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Reflections and visions

Chris Holt, (Canada)
The one year anniversary of our website has just passed. How far have we come and where do we go from here?

… We have accomplished much more than I have ever dreamed, but in the grand scheme of things we are still sitting out in the hinterlands nestled amongst Windsor’s “Naysayers”. Good company mind you …

Well, I for one see Scaledown as a part of something bigger. That’s you, in case you didn’t know. Technicaly, I want to see the site grow into more of a multi-media site than it is now. I want to attract more writers (some female as I stated) as well as video/audio producers. I truly feel that if more people could “feel” what it would be like to experience these ideas of which we speak, the more accepted those ideals would become. Something like StreetFilms has done would make for a big breakthrough in Windsor. This is also why we were so interested in estalishing ScaleDown Radio as a part of our repertoire. Not everyone wants to sit reading pages of text on a computer monitor, yet still may be interested in what we have to share.

I also see us coordinating our efforts with other bloggers, perhaps combining with them into a larger force. We already know that Windsor’s blogosphere has built itself into a daily habit for thousands of Windsorites, so now would be the perfect time for a little more cooperation between us. Who knows, maybe we can build ourselves into a real competitor to the Windsr Star (eventually).

However, one of the most important items on our “to-do” list is to move more from the “talking” to more of the “doing”. This is the one thing we hear most at our forums and events. “Let’s stop just sitting around discussing these issues again and again and do something about it!” So we need to figure out a way in which we can coordinate some real action in this city.And it will all come down to us. How much of this do you feel we can successfuly pull off? Are there any of these projects you see yourself playing a part in?

We’ve heard we’re having an influence with our decision makers, so it’s working. Now, we just have to figure out how influential we want ourselves to become, because the sky’s the limit if we all work together.
(12 September 2008)

Parallel culture: The power of the consumer
(part III)
Christopher Ryan, The Localizer
Parts I and II of this series were concerned with geographic and political space while Part III will be concerned with behavioral and social aspects of culture. One of the ways in which we support, regardless of intent or consciousness, the dominant culture and its activities, is through our behavioral choices. We are aware that these activities collectively contribute to global warming, energy scarcity, and a plethora of other ills.

… We not only need to buy smart and with a moral antenna but we also need to buy much, much less. While advertising and PR machines ramp up their propaganda and fear- or vanity-based advertising messages, we need to:

1. Avoid them when possible (less and less a choice but watching less TV is a good start…see Mental Detox Week)
2. See through their manipulative purposes (a fun task actually)
3. Avoid absorbing and internalizing the message (you don’t need new styles annually, your face is actually very pretty, Madden 2009 really isn’t all that different than 08, 07, 06….)
4. Know that it isn’t your job to keep this economy humming.
5. Buy local and build lasting relationships with local merchants or become one yourself
6. Just consume less and see yourself as a citizen and not just a consumer.

How would corporate entities react to such a serious and broad effort to render them redundant and unnecessary? My guess is not without a fight. There may be legislative, judicial, financial, and cultural blowback that provides a serious push back to this type of effort. Some of it may even appear, at first or second glance, to be the same form of folksy, local entity or effort that dovetails with a move away from the globalized.
(12 September 2008)
Earlier in the series:
Parallel Culture, Part I
Parallel Culture, Part II

Collapse of Wall Street precedes complete disintegration of system. About those “green jobs”

Jan Lundberg, Culture Change
… Post collapse and a new world paradigm

When the dust settles, out of rubble come the survivors. “Hi, remember me, we were neighbors but for some reason never met.” The petroleum infrastructure has collapsed, negating the promise of alterative energy across the board. But small, decentralized mini-systems will be jury-rigged, and the bicycles will be traveling and hauling whatever. Food gardens and other essentials will be done through our evolutionary cooperation making a comeback. The family will again be the basis of (previously lost) community. Tribes will form for common defense and solidarity.

What’s your tribe? Are you living in an actual community yet? You will be, if you survive collapse. Is it the vague future when you will learn those basic skills your grandparents knew?

When society reconstitutes itself after the Great Collapse, I predict that greed-schemes and domination will be unattractive and seen as anti-social. With lower population the status of the common man and woman is much higher, as history has shown.

What’s pointing the way now for a livable future:

Ecovillages, intentional communities, anarchist collectives, Community Supported Agriculture, bicycle culture, animal husbandry, natural building techniques, biochar, sail transport network, and the path of the peaceful spiritual warrior. And more, add away. If you are not a part of these things, or aren’t supporting them, then you are definitely part of the problem and will be left behind in today’s Consumer Age. Whether the latter is a good or bad memory, we’ll see. I’m an optimist.

The way out from capitalism’s collapse is two-fold: (1) local-based economics without the growth syndrome. (2) Nature is the way. Nature is local; we cannot be everywhere. Nature is “the real thing,” although Coca Cola drummed it into millions of people’s heads that just anything can be the “real thing,” even a bottle of sugar and other drugs and chemicals in water. Such products, mainly for their plastic packaging, are the enemy of Mother Nature — this means you. You are Mother Nature. If we can’t stop our addictions to soy-milk drink-boxes, who are we fooling that we are hip and green? You may ask, What’s a better local drink? Answer: Water, and bring your own cup or make one out of your hand in the stream.
(16 September 2008)
As the title of this post indicates, Jan Lundberg is squarely in the “petrocollapse” camp. Personally, I’m skeptical about collapse scenarios and am more interested in what Jan has to say about a vision for the ultimate future (Culture Change). -BA