Sunday, October 10, 2010

The Future?

Reading predictions about the future scares me.  Anything about peak oil, the collapse of society as we know it, and/or the dystopian reality we're supposedly headed to depresses me.  It also fascinates me and inspires me to continue to develop my gardening and other DIY skills.  Signs point to their necessity in the future.

But even if the proverbial shit hits the fan, I still won't feel ready.  Perhaps that's why a lot of people tune out environmentalism.  There's so much doom and gloom.  People don't want to think about changing their routines, perspectives, and diets because it's hard.  People don't like hard.

Not all of us let the difficulty stop us from attempting to change.  We care about the health of our Earth Mother and brother and sister Nature Spirits.  We accept the responsibility.  We stop eating so much garbage and start eating more local/organic/veggie.  We start to make our own cosmetics and cleaning products out of more natural and less harmful materials.  We slowly phase out our use of plastic bags and  paper towels in favor of cloth bags and rags.  We refuse to buy new furniture from Walmart and Target in favor of antiques.  We try to drive less/walk more/bike more/purchase more fuel efficient vehicles.

And yet despite all of those very important baby steps, many of us sometimes feel like we're floundering.

I once got into an argument with a complete stranger.  She argued that the government isn't responsible for changing the way people behave.  Individuals need to make better and more informed choices and the smallest changes are the most important.  I agreed with her that making small changes is, indeed, a very important part of moving our society towards sustainability, but I disagreed vehemently about the place of government.  The government's arguably miniscule changes in environmental policy this past decade are what gets me so depressed.  I can make all the little changes I can stand but, in the end, the government needs to make big changes.

My biggest pet peeve in Northern NY is the lack of mass transit.  There are buses but they are the least convenient things in the world.  Our ability to utilize them is severely limited, rendering them practically useless.  As I wrote yesterday, I want to walk to work more.  We finally have a local farmers' market but they are still very small.  We were able to go once and walked there, which was wonderful.  We can walk or bike to the post office or the library.  Otherwise, we cannot walk to our local organic/local markets, to the hospital, to the vet, the pharmacy, art supply shops...  We are left dependent on cars.  While I'm very excited about my new car, I lament my continued financial support of the status quo.  I sometimes feel stuck, even while taking control of so many other changes in my life.  My desire for a higher education meant I needed loans which now need paying off.  The economic environment meant I had to move away from a more pedestrian-friendly environment to a rural area because that's the best I could do.  Stuck stuck stuck.

At least I live in an agricultural wonderland full of many local, organic farmers.  At least I get to breath in fresh country air.  At least my house is powered by the local river.  There.  I'm being optimistic.  :)

( For My LJ Friends: )


  1. Yeah, I fee that way too sometimes. We're stuck in our own ways, with our own problems here too. I've been told by friends that I'm one of the most environmentally friendly people they know and all I can think is "Crap! I'm the best around???" Sometimes I think of myself as a twig in a flooding river, a small bit of flotsam. I imagine myself catching onto other twigs and leaves and eventually we'll all help to damn the huge flood of peak oil, global warming, and extinction. I just try to stand tall and hold back what I can.

  2. I really like that metaphor. Thanks for sharing. :)