I'll call it The Epiphany Limerick:
There came a new paradigm
To clear away the old slime.
Maybe we'll see
A day of epiphany,
Just in the nick of time.
Happy New Paradigm!... Ok, so the old paradigm is still omnipresent. The world didn't end either. And yet seeds of a new paradigm are within us. Have you noticed a shift in the flavor of the mainstream global warming conversation? I would like to assert that if you look around, those seeds have sprouted.
Let's make a short inventory:
1. Everyone knows someone who is growing food.
2. Repair Café goes global. (Repair Café Hungary is using our (Ginko's) logo, and we like that!)
3. Obama scales back the Inauguration Ceremony.
4. Transition Network was named 2012 Winner of the highly-prestigious European Economic and Social Committee’s Civil Society Prize.
I could list some more, but I think you'll agree that things are changing. And there's certainly no lack of things that need to change. Below, I'll describe some things I'm thinking about changing. What are you changing? Almost everything in our society needs to change, but it's not black or white.
Don't get overwhelmed by ‘how much’ there is or ‘how little’ you can do. We can't suddenly fix everything, or at the other extreme, be at the end of the world right now. Apocalyptic thinking is the easy way out. (I don't have to change anything because the world's going to just end suddenly.) Just keep changing. If you haven't changed anything yet, then start. Choose something that feels right to you, that fits in with your life, and start changing it. Just in case you're not sure which direction, make it more sustainable. I'm wrestling with how to communicate the possibility of human extinction. Ok that's not a small thing but before you run screaming, please consider that whatever horror, sadness or despair you feel, those feelings connect us. They connect us with each other. They connect us to other life on Earth.
It feels good to be connected. Human extinction is one possibility. It's up to us to create other possibilities. Being connected will make it much easier for us to work together. With the new year, I'm feeling that I have to face this possibility. Not doing so is like the unexamined life. To quote Socrates, “The unexamined life is not worth living.”
Another thing I'm exploring is reducing my transactions with entities that are only about megalomania. Let me distinguish the difference between what I'm calling ‘megalomania’ and a form of accumulation that is more sustainable. Growth for the sake of growth is what I call megalomania or thinking like a cancer cell. Sustainable would be more like this.... in any going concern, one needs to have an income that covers expenses and allows for enough accumulation to cover things like ongoing maintenance and improvements, a ‘rainy day’ fund, and let's just call it ‘miscellaneous’. Economic growth is not something that can coexist in the same universe as ‘sustainable’. I can't go completely cold turkey though, as I live in a modern society and, like all of us, I am addicted to continuing that way. Again, things are not black and white, though. I do see some choices that fall into grey zones. When I think about having this conversation with any entity, first off I'm only going to give it a try with one small enough that I can get to a real person with authority. Also I think, one where I have some negotiating power in the relationship.
I've been spending time recently reading Guy Mcpherson's blog: Nature Bats Last. He's been living quite the transition, to put it mildly. I want to end by paraphrasing what Mcpherson has said recently: ‘I want to present dire information with empathy for individuals, to criticize society while helping individuals.’ I’ll ask people to also empathize, and to feel. Even if it hurts. Why? Because Carl Sagan was correct: ‘painful reality trumps satisfying, reassuring delusion.’