Monday, December 11, 2006

winds of change

Almost every day I believe in my ability to make great change- in the ability of ordinary citizens to affect the change that will avert the great calamity that is beginning to bear down on us. Today though I am hung-over from a weekend of too much reading about all the madness in the world. I am more depressed about our situation than I have been in a while. I know this feeling will pass. It always does but today I feel like part of the virus club (6.5 billion members and growing) eating away at this planet. I wonder if influenza ever feels remorse.

I have a sneaking suspicion that the Luffa phenomenon is also affecting me. My most recent post to this site was an essay of ideas about how we as a people must make change in ourselves (among other rambling thoughts). It was thoughtful (I thought) and took a bit of thinking and writing to complete. It has received very little attention. On the other hand, a few weeks ago I published a 20 sentence explanation on “How to Grow a Luffa Sponge” that took 15 minutes to create. It received tens of thousands of visitors in less than a week. I guess I should accept the fact that people are more interested in learning how to grow their own shower sponge and less interested in listening to the sprawling thoughts of a peak oil aware 30-something. That might not be such a bad thing. It points to the fact that people everywhere are interested in doing and growing things for themselves. It might mean folks have this wonderful new source of communication in the Internet and they are using it to search out ways of being more self sufficient and ways of living in a more sustainable manner. Perhaps the rejection by omission of my most recent essay should serve as an aide memoire of something my wife is fond of foretelling; as peak energy unfolds people will want to read about simple changes they can make in response to the problems of the world. Actually she just says, “Keep it simple stupid”. So that’s what I’ll do. I will write about a simple way to fix the problems associated with peak oil, climate change, national insecurity and wide spread social injustice. Now let’s see... what simple, elegant solution could address so many problems?


I got it. How about adding 100 million new farmers in America? Sounds crazy you say. “100 million farmers, that’s wild!” I’m sure the questions are already beginning to bubble up in your brain. Who will they be? How will we create them? Where will they farm? What does it take to fuel a revolution? Hint: The answer isn’t oil. A return to production as a rejection of pointless consumption is a fabulous path to travel. A return to small scale organic agriculture would go a long way towards healing ourselves and our land physically, mentally and emotionally. It would reconnect us with the natural world we ultimately depend on for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. It’s where we came from as an idea for democracy or so thought Thomas Jefferson. And it’s where we’re going again whether we like it or not. In 'The Great Turning', David Korten writes,

"some critics will surely complain that 'Korten wants to change everything'. They miss the point. Everything is going to change. The question is whether we let the changes play out in increasingly destructive ways or embrace the deepening crisis as our time of opportunity … it is the greatest creative challenge the species has ever faced"

Why fight it? The simplest way to make lemonade from our citrus circumstance is to find a clever, uncomplicated way to turn the world around. What better approach than through food. Not to mention the process of building soil sequesters a good bit of carbon from out of the atmosphere but now I’m giving away too many ideas. Why would Oprah buy the book if she could just read it all right here? Plus I’m going to need some help with this one. I’d better first talk to Sharon Astyk and see if she’d like to lend a hand. The truth is this project was Sharon’s idea and I imagine we’ll get help from plenty of the other really smart people already working to make this world ready for a change.

OK. 100 million new farmers as a way to heal our world.

Can we do it? Of course we can.

We have to.


baloghblog said...

This is boring, I came here looking for more in-depth loofah action. [/snark]

I agree that at times I feel that my best writing doesn't reach 1% of the people that I wish it would. But maybe in the grand scheme of things it's not meant to. Maybe the writing that reaches only 250 people, reaches 10 people that really will make a difference in the world. Or maybe someone who is unknown now is reading your writing who will grow to become very influential. That is the flip side of the internet coin. Yeah your loofah article reaches 10,000 who may not give a shit about peak oil, but your great piece on it being "up to us" continued to inspire me and, I am sure, others.

I can't wait to read what you and Sharon are working on.

fatguyonalittlebike said...

I wouldn't be writing about the environmental things I write about if I hadn't stumbled across your blog a long time ago.

So you've had one impact.

One here and one there adds up when they impact one here and one there and then the people they've impacted touch one here and one there...It's all dominos.