As I have been reviewing my coursework and preparing for graduation I came across an assignment I did for my Ecopsychology course. For this exercise, I was asked to imagine that it was 30 years into the future, 2042, and we were well on our way to a much healthier planet and way of life...we were living in a "life affirming society". I was to imagine what I would say to a young child who wanted to know what I did to help with the transition from a consumerist society into a more earth friendly, nature based society.
As I wrote, I kept thinking about all of the people I've met locally and through this space that inspire me on a daily basis. I thought about the little things each of us does every day that add up to a bigger impact and I became very hopeful for our collective future. So, thank you for all you've done and continue to do every single day to help make our planet a healthier place for ourselves and our future children.
My Dear, I know it is hard to imagine a world that is different from the one you have always known. Our current space is one of continued evolution and change. We have come a long way but we still have much to learn. Please know that every single action we participate in can have either a positive or negative affect…the wonderful thing is, you get to choose your actions each day!
I was not born into the beauty you see around you today. I was born into a society that was based on convenience and instant gratification. We had invented every possible contraption to make our lives easier. In the process we became disconnected from ourselves, our communities, our food and the home that we’d forgotten we’d be dead without. We didn’t value our fellow woman or man or all of the gifts our Earth had to offer us. We had forgotten the skills and tools that we humans held for thousands of years. We “evolved” so quickly, we had entered a time of actively killing ourselves and our planet with chemicals and bombs and concrete...and our own apathy.
I have to admit that it took me longer than others to fully awaken to the crisis I was surrounded by. Once I figured it out, though, it became quite the adventure!
It all started with a couple of tomato plants and more visits to our local Farmers Market than to the grocery store. I learned about GMOs and factory farmed meats and open pollinated seeds. Our two tomatoes quickly evolved (over the course of three short years) into several hundred feet of growing space where gravel and weed cloth used to be. We got to know a local rancher by shaking his hand and asking him about his practices. We made a meal from scratch, then made another. We made coffee at home in the morning and threw it in a mason jar to take to work, then carpooled there instead of driving separately. We shared all of our ideas and learnings with the people around us. We accepted our mistakes and our failures and we kept trying.
It wasn’t easy, mind you, we had been raised then to base a things worth on how shiny and fun and convenient it was. This was all very different.
We took shorter showers, bought a spork to take to work instead of eating with plastic utensils and purchased a BPA free water bottle…a beautiful one that I loved to carry around and drink from every day for a long time (it got quite dented and scuffed up, but it worked just fine for carrying water. We put in a few fruit trees, built lots of veggie beds and coops with reclaimed lumber and our own hands, purchased a few laying hens for eggs and fresh meat and then built a bee hive and started keeping bees (honey is SO much tastier than sugar, don’t you think?).
We talked to our friends and learned from each other. We remembered how wonderful it feels to share time and space with each other. We challenged the truths we always believed were true and re-learned the skills that our parents didn’t think we’d ever need to use so they didn’t bother teaching us. We started listening to our children again and trusting our intuition. We realized that human contact was more important than electronic stimulation. We took small steps, but every step lead us right where we are today. Still learning, still healing all the wounds we helped to inflict, but right here, present and doing better than we ever imagined we could 30 years ago!
I know this may all seem a bit foreign to you, but it is important that we don’t forget all the work that has been done so we don’t return to how blind we were. We are not perfect and we are still evolving…there were many complications that needed to be untangled and we are still working out a lot of those details. But we were patient and we were willing to do the work…the hard, sweaty, gross, exhausting work. And it was so worth all the effort and growing pains and debates and tears and inconveniences because we are here now and we are healthier and our earth is healthier and we have all had a part in it!