Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Occupy movement begins at home

An increasing number of Facebook posts and pages concern “occupy” parodies or spin-off movements, among them “Occupy Sesame Street” (“99 percent of the cookies are consumed by 1 percent of the monsters”), “Occupy Gringotts” (We are the 99%… of Wizards”) and “Occupy Autism Speaks” (“We are the 1 in 110”).

It’s only amusing — there is no real benefit — to promote “Occupy Diagon Alley” with my Photoshop art, since the hub of wizarding commerce is fictional after all.

In the matter of re-posting “Occupy Autism Speaks,” I share the far more serious concern that this charity spreads harmful misinformation about people like me. I write about my experiences as a woman who occupies the autism continuum because ”I am autism, too” (to borrow the title of an entry in John Elder Robison’s blog for PsychologyToday.com).

But this column isn’t about autism; it’s about what I term a need to “occupy in place,” that is to examine the consequences of my everyday decisions and to consider which industries they empower.

When for example I ceased to drive a car and rode to work via public transit, I cut off a revenue stream that empowered the auto and oil industries. Instead of filling the tank every week, I buy a monthly transit rider’s pass. That money is an ongoing investment in what I consider to be an important public service.

According to the American Public Transportation Association,  public transportation reduces gasoline use by 4.2 billion gallons annually.

Another decision that continues to have effect was to cease buying single-serving bottled water. My husband and I carry and use stainless-steel bottles that we fill at home and from public sources. It isn’t as convenient to scout refill sources as it would be to buy plastic bottles, but the effort is worth it, I think. For one thing, according to Food and Water Watch, American consumers spend thousands of dollars more per gallon to consume water from a plastic bottle than they would for the water that is flowing from their taps.

My obective with this column is not to promote myself as a super ecological citizen; I’m simply sharing two of what I feel are the best decisions my family ever made.

For more information about public transport issues and the benefits of public transport, visitwww.publictransportation.org/. For information specific to Lake County public transit, visit www.laketransit.org and http://lakeapc.org/. For more information about bottled water use, visit www.foodandwaterwatch.org/water/take-back-the-tap/.

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