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Monday, July 13, 2009

Interesting times...

Me in 10 years?

I've come across more and more people lately who are convinced civilization as we know it is about to collapse in a dramatic fashion. With economic shifts, peak oil looming, climate change accelerating and rampant globalization without ethical leadership, they believe a meltdown will arrive soon and hard. Okay, some of them believe in the Mayan calendar, Kaliyuga and other prophetic superstitions too.

These acquaintances tend to fall into two camps. Those who are obsessed with bleak news and information, particularly anything that supports their world view - they tend to talk a lot and worry a lot. There are also those who want to find land, raise goats and be ready to return to the 1700s. Sometimes these camps overlap.

Here's my take, for what it's worth. Yes, we are in a period of significant change (nothing as dramatic as World War II or the Great Depression yet though) and we will see even greater change in the next 20 years. It will become more chaotic and will require adjustments in how I live. There may even be radical change, politically, economically and socially. I follow the news, see the challenges and am not turning a blind eye.

As for a meltdown, bleak living and a dog eat dog society...I don't buy it. There are already about 2 billion of us living on the edge, without enough food, water, security, education or opportunity. There are already people without power, without vehicles, without a healthy environment - millions and millions of them. And those people for the most part do so with dignity and social structures that are strong. I'd like to see a shift in resources to lift them from a dollar or two a day existence more than to be sure I have a goat and a wagon.

I think it is narcissistic, fearful and misguided if I, one of the most privileged humans on the planet, obsess on my possible demise and how I can retreat into some imaginary self sufficiency and protect my own. It seems rather sad in the big picture.

What I prefer is to take the threads of optimism I feel and see all around, and contribute to building a resilient, adaptable and enjoyable local/regional community and to fight where I can for social justice for everyone. Not to mention taking time to enjoy the beauty around me, those I love and a good sip of single malt whisky now and then.

Hmmmm - a rant, although a polite one as always.

To be truly radical
is to make hope possible,
rather than despair convincing.

- Raymond Williams, Welsh academic, novelist and critic

P.S. Check out this local example of positive action - a local organic grain cooperative. The first tons of grain grown were delivered 100 kilometres by a fleet of local sailboats. Fun.

Children of Mozambique

Comments:
i think the doom'n'gloomers are coming from a belief that there isn't enough to go around... and i disagree. there is enough to go around, but some have far more than they need, and have a weird idea that they're 'entitled' to more than their share. it takes a pretty sick mind to feel justified in converting food to fuel for toys, when the neighbors' kids are hungry.
 
these photos are gorgeous. the granny in me wants to hug and kiss all of them, and bake them cookies.
 
One thing that doom and gloom folks forget is that MILLIONS of people get up every day to farm, nurse, create electicity etc, and it would take QUITE a disaster for all those folks to stop and society to simply end. That's my take on it :)
 
Our favourite charity the past 15 years has been Heifer International. When you don't have a lot to give it's best to focus the larger part to one or two organizations who know how to use even small donations.

I'm not particularly confident about how gracefully the American culture will accept a new paradigm of lost dominance but, like James Lovelock, I'm certain humanity will pass through this difficult stage. I think it's why we're all here right now.

Crow asked me to tell you he loves you too :-)
 
gary, you sunshined on my parade!
i don't think i would make a good goat herder. i couldn't even feed myself if i had to grow my own food.
one thing i probably could do is grow fruit trees. although, i can't imagine eating rotten apples all winter long (I've never canned anything).
i guess in winter, i could draw stuff on cave walls. maybe charge admission?
better yet, i could raise animal crackers. care for a hippopotamus?
 
I so admire the way you view the world and live your life - with a wonderful mixture of wisdom and compassion.
 
Well said: if all of us were to attempt to revert to small landholdings and become almost totally self- sufficient it would only serve to unnecessarily push up the price of rural land and risk global starvation.

You can’t recreate exactly an environment lost but you can all work together to ensure a more balanced and sustainbale world, which involves co operation and the sharing of knowledge/ wealth. There are organizers and leaders and hopefully many more cooperating at the sharp end rather than in grand isolation.
Best wishes
 
Wonderful comments.

Lindsay - pragmatic and principles as always...

Seraphine - I'd love a hand-raised hippo animal cracker... and would trade you homemade hootch for it. We'd survive!

Susan - you're a realist and an idealist. It must feel full sometime :)

Gary - yeah, let's hear it for the everyday person as we are him and her and we are resilient (kind of fun too)

Gfid - a little less here and a little more there would do a lot.

Beth - back from the cottage?
 
i wonder if bernie madoff will make his hootch in the toilet like the other prisoners...
 
It sometimes seems that people who walk the rockiest roads, don't always see it that way and often lift themselves the highest.

Gary, if I didn't already have a serious cybercrush on you, I'd have one now.

I love your heart, mind, and insights.

Now if you'd just put on some eyeliner once in a while, I'd follow you anywhere . . .

Take care.
 
Also? I just added that Raymond Williams quote to my sidebar. It's my new favorite.

Thanks for that.
 
Doom and gloomers - those people are scared sh*tless that they're going to have live beneath their self-imposed standards. They have no idea that so many other less fortunate people have been living that way all their life, and know no other life.

I don't really buy all the media either about how the economy is in the tank. Yes, it's not as it was, say last year, but certain people are still carelessly and mindlessly buying diamonds and furs and fancy cars, without a thought for those who don't know when their next meal will be.

The world is so unbalanced - it's heartbreaking.
 

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