Posted by: David McKay | August 15, 2010

Taking action on an idea.

Taking action on an idea.

If you have not seen this speech by Van Jones, I would highly recommend it:  He speaks of taking action on an idea.

I moved to Barre, VT not too long ago — all the way across the country, and I end up here.  The rest of the state pokes fun of this town.  Over in the state capital, Barre is a joke.  The state put in some of its court system here a few decades ago, and the town picked up a stigmata.  The people going through the court system need social services, so those were made available to them right in Barre, too.  And those people have to stay here — they can’t leave.  One of my neighbors refers to Barre as a penal colony.  I have heard others call it the “Armpit of Vermont.”  So the population changed, and with it, the town changed.  The economy is in the toilet — empty store fronts, businesses failing because the local community does not support them.  The Wal-Mart one town over is doing just fine (I guess — I don’t shop there).  Barre is like the little brother of Montpelier — always getting picked on.

I work in Montpelier, the state capital.  One night after work, as the jokes were being tossed around about Barre, I said that I was going to make a bumper sticker that said, “I ‘heart’ Barre VT” and sneak around in the dead of night sticking them on Montpelier bumpers.

Coming home late one night, the package I was waiting for had arrived — the stickers!  I immediately sneaked out in the dead of night and stuck one on a bumper — mine.

My joke changed.  It was no longer a joke.  I had begun to develop pride in the town I live in.  I love the place I am in.  Everything else in my life is an extension of myself, and where I am, and who I am.  I have to represent!

Wanting the price break, I had ordered 100 stickers.  Having only started with an idea, I have since ordered 100 more, sold more than 120, given away at least 30, and discovered that there are other people in my community that love Barre.  I stumbled across something wonderful.

By taking action on an idea.

I just recently ordered a book through Amazon.  I found the book used from a seller in Kentucky: Pink Casa Antiques.  I had an idea.  I sent an email to Pink Casa with a request: Please do not package my book in plastic.  It’s paid for, it’s mine.  I told them what I have been doing lately, sent them a link to this blog (letting them know I am going to mention their name one way or the other) and this was their response:

Hello, David McKay,

As per your request, we will not use any plastic in packaging your book.  This will unfortunately not make your package water resistant.  We will wrap your book in plain white paper and ship it in a cardboard box.  Both the paper and box are biodegradable and are made from renewable resources.   I trust that this will meet your requirements and needs.

Thank you for your order.  I hope that you enjoy your book.

Best regards,

Jalane @ Pink Casa Antiques


Hello, David McKay,

While preparing to pack your order, I noticed that the book you ordered came with a clear, protective plastic cover.  After reading your blog and recognizing your desire to eliminate plastic in your life, I removed this cover from your book.  It will not be sent with the book.  I trust that we have taken every precaution possible to avoid extra plastics.

Best regards,

Jalane @ Pink Casa Antiques

By taking action on an idea, I create change.  So can you.  It is really quite simple, once you do it.

Do you have ideas that you would like to put in motion?  Once you start, momentum is created, and the simplicity of it all will amaze you.

Responsibility is not convenient — it’s necessary.

Rethink.  Refuse.  Reduce.  Reuse.



  1. In my teens and twenties I was quite environmentally conscientious. Long before Al Gore released his movie “An Inconvenient Truth” I had been privy to that information from my Environmental Geology courses I took in college. Panic stricken by the impending doom our planet was facing, I began to recycle like mad. In my lecture halls I’d collect soda cans otherwise tossed in the trash and made immense efforts in my daily life.
    Is it because I am too busy I no longer engage in taking action on a committed regular basis?
    Before the bottle bill, my mother and I would walk the dirt roads in Maine with a large garbage bag (plastic I am sure) and collect the beer bottles strewn all over the pristine mountainside. I am grateful for that memory.
    It’s time I instill such memories of caring and acting to my son.
    Maybe one simple step as picking up trash on our daily walks and outings can help inspire our youth to continue this insane and daunting legacy we are leaving them, cleaning up the planet.

  2. Insane and daunting is right. I am trying to remember to bring a reusable bag with me when I go out for walks, specifically to pick up trash. Staying positive is important, especially when raising a child — that person has their whole life in front of him!
    Someone who may help inspire you is Sara Bayles at She is picking up trash and talking about it.

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