Many articles on environmental topics are secular homilies, bristling with shoulds and shouldn’ts. Don’t use a gasoline-powered leaf blower. Buy an electric car instead of a gas-powered car. … If you don’t behave right, we will all go to climate hell. But what if we humans actually don’t have free will—the ability to act without constraints of circumstances, necessity, or fate? Is it possible to organize mass behavioral change in its absence?
We’ve tried tackling climate change through models that prop up the economically and morally crippled structures of the past, let’s try an approach that looks to the future with courage, vision, and imagination.
This is the place, I want to say, where work which has no obvious or direct connection to the suffering, cruelty and injustice in our news feeds may nonetheless be part of what is called for in response.
In general terms, we ought to expand our consideration to value the whole. It’s not we humans that matter, but WE, the community of life. Now let’s act like it.
A new mass constituency for fundamental change – the new way of reasoning made flesh – is visible amidst the blight and the rot. No member of this constituency would find it reasonable to trade clean air for cheap household items, health and justice for toys and gadgets.
As we face the need to limit our environmental impacts, drawing attention to pre-industrial cultures and their ecological contexts may offer some useful pointers towards a viable future.
The prescription for despair is collective action where it is possible to act most fruitfully. Any journey starts from where we live. It starts by beginning to build the future in place.
We’re not alone in this. The land knows what to do and is striving to do so all around the globe at this very moment. Isn’t it time we notice?
We might now wish to slow things down, but modernity was built on a lie; a fatal flaw. If we voiced the command: “Slow down, Hal,” we’d get the response: “I’m sorry, Dave. I’m afraid I can’t do that.”
Whatever climate emerges over the coming decades and centuries, it will bear little relation to our past. If we are to survive, the same must be true of us.
From my vantage point — which is sitting in the chicken yard, eating just-harvested mulberries, my fingers all blue — farming within an ecosystem can be joyful and meaningful, life-affirming. It should be an integral part of the way we feed the world and revitalize our degraded land.
Because without water, there is no life. And at those stakes, you always want a back-up plan.