In my last post (“1967“) I posited that humanity will need to make quite a few changes in the years ahead, and that we need to “…start letting go of the status quo.” I ruminated on that for a bit after I posted it, and decided that a caveat was in order. Namely, that these changes we need to make will be evolutionary, and not revolutionary. They will (and should) happen gradually, if all of this is going to work out. Though some would differ, we can’t have some ecological equivalent of the French Revolution, and throw out all of our cultural, economic, and political systems in exchange for some sustainable version we create out of whole cloth. And it’s not that the current systems don’t need changed, but rather because if we did throw them out we’d realize exactly what revolutionaries throughout the ages have realized—that it isn’t the overthrow that’s the difficult part, it’s making the new systems work, once you’ve thrown out the old ones.
So, for example, it’s all well and good to envision gift economies and “goddess circles” and great masses of people all growing food on self-sufficient permaculture wonderlands, but the reality is that it just isn’t going to work that way. It won’t do us any good to throw out the market economy, for example. Now, at this point it occurs to me that I’ve written about all of these things before, so I think I’m going to do something unusual, and illustrate my point by providing links to previous posts—
–How we need to keep the market system, and use demand to adjust economic outcomes– “The Lure of Alternative Economies“, Feb 2015, among quite a few others.
— On how the future of agriculture lies somewhere between mega-ag and small-scale farms– “A Middle Ground for Agriculture“, June 2013.
— Being wary of too-radical moves toward “spirituality” and Kum-ba-ya-ness (not sure that’s a word), “Crop Circles and Water Memory” Feb. 2014.
I could keep going, but I’ll stop there for now. I will say that over the years I have noticed a broad cohesiveness to the totality of my posts—I haven’t changed my mind about much. In fact—one more link here—I wrote about this very subject a while back, “Getting This Figured Out”. I’m confident in the direction we need to go, and become more confident all the time. And, I’m becoming more optimistic—we have the tools, we have the knowledge, and we just need to act. Many, many are on this path, but we need many, many more to become involved. This is why I sometimes “boost” my facebook notifications of these posts; for a few dollars I can put them in front of thousands of people. And trust me, it’s not because I want to be well-known. Just the opposite; I’d like nothing better than to remain a nobody and live my solitary life here in beautiful rural Vermont. But I can’t do it. We live in a crux time; what we do in these next few decades is far, far more important than what people did a hundred years ago, or what they will do a hundred years hence. It is make-or-break time; I can see humanity taking steps to fix our problems, but I can also see humanity collapsing into ecological disaster. We’re at a crossroads. So I’ll buck my natural inclination to be somewhat reclusive, and I’ll do what I can to facilitate humanity’s change-over.
But back to my point— it will work better if the changes are evolutionary, and not revolutionary. We need to slowly but steadily change our economic systems, our political systems, and our social and cultural systems. The changes will be additive, and their sum total will grow every year, until we have remade the human presence on the planet, and abandoned our extractive ways, and learned to be agents of healing and restoration. We can do it, we have the tools, and we have the technology. The good news here? These evolutionary changes are things we all can do. They are small changes, small actions, single votes, by billions of people, writ large. In the words of FDR in the movie Pearl Harbor, “Do not tell me that it can’t be done!”. It must be done, and we all have a part to play. Little changes, billions of times over, and it will all start to shift.