My thought is this: if these things are really so important to us, why do we balance, compromise and pace ourselves? Why do we downplay the sense of urgency?
The way I see it is simple: every single one of us has the ability to do anything right now. No exceptions. We all could quit driving. We all could stop paying property taxes. We all could follow our heart 100% of the time. We all could make a sustainable future our only priority. And we all could do that immediately.
Skandi Rogers wrote:The world doesn't care what you/I/humanity does, it was here before us it will be here after us,
Robin Katz wrote:II have to keep reminding myself that only in the last generation or so have we had the ability to instantly access all of the woes of the world and it's current population of over 7.8 billion people. Even in the best of times that many people will have a lot of crap going on. Just seeing the news makes everything seem like there is nothing good happening, which is not true at all. I limit my time online looking at the news so that I don't get caught up in all of the drama.
Stacie Kim wrote:
So I guess what I'm trying to say is, it's a journey for most of us. I am going to assume that most of us here grew up in the First World system of disposable stuff, credit cards, consumerism, etc. Breaking free and developing a new mindset is a process. It takes time. It might seem like we are "dicking around," but I would guess the majority of us are doing what we can, when we can. I know I'd like to be further along in the journey than I am, but I get discouraged when I look forward to what I don't yet have. I find it much more fulfilling to see how far I've already come.
I agree that its a journey. As far as the mindset goes, that can change in an instant though. It happened to me in an evening several years ago.
I agree that we all have the ability to do something, but not everything, right now. If we all stop driving, many of us are too far away from resources we don't have available to us quickly. How could we get to necessary places in an emergency? I mean like, to the hospital? If we don't pay property taxes, I guarantee Uncle Sam will put a lien on our property and it will no longer be ours. We are trying to find that delicate balance between independent living while still being "shackled" to the economic system we're in.
As far as getting to necessary places like hospitals, who’s to say what is necessary? Are we necessary? Is it necessary not to die if you’re horribly injured far from a hospital? And for sure, if you or I stop paying taxes, we will lose our house. But if millions of us stopped paying taxes together, we would collapse an already dying and broken system. I guess I’m struggling more with Jesus’ attitude of not worrying about tomorrow, what we’re going to wear or what we’re going to eat. Living off of faith alone while the worrying, planning side of the brain withers has always been attractive to me.
I don't agree that our heart is always worth following. Our hearts have to be in the right place, in sync with logical thoughts, for it to be worth following. (This can get religious and philosophical, so I'll just say that I believe appealing to our higher sense of logic and knowledge is better than following our current emotions.)
Way back, many years ago, a wise man once told me that people are generally just doing the best they can.
For many of us, we are trying to do the best we can through sustainable living. Others just haven't had their eyes open to an alternative way of living sustainably.
I hope you feel better soon, Brody.
I will say that I feel quite a bit better now. I extrapolated my original revelation a bit and that’s where my issues started. My original message was “embody love”. My logical and reasonable thinking mind ran with that and turned it into sustainable human life, which I think really muddies the waters. As long as I keep it simple as the original message was, these doubting thoughts have no purpose.
Carl Nystrom wrote:First off, a lot of what you say resonates with me - I think it is good that you are making the effort to look around and wonder just what the hell we, as a society, are actually doing. I am often frustrated by the scale of the worlds problems, but I think it is important to remember that you do not have to carry that burden entirely on your own. As I see it, there are basically three avenues of attack to try and maintain your sanity in the face of impending doom.
1) You can embrace nihilism. Recognize that the end is coming, but that it doesnt really matter. Anyone who writes climate change off with a shrug and a "I will be dead before its my problem." has basically chosen to go down this route. Depending on their age, they might even be right, but in the meantime, they are generally the biggest share of the underlying problem; so maybe dont be that guy!
2) You can embrace idealism. Recognize that the end is coming, and that only by getting everyone on board for some crazy scheme can we all survive. Maybe this is what you are imagining about living like a hobbit. Sadly, it is too late for that. We have become so technologically dependent that I believe most people would not survive without access to it. Also, the problems that we have already created with technology are likely going to need even better technology to fix - If we go backwards, I suspect we will be heading down the path towards extinction.
3) So lastly, you can try and find some sort of middle ground. Recognize that the choices we make do matter, and that there is no magic-wand solution that will fix everything. In fact, it is not even clear to me that there is a path back out of the hole we have made for ourselves. But we must keep trying. Make the best choices you can, and keep moving in the direction of change. Bear in mind; sooner or later all things end. This is, I believe, as true of civilizations and societies as it is of individual lives. We cant cheat death, so all that is left to do is make the most of the time we have.
Anyway, that is all pretty abstract, and I have been thinking a bit about what concrete steps would need to be taken to effect the most change. I think the problem is that the only sustainable societies we have to draw inspiration from have all been pre-industrial. Personally, I think there is no going back. As the climate becomes increasingly challenging, growing food reliably is going to become more and more technically difficult. There are already areas of the world where traditional agriculture is no longer working, so I think we are going to need our technology more than ever in the future. So, I think the goal needs to be a sustainable industrial base. Aspects of that are within our grasp - we can generate renewable energy that could in theory run factories to make many of the products we use. But it is a massive undertaking, and I am not sure I will live to see it fully realized. In the meantime, we should be using our purchasing power and our political voices (although again, I recognize that this will be slow). My personal goal is eventually put as much carbon back in the ground as is released by my entire economic activity. I believe that getting to net-zero emissions is going to be a whole hell of a lot more realistic than getting to zero-emissions. Obviously not everyone can make enough biochar in their backyard, so we need to think about other ways to start sequestering carbon. Part of this is going to have to be done with technology like carbon capture and storage, part of it could be offset by buying biofuels, and anywhere that there is not an available alternative, money should probably be invested in developing those technologies. This is starting to feel like a rambling screed, so I will sign off, but I would be curious what other people think
Trace Oswald wrote:I decided a long time ago that I couldn't save the world. So I just do my best to make my little piece of it better. I try to do my best with my land and my life, knowing full well I could do better. I try to treat the people I care about well. I've lost many in the last few years, and I'm not going to lie, for 7 or 8 years now, life has been very, very hard sometimes. The thing that has changed most for me, that has helped me the most, is to constantly remind myself of all I have to be grateful for. Practicing gratitude works for me. It's easy to look at the world and see all the thing that are wrong, or bad, or failing. It's just as easy to look and see beauty, and love, and kindness. I guess my advice is, be kind to yourself, don't beat yourself up. Look at the things you are doing right, try to do your best, and don't dwell on all the little things you could be doing better. You can't control anyone but yourself, so don't worry about everyone else. If you want to make a change, make it by being humble and setting the example you want people to see. And above all, practice gratitude.
Lew Johnson wrote:When I get frustrated with people around me and in society at large because of the irrational decision making regarding thinking about the future... I remember that we are very bad at making rational decisions and we are very bad at assessing risk. That must include me if it includes other people... but I like to imagine I'm at least starting to move up the Wheaton Eco-scale and some other metrics of "wokeness" or awareness.
We are easily influenced. We are cheaply baited by propaganda that suits our biases.
This is sad in and of itself, but it helps to explain the irrational behavior.
As for humanity's purpose and hope for the future... I like to think we are being faced with an epic mega challenge... and if we manage to get this right, if we can solve and cope with climate change and the massive scale of human migration and conflict it's already starting to cause, if we can learn how to get along without killing each other, if we can protect the weak among us in times of crisis, if we can do these things then we might make a huge step in our journey as a species. I hope that journey is towards a state something like the near-utopia of Star Trek. A future where disease is mostly history, greed is amusingly alien, and interpersonal problems are solvable within a single episode!
If we didn't have these giant challenges now, we probably would at some point in the future. We are being tested. We are in the crucible. Will we come out as a coherent alloy of human metal? Strong and resilient? That is on all of us to do what we can.
I don't know about you, but I do well when faced with a challenge!
Skandi Rogers wrote:The world doesn't care what you/I/humanity does, it was here before us it will be here after us, the climate has changed hundreds of times before sometimes those changes caused mass extinctions sometimes they don't seem to coincide. The world spins on, a ball of rock orbiting a glowing ball of gas, it will continue to spin, continue to evolve new life over and over until that ball of gas expands and eats it up. From the worlds point of view it really doesn't matter what we do, neither does it matter to life on earth it will also continue it won't look the same as it does today, but even if we didn't exist life would not look the same in a million years as it does now, nothing is stable everything is constantly changing.
From a slightly more upbeat point. mass extinction allows new creatures to develop, new forms get to exist to fight to survive to evolve.
Jan White wrote:I consider myself a nihilist, but I find it quite freeing, not depressing. I know that nothing I or humanity does matters in the long run, so I don't need to stress about it. Even if nothing we do matters in the long term, that's not the time scale humans exist in. We live in the present. So I do what I can to improve the present for myself and those that come after me. Knowing that nothing I do will actually make a difference stops me from feeling burdened by responsibility, though. Instead, I'm free to take pleasure in what I'm able to accomplish in the moment, because the moment is all that matters.
Humans are still evolving. Again, we live in the present so we don't see it. But we're not the end product. Maybe we'll stop being selfish and lazy eventually. For the moment, it's Idiocracy.
Mark Brunnr wrote:Earth is a pretty big place, with quite a few people, and while we may not have a big influence over everything, we can have a great influence over our own life. I'm a fan of Taoism, which may provide insight into living life in a changing world. Somewhere I have the book 'The Tao of Pooh' which explains the philosophy of it as Winnie the Pooh seems to be a proponent.
JRR Tolkien once wrote: “All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”
Douglas Alpenstock wrote:
Skandi Rogers wrote:The world doesn't care what you/I/humanity does, it was here before us it will be here after us,
I think that's an important perspective.
On a related note, you may have heard the humbling argument that humans have essentially been invented by viruses, bacteria and fungi as a means of escaping the gravity well of Earth. A species capable of that would have to be intelligent, aggressive, restless, curious, and able to function in organized groups. By definition, there would a lot of collateral damage along the way. But we are no threat to our microscopic overlords, and they have infinite patience.
Robin Katz wrote:I've had similar bouts of doubting whether or not humanity is good for the earth. Right now it feels a lot more negative than positive, but humanity has the ability to pull its collective ass out of the fire. The big question for me is how much damage will be done to us and the earth before we get ourselves back on track, because I do believe that we will. So for now my husband and I are focusing on making our plot of earth the healthiest and most balanced that we can. It's a big job but the result feels good and is beautiful to look at. I think that all anyone can do is work with the tools that they have right now and make the best of it.
I have to keep reminding myself that only in the last generation or so have we had the ability to instantly access all of the woes of the world and it's current population of over 7.8 billion people. Even in the best of times that many people will have a lot of crap going on. Just seeing the news makes everything seem like there is nothing good happening, which is not true at all. I limit my time online looking at the news so that I don't get caught up in all of the drama.
Michael Dotson wrote:I believe the older we get the more tired we get of seeing the same crap over and over. Politicians feuding, religions at violent odds, refugees piling up on borders, thin skinned idiots with big mouths... it just gets old. I have lost most of my faith in humanity. So, I have a philosophy and it came by the way of an epiphany.
My philosophy is simply smile. I smile at everyone. I can change nothing but what I control so I smile that my workload is so light. I gave 20 years of my life defending the Constitution and i smile about that. I smile a lot. A funny thing happens, too. People smile back. When they smile back I feel like I've done some good. That makes me feel good, so I smile more. It restores some of my faith.
Brody Ekberg wrote: [...]you say that we’ve gotten so dependent on unsustainable technology that most people couldn’t live without it. My thought is, should they?
Brody Ekberg wrote:
Dont let me bring you down!
Brody Ekberg wrote:I always thought it was strange that random people smile at me. I figured they must just be that happy or having a fantastic day. I smile when it happens naturally, and hate forcing it.