact?

The interesting part about this is that, with "being green" becoming a new expectation ingrained in our collective consciousness, we are, in fact, stuck between two status quos: that of maintaining what we know to be tradition and that of beginning to change our impact on the planet. Are we being sheepwalked either way? Fear is used to propel both viewpoints, and the reliance of both viewpoints on groups that are obedient to those ideals is nothing to cough at. What’s going on as we continue to see this shift? Are we simply sheep being herded in another direction, or is this a true revolution?

Life Rolls On

A lot has happened this year already. I’ve applied for and been accepted into the University of Washington’s Master of Science in Information Management program, which I’m hoping will help me to better understand how information is conveyed and manipulated. I’ve worked very hard as the Information Technology Manager for Evergreen’s Writing Center despite only being a 20 hour/week position, doing everything from applications development to budget proposals to presentations at this year’s PNWCA conference (yes, again). I am now also a Professional member of the Association for Computing Machinery, upgrading my former student status.

In a week or so (on May 11) I’m off to Ohio to finally meet a friend of mine that I’ve known online for half my life. I’m worrying about finding housing in Seattle for graduate school and worrying about finding a job (and worrying even more about the fact that both almost have to happen at once). Amanda, my girlfriend, is in Ireland, enjoying herself immensely by the sound of things. We’re having new mailboxes installed.

In short, life rolls on.