changing the world

Exhausted

** Watch the NFB film 'Uranium'!!!! After three days spent down a nuclear rabbit hole (GE-Hitachi public meeting in Toronto, a Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission gig, or, as I prefer to call them, the Canadian Nuclear Danger Commission) – & yes this “meeting” was only 2 daze long, but the day before was spent mostly (in my case) preparing my remarks to the members of the tribunal.

As I pointed out when I spoke to them, it was the 8th time I’ve “intervened” at a CNSC hearing (& yes, 2 of them have been to “Joint Review Panels” or JRPs, & this one was a “meeting,” not a hearing, but it’s all the same all the same all the same darn thing – & taking part in these things, I said to them, is draining).

It is psychologically & emotionally & mentally exhausting debilitating draining – find whatever word helps you understand that sensation of feeling like a limp dishrag, & you’ll be getting my drift.

& it takes a certain amount of intelligence & determination & courage to get up & sit in front of these self-important guardians of all things nuclear

& speak your truth to them.

We activists know we are there to “Speak truth to power,” knowing full well all the while that power is almost never really listening.

& this occasion was very very different in many ways from all previous ones I’ve attended & taken an active part in (been going to CNSC gigs for 7 years now, on & off), & I am still too exhausted to attempt to describe those differences – still digesting & reflecting.

So I’m just going to do a brief list of things I feel exhausted by today (today I am allowing myself, permitting myself, a day off, a day to “recover,” chill out, reflect, sit & stare at a blank wall if need be, because I feel so utterly drained).

I am exhausted by

The arrogance & intransigence & sheer disgusting ugly power of the nuclear industry & its many minions, & its horrible embeddedness in the military-industrial complex 

& by

The insights I have about the human race, & about us as individuals, at this oh-so-critical, even apocalyptic, time in the history of our species, & how few of us are even paying attention. Porch light’s on, but nobody’s home, mostly, you know?? Hardly anyone is listening, or watching, or seeing, or understanding. It’s draining, witnessing all this in what feels like a vacuum, a moral vacuum, an awareness vacuum.

I am exhausted by

  • Human neurosis/neuroses
  • & male ego (well, ego period, I suppose. In males, it seems it can be quite utterly debilitating. Not just that, also dangerous...)
  • & power games, power trips (by people of either sex & in whatever role they may occupy)
  • & witless humans who think making a big salary is the only game in town
  • & most people’s apparent ignorance of, or willful ignoring of, the incredible privilege in which so many of us live, while so very very many around us are hungry, in danger, poor, miserable, dealing with violence in a myriad of forms

 

I’m exhausted by materialism & consumerism, & the great annual thoughtless, mindless buying & spending extravaganza we call Christmas

& by, well, I guess I’ve already said it, people’s lack of consciousness about this dénouement our species is living out

How unconscious most of us seem to be to the real forces at play here, in ourselves, & in the world.

I am just really really really tired today.

Janet

p.s. later I will probably go for a lovely long walk by the lake, but for now I’m going to read a novel (its writer, Alexander McCall Smith is probably just as exhausted by the world as I am, some days, but Bertie Plays the Blues is wonderful, smart, witty, wise, funny & insightful, & it's making me laugh out loud repeatedly, & I need some of that good medicine today) – for now, it is definitely chillout time.

p.p.s. maybe also gratitude time. I am soooo grateful for the wonderful wonderful fierce, feisty intelligent activists I know, & even though I cannot agree 100% all the time all the time all the time with all that they say & do (we each of us live in our own world, after all), I love their intelligence passion courage & feistiness. Especially especially their courage

World-changing is messy, isn’t it?? Messy, messy, messy. & noisy. Not sure that too much of it happens in quiet, comfy living rooms… Or sterile office places. 

p.p.p.s. & courage IS contagious.

But then too, so is anger, unfortunately… 

p.p.p.p.s. & this hearing or meeting (this gathering) has left me feeling very very ambivalent.

  • Confused
  • Buoyed up in some (unexpected) ways
  • Moved
  • Frustrated
  • Inspired
  • Disgusted
  • Saddened/disappointed – also in unexpected ways, by unexpected things, & circumstances, & people

 

Very very very ambivalent.      

Can you see now why I am feeling so exhausted??

** there is a line in McCall Smith's Bertie Plays the Blues about some bouncers with “faces untroubled by metaphysical doubt.” Just love that phrase!! Some days I sure envy folks who are “untroubled by metaphysical doubt.” I guess I might feel less exhausted today if I were one of them…   

‘Quote of the day’ with this post: “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.” – Upton Sinclair

Runners-up:

“You assist an evil system most effectively by obeying its orders and decrees.” – Gandhi

“In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.” George Orwell

“Only when the last tree has died...and the last river has been poisoned...and the last fish has been caught...will we realize that we cannot eat money.” ~ 19th century Cree saying

 

** Many nuke-related postings on this blog, under the headings 'No More Nukes' & 'Darlington Daze.'

** Tons of great nuke-related quotes gathered up here 

 

** Article about the hearing: Activists Are Lashing Out at the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission

10 Commandments for Changing the World

by Angela Bischoff & Tooker Gomberg

Changing the world is a blast. It’s all the more achievable if you have some basic skills, and lots of chutzpah. With apologies to Moses and God, here are our top ‘Ten Commandments For Changing the World.’ Try them out on your issue. Have fun!

But first, some inspiration from Noam Chomsky: “If you go to one demonstration and then go home, that's something, but the people in power can live with that. What they can't live with is sustained pressure that keeps building, organizations that keep doing things, people that keep learning lessons from the last time and doing it better the next time.”

1. You Gotta Believe.
Have hope, passion and confidence that valuable change can and does happen because individuals take bold initiative.

2. Challenge Authority.
Don't be afraid to question authority. Authority should be earned, not appointed. The "experts" are often proven wrong (they used to believe that the earth was flat!). You don't have to be an expert to have a valuable opinion or to speak out on an issue.

3. Know the System. The system perpetuates itself. Use the tools you have - the telephone is the most underrated. The Internet can be of great value for research as well. Learn how decisions are made. How is the bureaucracy structured? Who are the key players? What do they look like? Where do they eat lunch? Go there and talk with them. Get to know their executive assistants. Attend public meetings.

4. Take Action. Do something - anything is better than nothing. Bounce your idea around with friends, and then act. Start small, but think big. Organize public events. Distribute handbills. Involve youth. It's easier to ask for forgiveness after the fact rather than to ask for permission. Just do it! Be flexible. Roll with the punches and allow yourself to change tactics mid-stream. Think laterally. Don't get hung-up on money matters; some of the best actions have no budget.

5. Use the media. Letters to the Editor of your local newspaper are read by thousands. Stage a dramatic event and invite the media - they love an event that gives them an interesting angle or good photo. Bypass the mainstream media with email and the World Wide Web to get the word out about your issue and to network.

6. Build Alliances. Seek out common allies such as other community associations, seniors, youth groups, labor, businesses, etc. and work with them to establish support. The system wins through Divide and Conquer, so do the opposite! Network ideas, expertise and issues through email lists. Celebrate your successes with others.

7. Apply Constant Pressure. Persevere; it drives those in power crazy. Be as creative as possible in getting your perspective heard. Use the media, phone your politicians, send letters and faxes with graphics and images. Be concise. Bend the Administration's ear when you attend public meetings. Take notes. Ask specific questions, and give a deadline for when you expect a response. Stay in their faces.

8. Teach Alternatives. Propose and articulate intelligent alternatives to the status quo. Inspire people with well thought out, attractive visions of how things can be better. Use actual examples, what's been tried, where and how it works. Do your homework, get the word out, create visual representations. Be positive and hopeful.

9. Learn From your Mistakes. You're gonna make mistakes; we all do. Critique - in a positive way - yourself, the movement, and the opposition. What works, and why? What isn't working? What do people really enjoy doing, and do more of that.

10. Take Care of Yourself & Each Other. Maintain balance. Eat well and get regular exercise. Avoid burn-out by delegating tasks, sharing responsibility, and maintaining an open process. Be sensitive to your comrades. Have fun. As much as possible, surround yourself with others (both at work and at play) who share your vision so you can build camaraderie, solidarity and support. Enjoy yourself, and nourish your sense of humour. Remember: you're not alone!

So there you have it. Tools for the Evolution. You can easily join the millions of people around the world working towards ecological health and sustainability just by doing something. With a bit of effort, and some extraordinary luck, a sustainable future may be assured for us and the planet. Go forth and agitate.

Found on-line here

p.s. more great tips here!

‘Quote for the day’: “Science now knows that while still in diapers, virtually all children exhibit altruistic behavior. Concern for the well-being of others is bred in the bone, endemic and hardwired. We became human by working together and helping one another. According to immunologist Gerald Callahan, faith and love are literally buried in our genes and lymphocytes, and what it takes to arrest our descent into chaos is one person after another remembering who and where they really are.” -- Paul Hawken in Blessed Unrest – How the Largest Movement in the World Came into Being & Why No One Saw it Coming

Quit Bitching. Start a Revolution!

I saw these words on a T-shirt when I was in Washington, D.C. earlier this year for the conference of the Network of Spiritual Progressives. (Fabulous conference, awesome group of people!)

Then, I saw it again a few weeks later in Toronto at the G20 gatherings of activists.

I love it! I’d love to have one myself. Or 20. If I had one, I’d wear it often. If I had 20, I’d hand them out to the folks I encounter who are armchair quarterbacks about the state of the world, always sitting in their comfy chairs pronouncing on what a godawful mess everything is – yet never doing a bloody thing beyond flapping their lips about it.

Get off your butt!” I want to say to such people.

If the world is ever going to change, it won’t be the result of people sitting in their comfortable living rooms, bitching & bellyaching & moaning about the state of the world. Will it? I ask you…

Martin Luther King said, “Change is never inevitable, change is always carried in on the shoulders of those who bring change with them.”

Harold Zindler said, “The optimism of the action is better than the pessimism of the thought.”

A button I’m wearing on my coat these days says, “If the people lead, eventually, the leaders will follow.”

For sure, I can’t guarantee that getting off your butt will “save” the world, although it is liable to change it. (Martin Luther King also said “Non-cooperation with evil is as much a moral obligation as cooperation with good.” An important thing to consider at this time on Planet Earth, I’d say. At this time in Canada, for sure…)

When we change our minds, i.e., change ourselves, from the in-side out, we do change the world.

Edward Everett Hale said, “I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something. And because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something I can do.”

Activism is fun. It’s challenging & rewarding & time-consuming & fun.

Alice Walker says, “Activism is the rent I pay for living on this planet.”

I suspect my life is a lot fun-er than lots of people’s. I don’t live like a rodent on a treadmill, running around & around, inside the bars of a cage, unaware all the while that the cage door is actually open, & that all one really has to do is climb off the treadmill, & walk out. (Life is a heck of a lot more fun, outside the cage!)

2 more things:

1. John Adorney sings a very beautiful song (en français) on his lovely CD The Fountain.” The words go “If you know the truth, you’ll find freedom. And you’ll be free like the wind, tous le temps (all the time).” It sounds so much better in French!! You can listen to it here

Beautiful song, truthful lyrics. Truth is hard sometimes, but it is liberating. There’s only one way to find out for yourself. Start seeking out, & telling – & living – the truth!

2. The latest (Nov/Dec. 2010) issue of Tikkun Magazine is a page-turner! Check it out, man! And woman! Some very hard truths in it about how & why John F. Kennedy & Robert Kennedy & Martin Luther King were killed. And why Obama is not able to be the President millions voted for. And the realities of the military-industrial complex (heaven help us all…).

It isn’t fun, exactly, learning this stuff, but it’s…bracing. It’s a kick in the pants, & there are times for all of us, I suspect, when the very thing we need is a good swift kick in the pants.

Do seek out this issue of Tikkun. Learn some truth!

This world of ours – so badly damaged & depleted it makes a person heartsick – is still a very beautiful one. It’s worth fighting for (working for)…don’t you think?

Janet

p.s. Apparently, there was a song from the 60’s or 70’s, in which some guy named Gil Scott Heron said, “The revolution will not be televised.” Now, ain’t that the truth?? You will not learn about – & contribute to – changing the world, sitting in that comfy chair in your comfy living room. Nossiree…

p.p.s. Having a hard time picking a ‘Quote for the day’ to go with this post. Here are a few that are in the running:

“I can’t understand why people are afraid of new ideas, I’m afraid of the old ones.” – John Cage

“Saving our civilization is not a spectator sport.” – Lester Brown (Earth Policy Institute)

“Almost anything you do will seem insignificant, but it is very important that you do it.” – Mahatma Gandhi

“If your house is on fire, the most urgent thing to do is to go back and try to put out the fire, not to run after the person you believe to be the arsonist.” – Thich Nhat Hanh

“A lot of people are waiting for Martin Luther King or Mahatma Gandhi to come back -- but they are gone. We are it. It is up to us. It is up to you.” ~ Marian Wright Edelman

“What’s important is not what’s gone, but what remains.” ~ from the film ‘Home: A Hymn for the Planet

“The message, so firmly, is – don’t give up. Don’t hang with the cynics, the angry-hearted, the whiners, the blamers, the negative minded. Hang with those who believe in love, hope, and beauty – and then work with them to make this a reality. This is our planet. This is our time. This is our call to action.” ~ Guy Dauncey, author of The Climate Challenge: 101 Solutions to Global Warming

“Anything else you’re interested in is not going to happen if you can’t breathe the air and drink the water. Don’t sit this one out. Do something.” – Carl Sagan, astronomer (1934 – 1996).

“Once you know the difference between right and wrong, you have lots fewer decisions to make.” – Joseph Campbell, quoted in the biography A Fire in the Mind – The Life of Joseph Campbell by Stephen and Robin Larsen

“The difference between what we do and what we are capable of doing would suffice to solve most of the world’s problems.” – Mohandas Gandhi

“We are now at the stage when the Easter Islanders could still have halted the senseless cutting and carving, could have gathered the last trees’ seeds to plant out of reach of the rats. We have the tools and the means to share resources, clean up pollution, dispense basic health care and birth control, set economic limits in line with natural ones. If we don’t do these things now, while we prosper, we will never be able to do them when times get hard. Our fate will twist out of our hands. And this new century will not grow very old before we enter an age of chaos and collapse that will dwarf all the dark ages in our past. Now is the time to get the future right.” – Ronald Wright in A Short History of Progress

“A lot of people say, ‘What’s the point?’ That’s an excuse for inaction. I’d rather put a drop in the bucket than nothing at all, and every drop adds up.” ~ Jonathan Brock, on his work for Doctors Without Borders

  • “We are not lacking in the dynamic forces needed to create the future. We live immersed in a sea of energy beyond all comprehension. But this energy, in an ultimate sense, is ours not by domination but by invocation.” – Thomas Berry in The Great Work – Our Way into the Future, page 175

“The future is ours to write.” – Dr. Rosalie Bertell in Sweeping the Earth – Women Taking Action for a Healthy Planet

(I could go on…)

It’s Like Watching a Bad Movie…

<written May 29/08, i.e., over 2 years ago…>

My boyfriend & I watched a really terrible movie the other night. Of course, we’d had high hopes when it began & when we heard someone comment in the show’s intro that it was one of the best 10 movies ever, figured we were in for a really rare treat.

It started off badly (dialogue & plot that were impossible to decipher), then it grew worse (gratuitous violence like you wouldn’t believe), & yet there we sat, & sat, & sat … ultimately watching the whole darn pitiful thing.

We both gave serious thought to turning the TV off, yet just as clearly, did not do so. We sat & watched that whole darn miserable two-&-a-half-hour turkey.

Now, I am not a TV-watcher, & compared to most folks I know, watch very few movies (reading is my chief addiction). I have heard that watching television puts our brain waves into a zombie-like mode. I guess you could say quite accurately that we’re not really fully human when we sit in front of the boob tube (or "idiot box," as my Dad used to call it when I was a kid).

[Alice Walker has said, “I’m always amazed that people will actually choose to sit in front of the television and just be savaged by stuff that belittles their intelligence.”]

And it occurs to me that it’s no bloody wonder our world is going to hell in a handbasket (I always get a bit of a chuckle out of putting it that way) while we sit in our easy chairs & watch it go down.

Our brains have been turned to mush by that lovely (not!) blue-ray-emitting box. We’re mesmerised by the daily dose of violence, mayhem, natural disaster & celebrity-gawking that parades itself as news.

It does not motivate us to get up off our keesters & do something.

We’re like the proverbial deer, caught in the headlights.

Immobilized.

Reading mainstream newspapers is not a whole lot better. Violence! Disaster! Venal corporations & politicians! Natural disaster! Greed & corruption!

Turn the page…

Now, if watching our world…our society, our culture (civilization, if you prefer) go down the tubes – from a “safe” vantage point on the sidelines (safe; hah!) – is something you actively enjoy, far be it from me to try & talk you out of it.

If, on the other hand, there is a little glimmer in your brain wondering whether this is really the way you want your life to continue, I’d say consider quitting the TV & news game cold turkey & diving into … activism (activism is apparently a dirty word to some folks, but it seems to me it just means…being active!)

I’m not going to suggest to you that activism will “save the world.” After a lifetime of trying to save the world, I’ve finally had to grudgingly accept that it probably cannot be saved.

It can, however, be changed – & that’s exactly what I’ll continue to focus my energies on.

Janet

p.s. Why bother, when the outcome is so…uncertain, or even terrifying? Two reasons:

  1. The outcome is uncertain & potentially terrifying whether or not we choose to act. Our actions do at least have the potential to render the world – & our own lives – a teensy bit less unpredictable & terrifying. And they are enjoyable, too – very likely a good deal more enjoyable & fun than just sitting in front of a darn box that spews the most appalling nonsense at us.
  2. For me, there is simply no other game in town! Just working & making money for its own sake have just plain never, as they say, turned my crank. Activism is its own reward – just like virtue!

p.p.s. I listen to CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) radio enough to catch enough of the news that I really need to catch. I even give the Friends of Canadian Broadcasting $5 a month from my exceedingly teeny-tiny monthly income to help them advocate on the CBC’s (& our) behalf. We Canadians would be in bad shape indeed without the CBC!?!?!? (& btw, if I wasn't already donating a larger monthly sum to 3 other groups in automatic donations, I'd give more to the Friends of the CBC!!)

p.p.p.s. Alternative media – such as Toronto’s Now Magazine – are a wonderful …alternative to the mainstream newspapers that seem increasingly irrelevant & out of touch. Now Magazine is very cool, & I’m very glad it exists (kinda hate all that pornography at the rear of the paper, but at least one can choose to avoid those pages.)

p.s. # 4: The blog posting Kill Your Television has a similar message…

Team Sports

<drafted June 14/10>

I’m about to write a blog post called ‘Plan B.’ (just have to read the book first!)

Simply reading the book’s acknowledgments has prompted this particular post. Hooey, did it take a lot of people to get Lester Brown’s book Plan B 4.0 – Mobilizing to Save Civilization into my hands!?

Modern civilization (using the term loosely, as I like to joke, since there is much about modern life that is very un-civil indeed) has been all about the ‘Everything is all about me’ ethic, hasn’t it? (I wrote about this in an essay called ‘Everything is all about ME, right?’)

I personally have never been much of a sports fan, truth to tell. Competition has just never really turned my crank. Not that I’m not interested in fitness – I love to walk, bike, swim & snowshoe. I’m just not very competitive.

The blog posting ‘G is for Gatekeeper talks a little about my contention that changing the world is not a competition, but very much a team sport.

I’ve been trying to “save the world,” one way & another, ever since I was about 14 years old (43 years & counting!) & am I ever in great company!! Awesome company.

I love the work I do. It’s challenging, rewarding, & fun.

But it took me until last Fall to actually articulate for myself the following thought:

Not only is everything not about me, I am not even here for me! My “own” life is not really “mine” at all!

That probably sounds a little weird & fruity to at least some readers, so I apologize. It is an almost embarrassing thought to articulate in this (western?) culture of ours that is so dominated by what we all want as individuals.

But it seems to me it’s time I came out of the closet about this.

It isn’t just hockey & football & baseball & soccer that are team sports.

It isn’t just changing the world that is a team sport.

It isn’t just family life that is a team sport – although clearly family life is all about team effort & love & unselfishness & the ability to embrace diversity.

& it isn’t just politics that ought to be a team sport, instead of an adversarial game in which the people it is supposed to serve are treated as unwitting money providers & sacrificial lambs &/or cannon fodder to immoral “leaders” who have anything but our best interests in mind.

Life is a team sport.

None of us is here just for our own little self. (Actually, I don’t think our “selves” are “little” at all. I think we are – or certainly have the potential to be – very, very big indeed. Vast, actually. But you know what I mean…)

And if a whole lot more of us had “gotten” this a whole lot of years ago, my-oh-my what a different world this would be, hmmm?

But we didn’t get it.

Are we starting to get it now??

Janet

P.S. Tikkun (pronounced tea-kün, more or less…) Magazine’s May/June 2010 issue highlights “Environmentalism without Spirituality.” I really enjoyed David Loy & Mark Hathaway’s articles in the magazine. Great to get a better grasp of the weaknesses & strong points of both eastern & western ideas/philosophy. I hadn’t read Tikkun before the NSP conference in Washington. It’s one to pick up, for sure! (Tikkun, btw, means to mend, repair and transform the world.)

G is for Gatekeeper

<April 15/10>

This phrase came to me today, I guess, because a couple of things I’ve heard lately have made me say out loud “You’re playing gatekeeper!!” (The concept of ‘the gatekeeper’ is not a new one to me.)

The person who twigged it last night was the neurologist interviewed on “The Current Review” on Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) Radio who seems to be resisting a “radical” new treatment for MS (multiple sclerosis). He claims his concern is for his patients’ safety – & I bet he even believes that! I suspect he’s mostly “playing gatekeeper.” It “works” for him to be the Big Expert with his patients – the one with all the knowledge & the expertise & the one who gets to pull out & write on that prescription pad & help keep those big Pharma boys (& himself) in business.

I wonder…

It isn’t just doctors who play gatekeeper, of course. I remember a small town I used to live in where I used to say the mayor seemed to behave as though he owned the town – had it all neatly tucked up in his back pocket. Of course we all know quite a few people who seem to think (they certainly act as though) they have God all neatly tucked up in their back pocket, hmm? Yes… I guess we could muse on that one for a while…

Nor is it just men in positions of power & privilege who play gatekeeper. I remember once encountering a woman who seemed to be an expert at it. At her wedding reception, I met & got along like a house on fire with her sister, who seemed very interested indeed in the project on cancer prevention I was then involved in. When I asked her later for her sister’s e-mail address, Ms. GK wouldn’t give it to me.

& that reminds me now too of another similar story, where a woman I’ve known virtually all my life would not share contact information for her sister – effectively cutting off the possibility of exchanges that might well have led to real benefits for several people – her sister chief among them.

Gatekeepers. They don’t get it.

They cling to their “power” – unaware that in a world characterized by openness & sharing & collaboration & inclusivity (instead of exclusivity), where nobody gets to be or has to be the Great Big Sheriff or the Great Big Expert – but rather, where we all put our heads & hands to the tasks – whatever our background, skin colour, age, sex, education, religious views – & work as an ensemble – we not only get the work done, we have a heck of a lot more fun!!

There is definitely some, how shall I say, gender politics in all this, of course. No need to go there…we just need to grasp that “power with” is a good deal more empowering & fun – for everyone – than power over.

So to gatekeeper types everywhere, female, male & otherwise – in the corporate world & in the world of politics & in the world of activism (Yes! There are even those in the environmental & social justice movements who play gatekeeper/power freak. Sheesh, eh?? Old habits really do die hard), I say, G is for “Get a grip!!”

Changing the world is for everybody.

It’s a team sport, dudes – not a competition! Enough of the darn turf wars (& the egos), already…

Janet

P.S. Folks who “play gatekeeper” are generally control freaks, basically. People become control freaks for a reason – nobody gets this way out of nowhere! For some of us, it takes a life-shattering, gutwrenching experience of one kind or another to relinquish our control freak-ism. (Some of us are pretty slow learners & very, very reluctant to let it go. This is painful to watch…& a regrettably very widespread phenomenon indeed. Some, of course, never do let it go).

It is actually such a liberating thing to get – right down inside our guts – the seemingly inconvenient truth that pretty much all of our notions about control – over our very own lives, even – are merely illusions. Once the shock of that realization subsides, & you stand back & take a new look & give yourself a chance to really breathe, you see that it actually opens everything right up!

Joseph Campbell said, “We must be willing to get rid of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.” Isn’t that brilliant??

P.P.S. A couple of other postings on this blog speak to the issue of control freak-ism: Ditching the 2 x 4’s,” "2 x 4's: A few more thoughts," & Control Freaks Anonymous.” I guess What We Focus On, Expands”  too.

Quote of the Day’ with this post: “Energy always flows either toward hope, community, love, generosity, mutual recognition, and spiritual aliveness or it flows toward despair, cynicism, fear that there is not enough, paranoia about the intentions of others, and a desire to control.” ~ Michael Lerner, quoted in “The Great Turning – From Empire to Earth Community,” by David Korten

Change … or Die?

This may not be my most popular blog post ever, given the title I’m insisting on putting on it.

I’m usually pretty darn polite, & I generally hope to inspire readers with positive sentiments & a cheerful tone.

Today I am feeling pretty discouraged; not gonna lie to you.

A quick tour of some Copenhagen-related news items shows me that “the old boys’ club” is still firmly in charge – of the planet, of the meetings & of our (never-more-precarious) future.

Okay, I’ll qualify that. There are oodles of awesome inspiring, intelligent activist men working their butts off to make the world change. I know personally a few who are doing their very utmost, & I feel proud to know such inspiring individuals for doing their own very considerable best to change the world.

I guess, then, what I will call the people who are firmly in charge is “the old poops club.”

These are the people with their heads in the sand & their hands on the reins – of the banks, of the industries that are helping to destroy the Earth; of the tar sands & the oil industry, in Canada, in particular.

Meanwhile, millions of people all over this brilliant beautiful planet of ours are writing letters, occupying offices, hanging banners, demonstrating in the streets (& getting their heads busted) because they love this planet & Life itself. Doing hunger strikes! Shedding clothes in the streets to draw attention to the climate crisis. Ringing church bells to shout out the need for change.

The sheer passion, energy & creativity of the human spirit that infuses all these activists is a wonder to behold. I’m so proud of us!! It’s exhilarating, it’s inspiring & it's wonderful.

& then there are those darn “old poops.”

Leading us right over the cliff like a flock of lemmings, bent & intent on our own destruction.

What is a person to do???

I sure have no quick or easy answers, dear Reader.

I like to think I’m not one of the old poops, although I’m now closer to 60 than 50.

I’ve recently occupied a federal (Canadian) politician’s office & been arrested, & you never know what I may get up to next. At this point, I have nothing to lose. I’ve had my kids, I’ve had my “career,” & I have no great faith that “life as we know it” will continue to look the way it looks now, with comfortable salaries, pensions & “security.” There is no security in a world gone mad. No jobs/pensions/or healthy people on a ravaged planet, hmmm?

So.

I’ll keep on writing, agitating & trying to share some key ideas here on this blog & in my other writings.

Frugality, “living more with less” & being an activist are ideas/ideals I’ll continue to live by.

I think if more of us choose to do the same, the world will change. It is changing…

I’ll continue to work mostly on behalf of the young people I meet. The ones who are putting their hearts where their ideals are, inspiring us all with their energy, passion, idealism & a deep, deep love of Planet Earth & the glorious privilege of life – Life! – here.

I encourage you to do the same!

Janet

P.S. You might want to consider reading the brilliant Derrick Jensen essay ‘Beyond Hope.’ You can find it here

P.P.S. There is a 6-minute CBC documentary about the sit-in that 7 of us did in Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty's office on Nov. 30th. You can find it here You may have to scroll thru the list of climate-related items on the right-hand side in order to find the one entitled "Climate Sit-in." Lots of good viewing there!!

P.P.P.S. If you haven't already read Paul Hawken's brilliant, inspiring book Blessed Unrest – How the Largest Movement in the World Came into Being and Why No One Saw it Coming (Viking, 2007), get thee to a bookstore or library, and get reading!!