UPSTREAMING…the motive behind the ‘movement’

Aug 17, 2015

UPSTREAMING…the motive behind the ‘movement’


Last week I launched this blog with a ‘mere slip of a thing’ about saving a tiny piece of soap.  It was the most minor, almost incidental example of a personal choice that reminds me, every time I shower, that there are new opportunities, every single day, to consume less, share more and do less harm…what I have come to call ‘Upstreaming’.

Today I want to lay out my reasons for this quite personal choice and why I should like to share this journey with you. Since I don’t have all the answers it seems like a good idea to ask a couple of questions.

Do the present ‘circumstances’ of the world demand any special action from the present population?

Is there a generally perceived problem facing the entire human race?

One overarching issue appears, at least to me, to be the population, which now stands at 7.3 billion and is increasing by about 14 million a year.  By 2042 we are projected to reach 9 billion and to flatten out at 10 billion by 2064.

Water would appear to be the immediate critical issue and this is rapidly effecting basic crops and the energy generation that requires vast amounts of water for both steam and fracking for shale oil and natural gas.

Industry will likely suffer from these disruptions and, as a result, fewer goods may be produced and the demands of those coming out of poverty will be harder to satisfy. This could lead to social unrest as comparisons are made between competing cultures on the web and elsewhere.

Peace and goodwill toward all men is therefor unlikely, especially if we continue at our present pace of consumption. Major evidence of this trend will, I believe, become obvious by 2020 and critical by 2040.

Is there any action that can be taken to slow this decline in the quality of human life on this planet?

Indifference could well be the primary cause of the possible decline that faces us. Many are satisfied with the status quo…(for the most part), providing that we advantaged people can heat and cool and feed ourselves at reasonable prices. We may be aware of the increasing threat to those less fortunate but we can see little logical reason to believe that a decision to curb our use of basic resources would have the slightest impact upon ‘those other peoples’ lives.

I strongly believe that there is a solution and it is centered in the word RESILIENCE.

If I begin with my own self-interest and seek out regular habit patterns that may harm me, either physically, emotionally or spiritually and decide to make changes that are of benefit to my own life and those whom I love. Then move beyond my immediate self-interest, to embrace with compassion, those who are obviously at risk and to do so in a committed, consistent manner. Then I would begin to see the global risk factors addressed, even though the effect would be minimal. Others may at least see me as a ‘Flash of Silver’ encouragement and that is how movements begin.

The great obstacle to this idea is the word IMMEDIATE and this is the urgent demand made by our present communications systems that facilitates the modern marketing machine that drives consumption beyond our global ability to sustain such growth.

As a result I feel that there is a motive that can change my perception of the world for the better. To learn how to love my neighbor as myself and in so doing to seek how to do less harm to my family, my community, my world and myself and to work toward a return to resilience in all things, as apparently, was the original design intention?

This then, is my purpose as I commit to heading upstream on purpose, with you?

My slip of soap reminds me of this commitment every day and I get to smile as I lather!


Graham Kerr
Mount Vernon, Washington.
“I believe that I shall see the goodness of God in the land of the living”


  1. Mary Lou Childs Says: September 3, 2015 8:37 pm

    I just read your blog above because I was looking to find out more about you. Your name came up in a discussion of who our “Skyline Garden Club” in Anacortes might try to sign as an end-of-season speaker at a special evening event in May before we break for the summer. I am the president of the Club so was Googling around tonight.

    I am fascinated that a person whose name has been linked to cooking should be so interested/concerned about the planet. I have a passion for tiny homes and have files that are more than 25 years old about this idea (that nobody was thinking about back then). I intend to join with others to build a tiny home community in the near future. Use less materials for our homes and focus on doing the jobs that God has prepared in advance for us to do for what remains of our lives. I was pleasantly surprised to see Psalm 27:13 in your blog! Very cool.

    I see that you and your wife live in Mt. Vernon. My husband and I live in Anacortes. Is there any chance that you would be interested/available to do a program of some kind at the Skyline Beach Club west of Anacortes? If so, what is your fee?

    I’d be really tickled to hear back from you, even if it is to say, “No thanks.” 🙂 Thanks for considering it!

    All the best,


  2. Linda Lauritzen Says: September 13, 2015 12:02 am

    “To learn how to love my neighbor as myself and in so doing to seek how to do less harm to my family, my community, my world and myself and to work toward a return to resilience in all things, as apparently, was the original design intention?”

    “I believe that I shall see the goodness of God in the land of the living” (A favorite verse of mine, and at one time a lifeline for me … a rope that kept me attached to this life.)

    I feel like the first statement … to do less harm … would move me closer to God’s original design intention; and that would be the cause that would bring along the effect of seeing more of the goodness of God in the land of the living. Perhaps that was your very intent! I very much want to do less harm in every and all directions.

  3. Donna Hardy Says: November 4, 2015 9:44 am

    Hello Graham,
    I have always thought of writing to you and today I get to do just that. It’s been 45 years in the making.
    In 1970 I moved from Vancouver B.C. to Quebec City as a new bride. I had no friends or family there and I couldn’t speak French. I felt very alone. Then one day I turned on the t.v. and to my surprise it was an English speaking channel and there YOU were. I had the best 30 minutes I had had in a long time. You were my new friend and I so looked forward every afternoon to your cooking show. I am a sentimentalist and I never forgot what you and your show did for me. Love to you and Treena. Donna.

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