What's so green about taking inventory? After all, I remember working at a department store when I was a teen and inventory day was the one day of the year when overtime was mandatory. For more than 12 hours, I dragged my tired body all over the building, counting things: bed sheets, pots, rugs, footballs, books, shirts, spoons, shoes, and more things I can't remember. If Kafka worked with me at that now-defunct store, he would've had another novel.
Today, however, the concept of taking inventory has a whole new (read: green) meaning for me. Strictly speaking, the word means "the total amount of goods and/or materials contained in a store or factory at any given time" and can refer to both "the total amount of goods and the act of counting them." So, it's the metaphorical "act" I'm talking about because every earth-friendly human should take a personal inventory every now and then. To get the ball rolling, I've asked a few smart friends for advice.
Three Wise Men Help Us Take an Eco-Inventory of Our Lives
1. Chomsky sez: "We are responsible for the predictable consequences of our actions."
In this information age, claiming ignorance is not a valid defense. Most of us are well aware of the "predictable consequences of our actions."
Inventory Question: Am I willing to take responsibility for the predictable consequences of my actions?
2. Aristotle sez: "We are what we repeatedly do."
Let's say a corporation claims to be green but is has a long record of environmental degradation. Guess what? It's not green, it's criminal. Thereby, on an individual level, green intentions are no replacement for green behavior.
Inventory Question: What do I repeatedly do?
3. Gandhi sez: "Action expresses priorities."
More often than not, we are motivated by what we deem important. Talking about going vegan or selling your car and buying a bike or dismantling industrial civilization doesn't reflect your priorities. What we "repeatedly do" reflects our priorities and our eco-legacy will be based on actions, not intent.
Inventory Question: What are my priorities?
And One Wise Woman Sums it All Up Neatly
Rita Mae Brown sez: "Never hope more than you work."
The planet cannot survive on hope. It's got a fever and the only cure is...action.