A constant battle inside myself. Let it go. Just live your life. Don’t judge. Then suddenly I think, “but what about the planet? What about the plants, animals and other beings we live alongside?” How can I be kind and compassionate when I feel so angry? What can I do about it when nothing I do matters? It’s a very confusing abyss into which I dive. Why do I try? I don’t feel like I could do it any other way. I don’t try because I think I can save the world. I believe in kindness and connections. I don’t believe in the monetisation of our commons, of our relationships. I want to feel alive. I want to experience joy and I don’t feel that our modern way of life is conducive of joy. How can we encourage commonality and not polarisation? I find it tough to exist in a world where people are driving further and further apart. Do we not all have some form of common ground? Would we not prefer to feel connected, alive and in love? In love with each other, with the forest, with the wild and the world.
There have been a few things I’ve done recently that I am quite ashamed about. As someone who tries to be earth conscious, who loves the wordless beauty of this one finite planet, who expends great effort to cycle across great distances and lives with much less, in order to live a life that I am passionate for, I too have succumbed to the world of consumerism. I have used hair dye and eaten, what I see as, unethical foods, bought a new hoodie instead of second hand, chewed gum among other things whilst I’ve been here at home.
I realise that I often swing wildly between thinking “I need to do something” and a total abandonment of any responsibility. Who am I to change anything? I cannot. How many civilisations have gone before me, how many millions of forgotten people? How many lives of misery or excess? And yet we never learn. It is all still the same world. We hate the ‘other’, we cause suffering and pain, we destroy everything. We live in jealousy and rage. Who am I to change anything when everything that needs to change lies in the hands of a handful of unseen or inaccessible people?
Maybe even such ‘good’ people like Greta Thunberg don’t have all the answers. Is she only paving the way for biomass and so-called “green” energy which could totally destroy any forests we have left? Or veganism? Is that just an excuse for a new industry? One which costs the consumer more in specialist foods, has more air miles and destroys more communities and nature? Or even now ‘allowing’ gender-free voices to rise up. Is it just to sell more things to much bigger groups of people? Is it all economic? I understand there is good intention behind all these things and I’m not disparaging any of these efforts. I’m just asking the questions.
It’s challenging for me to write about these topics in a succinct and coherent way. As soon as I start to ponder, my mind races around the myriad things that I feel are a part of this picture. It’s about time, it’s about our way of life. It’s not as simple as giving up meat or taking one less flight, it can’t be solved by offsetting, business as usual cannot be maintained by simply using a different resource. But it’s an unknown and that is scary. To step into a story you have no knowledge of, a picture with no reference points. But I think from that place we can only discover new ideas, new ways of being and relating. Life right now doesn’t serve, so why keep grasping hold of it so tightly?
What is ‘good’ anyway? Is my version of good just your definition of bad? All these people we raise statues and memorials to are supposed to be good right? So why do they spend eternity getting defecated on by birds? The more and more I think of good and bad the more I just see grey. Everything has become grey. Nothing is as it seems. We are passive rebels. Never really achieving real change. It can never never happen because there is no power in our hands. Look how many ‘revolutions’ there have been! Yet what is different? Look at how we said “never again” after the holocaust. Yet it’s been again and again and again. Look at Bosnia, Northern Ireland, Syria… on and on. Look at how people put ‘faith’ and all their energy into religion which as far as I know teaches peace and good will to all but I rarely see peace or goodness. I only see politics and hatred. What is it all for? When no one NO ONE has the first idea what will happen after death. There is no proof of anything or anyone after death. I guess that is why we know in our heart of hearts that we fear death. We dread that day of death. So are we fighting for nothing or everything? Neither, it seems to me. The same goes for money. It is just a concept. It could very well be that our concepts be totally different or as anthropologist and activist David Graeber puts it,
“the ultimate hidden truth of the world is that it is something we make and could just as easily make different”
Recently I have found a lot of satisfaction in considering wildly different perspectives around our existence and civilisation. It’s very easy to get caught in the trap of believing we are such a central part of this ecosystem and planet. But how long have we been around in the scheme of things? Have we really had such an impact? How long will our legacy actually live on in planetary terms? In another 10,000 years will any of this destruction be detectable? This is not to say I don’t care, as you can probably tell from this rambling I think about it a lot, and I care a lot. But I think it is important to be able to consider things from another angle. Gain some kind of perspective.
But on the other hand, if I do not matter in the grand time line of civilisation, then I could do something extreme. Something very impactful. Now I can reach an understanding of those few revolutionaries who sacrificed their lives for something greater than themselves. I totally 100% get it. They knew. They also understood their insignificance. But also at the very same time the power that they held in just knowing that one simple truth.
In our mind here is a brutally realistic approach of some things that need to happen to change the world:
- more mindful and realistic sex education
- holistic family planning support
- extreme localisation of services, food and community representation
- much smaller farms
- more compact and energy efficient homes (for all – yes even the wealthy!)
- more communal living
- more age positive family homes
- more emotional openness & normalisation
- stopping the production of all new clothing
- stopping the production of all useless and frivolous items
- stopping the monetisation/profiting of “green” energy
- changing the health care system to focus on self care, nutrition and healing – not pharmaceuticals
- teaching in schools about growing food, nutrition and nature
- access to real food for all
- stopping all flights
- getting rid of money and time
- seed saving and sharing
- dropping borders
- redistributing bank seized properties and land to communities
- banning all single use / short term plastic
- intergenerational education systems and wider societies
We are becoming an increasingly selfish and individualistic society but we can chose another way. Hopefully, at the very least, we would like to inspire others to similarly think about their impact. To imagine a different way of being, together. A new story of a more beautiful world.