Thursday, September 14, 2023

10 Ways to Save Humanity Even if You Can't March on Sept 15th

As the death-toll from Libya’s storm floods surpasses eleven thousand, and various hurricanes march their ways across the oceans, people all over the world are gearing up to March to End Fossil Fuels, tomorrow. (Find your city’s event on this map.)

painting of person standing on a log in a lake with apocalyptic fire in the distance
Not a Thing Between Me and You (detail) … Recent painting by Emily van Lidth de Jeude, in response to Neil Young’s song, “Overhead”. This painting deals with our compulsion to just keep going into an unknown future, together, even when we don’t know we’re not alone. It’s about courage.

But what if we can’t march? And even if we can, how are we going to propel this impetus into action? How are we going to actually save our future on this planet? (Let’s face it, we’re not going to another planet, and instead of talking about “our children’s future” now, we’re talking about our own.) We’ve got months or a couple of years to turn this around, and even if we do, storms like this are now here to stay. So what can we do about it?

  1. Become resilient.
    We can stop following the status quo, and learn to live differently than our youths and the media told us to. Learn to cook our own food. Learn to pivot our careers and plans and housing situations as needed, and without being traumatized. Adaptable creatures survive.
  2. Make our kids resilient. 
    So you might know I usually write about unschooling. That was (and still is) my effort to raise resilient, independent, capable adults. And it worked! At 18 and 21, my kids are now living independently (together), paying their own way, and making changes for a better world. 
    Unschooling isn’t the only way to make our kids resilient. Any kind of freedom to explore and develop their own skills will help. As will encouraging schools to opt for explorative learning, wilderness education, and all the things that will help our kids be connected, creative, courageous, and resourceful. Those are the skills our kids will need to survive our new world.
  3. Grow food.
    Whatever we can do, whether it’s growing sprouts on our kitchen counters to save $10/week in veggies, or escaping the rat race to go whole-hog on a homestead — just do it. We can all (and yes I mean all) grow at least some of our food. This not only saves money (if we learn from someone else who’s doing it effectively and don’t fall for sales tactics for all the gadgets we don’t need), it also brings us closer to our food, giving us a deeper understanding of life, our bodies, our connection to the ecology we live in, and nutrition. It’s healthier for us (fresher food), and it’s also healthier for the environment, since everything we grow (sustainably) ourselves is something we don’t buy from the unsustainable agricultural industry.
  4. Buy local.
    For all those foods and other things we can’t grow or make, ourselves, we can buy local! I guarantee you there is somebody out there trying to get rid of a bunch of homegrown zucchinis or apples right about now. What if we paid them instead of a big supermarket chain? What if we bought from local farmers, builders, and creators instead of from the capitalist industries that are the root of climate change? This is a shift we can make.
  5. Don’t buy! Boycott capitalism.
    Buying local is one way of sidestepping the corporations who are doing the most damage, but buying less is an even better way. A big part of our problem is overpopulation, and then there’s overconsumption. We really don’t need all the stuff. We don’t need big houses. We don’t need big cars, we don’t need lots of clothing or school supplies or travel or household items. We don’t even need as much food as we currently consume, and we especially don’t need to be wasting as much food as we do through restaurant and supermarket refuse, and simple neglect at home. How many times do people go on a fabulous vacation and then declare they need a vacation from their vacation? What if we just took a local vacation in the first place — one that doesn’t displace people from rental accommodation, and that connects us with our homes in ways we hadn’t experienced, before? In the space that’s left without the things that we don’t *actually* need, we will learn to find convenience, fulfillment and joy. We will have space to keep building that resilience and resourcefulness I mentioned earlier.
  6. Be happy with less.
    Along with resilience and resourcefulness comes happiness. It is just plain so rewarding to grow my own food! I go out every day now and tend my chickens, weed a bit of veggie garden, eat some food right off the plants, and just generally revel in a lifestyle that I once found daunting. I feel empowered by my mended clothing in a way I don’t feel empowered by something brand new. I now have some serious disabilities, and learning to be resilient and resourceful has made me happy, similarly to how my job working with kids used to make me feel.
  7. Love our local ecology.
    Partly the joy I get is from being active in my local ecology (also similarly to when I worked with kids on wilderness exploration)! I have learned so much about how connected we are; am currently fascinated with the many types of wild bees and other insects that frequent my small yard, and with their life’s work and activities that all contribute to the diversity we depend on. How does this love save our world? By connecting us with it. If we love our ecology, we’ll know it better, and the more we know and love, the greater ability we’ll have to protect it. We need our ecology. If only for the simple reason that it feeds us and protects us from storms. That in its diversity it will recover when we finally do turn the trend of climate change around.
  8. Love our neighbours.
    We’ve got a couple of new neighbours recently. We’re making an effort to connect with them. You know why? Because when the power goes out, when a tree falls across the road, when someone’s pipes freeze or someone needs any kind of help at all — or just a hug, we will be there for each other. When the storms come, we’ll need each other.
  9. Love our children.
    Obviously. Because the hell that we’re going to experience pales deeply against the hell that our kids will know. If we love them, we need to save them.
  10. Just love.
    And when it’s all too much, when we’re succumbing to doubt and fear and a feeling that nothing we do could possibly be enough, we can love. If I’m going to die, I want to do it in the arms of someone who loves me. And more importantly, I’m far less likely to die early if I share a deep love. Our future and neighbours and children and the whole global population is more likely to thrive if we live a life of love instead of material acquisition. 

Love is actually a hard thing to do. So I’ll tumble out of my list now, just to write a little about love. Love is a challenge. It’s like a great wave piling up behind us, saying …RUN! And can we do it? Can we keep going even when the wave is catching our ankles? Can we slog through the wash around our waists, grasping at the ungraspable wind, to haul ourselves out when the wave peters out, and get up and run again before the next wave comes? That’s love. It’s work. Neverending, challenging, heartbreaking impossible work. But it’s also the only thing that’s worth working for. Love is, in many ways, survival. When love (of a person, planet, dream, or future) compels us, we can access the resilience, courage, creativity, and resourcefulness needed to meet all the challenges. Climate change included. 

So whether or not you can join a climate march tomorrow, do something. Something that will make you feel empowered and resilient. Something that will save us, tomorrow. And tomorrow? Do something again!

With love,