I recently read Naomi Klein’s new book, This Changes Everything. She relates a cautionary tale about an island in the South Pacific that is about the same size as Maury Island. For thousands of years, the island of Nauru was a tropical paradise on which people thrived on the abundance of fertile forest and sea.
Inherent in the recognition and celebration of the darkest time of the year is the return of the light. Our confidence in the promise of the winter solstice is reflected in the birth of Christ, the miraculous Hannukah light that carried us through the dark time, the reinforcing of community ties of Kwanzaa, and personal resolve to reinvent ourselves in our New Year’s resolutions.
This article finds us a day or two after the mid term election. For the last 8 months, we have been besieged by non-stop daily emails (“All is lost!”, “No Hope!”, “Triple Match!”) desperately pleading for donations. We knew it was coming after the Supreme Court decision in favor of faux grass roots group Citizens United.
Coming of age in the 60’s, I had great hopes. We had marched for civil rights and to end all wars and the Age of Aquarius was right around the corner. I knew that the same aspirations occur about every fifty years, but this time was different!
The transition movement upon which Transition Vashon is based began about nine years ago in Great Britain. It was calling for personal and community changes to make us more resilient to the dual threats of climate change and “peak oil.”
Long before the money economy developed, Many societies had gift economies that served to strengthen bonds between family and tribal members, to consolidate pacts between neighboring groups, and, practically speaking, to insure that goods were well distributed so as to flow to the areas of greatest need.
I first became intrigued with the question of absolute necessities for a happy life when I encountered happy, hospitable people living in dirt floor houses in small villages in Venezuela during my stint in the Peace Corps.
As you probably know by now, Transition Vashon originally formed to help our community to adapt to the changes we can expect due to climate change, resource depletion, and the accompanying economic and political instability.
The Island Ingenuity Tour is coming around again. On Saturday, Sept 21, from 10 ‘til 4 you will be able to see how your friends and neighbors have figured out how to save energy and resources and to produce local food and energy.
For a couple years now, I have been pounding away at the idea that we need to increase our resilience as a community in order to ride out the chaotic economic and political future that we are likely to be heading into.
This past week, I had the opportunity to participate in a couple days of the Backbone Campaign’s annual Localize This! Action Camp, culminating in an action at the Seattle Army Corps of Engineers office.
I’m continuing to take a break from discussing how we become more effective and resilient as a community so as to address the need for all of us (you and me) to rise up to meet the threat of climate change disaster that is actively being locked into place by the shortsighted corporate global agenda.
In the last few columns, I was talking about how we need to stop seeing ourselves as consumers and start thinking and acting as citizens. Being a good citizen means striving for social, environmental, and economic justice through sustainable activity.
You may remember in the last column that I was saying that building a local economy and becoming more resourceful and resilient will not protect us from the ravages of climate change that we can expect from the present course of global activity.
The global climate pattern we know is a historically stable phenomenon that we take for granted. Huge land, water, and air masses interact with one another in a very finely balanced way to produce the climate patterns that we have counted on for so long.