Archive for the Dilemma’s and Solutions Category

A Current Conundrum

Posted in Big Questions, Desires, Dilemma's and Solutions, Feelings with tags , , , on November 26, 2011 by matthewstruth

 

Yesterday, I drove my Subaru 15 miles to listen to a wonderful talk by a climate researcher and author. Indeed a profound dissertation.

Early on in the presentation he inquired of the audience, “How many of you think that humans are responsible for climate change?” Startling to him, everyone in this group on the coast of Maine raised their hand for “Yes, we are”. Usually he said it’s 50/50.

The roadways leading to the library where the talk was to be held were completely filled with auto’s clothed in the greatest colorful array of progressive bumper stickers imaginable, mine too……….and not a parking space for blocks.

At the talks conclusion, he stated that from his perspective it will take a new discovery of an alternative energy source to stem the tide of runaway carbon dioxide increases.

I am beyond perplexed, saddened and disheartened.

Here we were in this room, all in agreement to our role in harming the current stability of Earth, and what behaviors are any of us actually changing? In the face of overwhelming research, I feel powerless. And yet as he stated, we are more powerful that can be understood, we’ve been putting these forces at work for a while now, us, probably you and me, and everyone that we know. And yet, we’re not going to change, but just wait for some new source of energy??

Why is it that our current way of life, with all of its entitled comforts is not negotiable? These alleged comforts have only been around for a relatively short while. Why does it seem that we aren’t willing to modify our behavior all that much? And what would this look like if indeed we did modify ourselves? Why are automobiles, which from the perspective of a pedestrian are violent contraptions for inducing a lazy apathetic consumer culture, deemed to be a prerequisite for life within this nation?

I am dumbfounded. We in this room all drove, something that we know is inherently wasteful, harmful, on so many distinct levels, dangerous. Are we not capable of imagining a society without these things, and the multitudes of other dastardly conveniences? Can we get beyond the “I want it now syndrome?”

If we know that we a part of the problem, what will have to evolve in us in order to change course? What will we be willing to let go of? Isn’t this the greatest conundrum?—What will have to evolve in “us“?

While I live here now in this society, I do envision a vastly different one, and that one does not have automobiles at the center of our neighborhoods. It has us, working together for the things that matter dearly to us. This “working together” seems like the crucial point and something that many have lost the ability to accomplish. Some of our individual actions will not change the big picture, but we can choose which influence we’ll exert.

May we answer these questions, and even more importantly, share with each other what we discover. I know deep within me, and you probably do too, that our lives can be so much richer than we’ve been currently accustomed too. Even though I have not yet physically experienced this new way, I do feel its presence getting closer. And for that I am extremely grateful.

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Recreating…….evolving to: Re-Create

Posted in Big Questions, Desires, Dilemma's and Solutions with tags , , , , on May 29, 2011 by matthewstruth

 

In these parts, the high mountains, one predominant form of recreating has given way to the next—the bikers. Whether it’s the mountain bikers, the road bikers, the dirt bikers or the motor type bikers, they have emerged in all of their funny colorful garb for one reason, to recreate. Pure and simple, athletic prowess and pleasure—many people’s lives revolve around this stuff.

Me too, I’ve done it, been a recreational rider. And the great feelings that recreation fosters are truly wonderful. But now the vehicles arrive covered in bikes. Imagine this, driving all over here and there to then get on the bicycle to “go for a ride“. How decadent and wasteful. All in the name of fun and fitness. Why not use our bicycles for actual transportation?

My psyche sure is funny though. While living in many different regions of the country, I’d usually be lamenting and wishing that I’d encounter a fellow walker or anyone gaining any small amount of exercise. Oh, and in many parts, walkers are few and far between, usually non-existent. And yet here, nearly everyone is pristinely fit, decked out in the garb of the season, and I feel supremely odd. This recreating just seems way over the top and so shallow. Meet Mr. Judgmental, will I ever be satisfied?

But other questions appear on the surface as well. Summer is coming. This weeks paper had a quotation, “I hope summer falls on a weekend this year”. Comically and tragically true, the mountains have mind and body boggling temperatures.

These other questions span the depths of: What is all of the incessant recreating really about? We’ve got “uber-” this and that. We’ve got relatively young folks having their hips and knees replaced. Really. All in the name of a hyper-masculinized version of power. Go big or go home as they say. Men used to work, I mean really work. These fields weren’t cleared by magic beings, these crops weren’t grown by machine. What are we doing and producing for our sustenance right now? What are we avoiding? What are we trying to conquer?

What would our society be like if instead of rv’ing, rafting, and riding nonstop we gathered with one another and inquired, “how do you feel?”, “what‘s important to you?”, “what ails you?”

How will we learn to work together to provide the things that really matter? How will we create community rituals and gatherings that honor our inner beings, and not just our external persona‘s? How will we bring more awareness to our relationships and loved ones? Who are we really?

What would our lives look like if we began to re-create everything?—Where our food comes from and how nutritious and healthy it is. How we organize as a species. How we provide, use and conserve energy. How we use very little to provide for our necessities. How we honor life’s passages and each other. How we raise our children. How we spend our time. How we cherish each and every breath. How we take care of and steward this amazing planet.

Can we as a culture begin to ask these types of questions—more so than, ya wanna go ride that trail?

We are the ones that have the power to re-create everything! Not only that, I humbly believe that we must. And it is imperative that we take care of our own bodies while doing so.

Re-Create Culture…..got a nice ring to it!

Why Are We Wasting Our Waste?

Posted in Big Questions, Dilemma's and Solutions with tags , , , , on February 15, 2011 by matthewstruth

This will be the first entry in a series of posts located in my Dilemmas and Solutions category. Here we’ll explore, in no particular order, some concrete issue’s that we face as a society.

 

The western industrialized world tends to consider itself civilized. After all we’ve got private automobiles for transporting our mostly out of shape physiques from one place to another at our whim. We’ve got those giant tv’s with remotes, so we don’t have to move from the couch. We’ve even got couches filled with toxic materials that we place our being upon. We’ve got food products right there on the shelf, never mind that there’s only two or three days worth in any given location. We’ve got heat and ac, that is our right, we don’t even have to be acclimated to the natural world anymore. Wow, what prowess.

And then there’s indoor plumbing, that innovation that removed us even further from our environment. We are civilized here, we just sit down and allow the remnants of our digestion to be whisked away with—potable water. Is flushing and throwing away our waste products really civilized though? Are they even to be considered waste? Certainly the alleviation of rampant disease created from sewage running in the streets is a welcome sign of a civilized society. Indeed. But has anything been lost?

I am proposing that on the contrary—this unquestioned practice is in fact barbaric. Here’s why. We humans eat food, food that has been grown from the elements of earth and from soil, from which our plants take in nutrients. When we eat them raw or moderately prepared, a wondrous dining experience, these precious life forms provide us with our own nutrients. But we have taken, and what have we given back? We have taken the plants and thereby the energy and nutrients from within the soil. This equation of taking cannot continue indefinitely, and eventually the soil becomes degraded. Our barbarity has been in thinking that applying chemicals or even the manure of other animals will balance out this equation of taking. Our depleted soils and the extreme loss of topsoil clearly shows that our industrialized model isn’t working so well.

Back to the sitting and flushing scenario—We are taking from our soils, ingesting, digesting and then flushing away the very materials from our own bodies that would provide balance to the equation. Our fecal matter is precious, yet our civilized barbarity lets us just throw it away—again with pure drinking water.

What is wrong with us? Are we so afraid of touching that which would close the loop in the creation cycle? Perhaps we call it shit because we eat shitty products that some corporations call food. If instead we ate, at the very least organic food, grown by ourselves, or at least grown locally and in season—precious life giving and sustaining food, we’d recognize our place within this splendor and see that what has moved through our bodies is in fact FOOD for the soil and the organisms within it. Our humanure, no longer to be called shit, is a commodity of great, great value. When carefully composted it is an antidote to our barbarity.

Water is precious and becoming scarce. To continue to flush away nutrients, while considering them waste with clean water is another sign of a civilization in steep decline. Our alleged affluence, arrogance and outright fear is causing extreme danger to the majority of the worlds people. Our current western lifestyle is not our highest calling, not the best that humans are capable of. We can do better. We can begin the difficult work of reclaiming our natural functions and creating systems to replenish our earths soils with parts of us. We are an integral part of creation and the universe. It is time to inhabit our place within it responsibly and evolve.

 

Two great sources of information along these lines are—“The Humanure Handbook” by Joseph Jenkins and the 2009 book “What We Leave Behind” by Derrick Jensen and Aric McBay.