Late in 2010, I came to the stark realization – no, let me rephrase that – I finally tore the facade off my neat little world view of how if we all just alter personal habits; hold hands and pray, hope, and love; and write our representatives enough, we can change the madness in the world that is destroying the oceans, the soil, the forests, and the world’s inhabitants including ourselves. I had to look at my life, the life I’m consciously carving out to serve as inspiration to others who are also seeking some solution or salve to the pain that comes with witnessing the destruction of our ecosystems, and admit that I’m not closing the loop – I’m not living sustainably. I’m not even coming close. That wasn’t a surprise, really. I knew this all along and am continually reminded by those who wish to point out – as if to expose for a sham – the flaws inherent in attempting to reduce one’s environmental footprint while living in Industrial Civilization. You know what I’m talking about. They say things like, “If you really cared about the environment, you’d give up your car and live naked, in the woods. Oh, and stop breathing while you’re at it.” The surprise was that I suddenly awoke from the belief that I could somehow continue to live in Industrial Civilization and bend the rules to make my life the exception and if I could do it, everyone could do it. Right?
Here comes the tricky part of this revelation. If I suddenly realize that it’s near impossible – short of a miracle of epic proportions (because we know that people will not voluntarily change) – to transform our culture of domination and destruction into something resembling a sustainable, closed loop, life regenerating system, in a time frame that is necessary to halt the complete decimation of our fishes, forests, and topsoil – all things necessary for human life on this planet, by the way – what are the life options available to me?
- I could continue to live a life as small as possible and do nothing else, all the while grumbling and dissatisfied with the way of the world.
- I could write more letters, hold more hands, and hope and beg for change.
- I could take the advice above and retreat to the woods, car-less and naked, and practice breathing less.
- I could forget about all this nonsense, stuff the aching feelings I have for the loss of habitat, critters, and human justice, and fall back in line as a consumptive driven member of this culture.
- I could continue to live a life as small as possible and figure out a way to participate in the disassembling of Industrial Civilization.
I’m probably leaving out a myriad of other choices based on variations of the same, but all and all, I believe these are the fundamental choices available at this moment in time.
Sound radical – disassembling Industrial Civilization? Sounds radical, to me too; although, living in a world where 70% (and increasing) of the world’s fish species are depleted or fully exploited and 80% (and increasing) of the earth’s forest cover is already lost to deforestation, to name only two effects of Industrial Civilization, sounds far more radical and risky.
How will Industrial Civilization be disassembled? Stay tuned in 2011, as I strive to formulate an answer to this question.