Be the change

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Back in July I stood outside the Embassy of India in Washington, D.C., in the absolute pouring rain long enough to get a photo with the Mahatma Gandhi Memorial. It was a fleeting moment, wrapped in other fleeting moments, and we all sort of ran haphazardly down Embassy Row and back to our hotel as quickly as possible. What I mean to say is: The thunderstorm that night was powerful.

But I think of Mahatma Gandhi’s famous imperative, “Be the change you wish to see in the world” often. I don’t live up to the ideal everyday, but those words inform my drive to put my money where my mouth is (to quote an olde Anglican aphorism). I think of those words when I purchase locally sourced food or fair trade coffee beans — or when I run down to the beach instead of hauling my Corolla to the fluorescently lit gym in the Flats. I think of those words when I reaffirm my decision not to eat meat or dairy products, and when I think about how we could all dismantle the animal agriculture industry if we really wanted to (and I do want to).

The world might not change with you as you like it, but you can change your part.

“All the world’s a stage,” after all, to quote another famous guy. “And all the men and women merely players; they have their exits and their entrances, and one man in his time plays many parts…”

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