The other day a few of us were asking ourselves how we might redefine our lives, personally and in our communities, to respond to the many crises of the planet. That’s what we need–a redefinition. It’s not happening fast enough. Sometimes I look around in a public place and wonder how in the world we’re going to get all those people to get off their butts and make their lives more sustainable. Is it possible to build a movement that captures the hearts of millions as happened in the Civil Rights Movement? Can we somehow motivate the masses to consume and drive less, eat local, live more frugally, and un-plug? What will motivate them?
Even though I know of the looming disasters ahead of us which could send me to hide under my bed covers, I get up each day with hope. Why? Because I regularly join with others in my town, my faith community, and my state to try to make a difference. Because just last week Transition Town Charlotte held a workshop about keeping poultry and more that forty people showed up, right here in our little town. And it was a lively and fun event and maybe it motivated more people to think about developing a strong local economy. Because last week at my Friends Meeting some of us were discussing Bill McKibben’s book, Eaarth, and it led to exploring ways to make significant heart-based changes within our Meeting community. Because last week I participated in a board meeting of the Vermont Interfaith Power and Light and learned of how so many faith communities are making significant changes in their energy use.
The only way I get up in the morning and face the day with hope and a smile is because I know that my examples are multiplied a million times around the world and that there is a movement, just as Paul Hawken has documented, that may help turn the tide of our self-destruction. But in the meantime I believe that efforts such as the Transition Town movement, which is spreading around the globe, and Interfaith Power and Lights are where we need to put our energy. We must work in our communities to educate, re-skill, and energize everyone around us.
More people, like Bill McKibben, Peter Sawtell, and George Lakoff are advocating civil disobedience, and I’m recognizing that this may be our next step. I did take my risks in the eighties when many were rising up against the injustices in Central America. I did get arrested and I did get sentenced to some jail terms, the longest being 3 months. I did feel like I was doing all that I could and was filled with hope that I might be an agent for change.
Today I want to be an agent for change for the planet, for the future, for my life, for my grandchildren. My oldest granddaughter is about to graduate from college and is really scared about the job scene and her future prospects for a healthy and fulfilling life. It breaks my heart to hear of her fears. It makes me feel like I MUST make a difference!
What are you doing? How do you continue with the knowledge of what is happening and what is to come?