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Paul sits down with some of his patreons (Julia, Katie, and Mark) to talk about an essay written by Derrek Jensen that became a precursor to Paul’s Building a Better World in your Backyard.

“Would any sane person think dumpster diving would have stopped Hitler, or that composting would have ended slavery or brought about the eight-hour workday, or that chopping wood and carrying water would have gotten people out of Tsarist prisons, or that dancing naked around a fire would have helped put in place the Voting Rights Act of 1957 or the Civil Rights Act of 1964? Then why now, with all the world at stake, do so many people retreat into these entirely personal “solutions”? […] Even if every person in the United States did everything (An Inconvenient Truth) suggested, U.S. carbon emissions would fall by only 22 percent. Scientific consensus is that emissions must be reduced by at least 75 percent worldwide.”  

Paul has a conflicting, yet supporting view – He believes that politics is completely rigged and that meaningful progress on that field is almost impossible, so the bulk of change is going to have to come from people doing (some of) the things that Derrek was deriding, and then more.  One such “more” could be saving seeds from any apple you eat and then either planting them or forming into seed balls and lobbing where they can grow, so someone else’s lawn is probably not a good idea due to the lawnmower, but a disused lot would be prime real estate.  If everyone did this and/or Derrek’s propositions, then a lot of the world’s problems would get start to get resolved, but naturally the problem lies with getting enough people on board to keep progress going in both the backyard and in the political landscape.

Relevant Threads

Derrick Jensen: Forget Shorter Showers - Why personal change does not equal political change
Building a Better World in your Backyard by Paul Wheaton and Shawn Klassen-Koop

Urban Gardening

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Posts: 2860
Location: Meppel (Drenthe, the Netherlands)
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Thank you Paul (and the others) for talking about subjects like this in podcasts. So I have something interesting to listen while knitting (or doing some other craft which doesn't involve counting or thinking). During the years I listen to your podcasts it appeared to me your way of thinking and drawing conclusions is much like mine.
For example here in the case of Mr Jensen writing about industries using so much energy/water. Then you say it is because of humans buying those products, so it's also part of the energy/water use of humans. If we want those industries to stop using so much energy/water, yelling at them (or writing letters) is not appropriate. When we ourselves buy the products of those industries, that is where to start the change ...
Inge Leonora-den Ouden
Posts: 2860
Location: Meppel (Drenthe, the Netherlands)
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Another subject came up at the end. It was about people saying the price of tomatoes from their own garden was much too high, because they counted their hours and thought of the salary the get from their worky job. Of course if someone thinks like that, they better not have a garden. People who consider gardening their hobby, who enjoy it, will never count the hours like that!
I am glad there are such different types of people. When we are in a community, I can do the gardening (and some other crafts), while someone else f.e. does the building, the transportation, or other things they do love to do.
"To do good, you actually have to do something." -- Yvon Chouinard
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