Sunday, August 12, 2012

Death spiral, or why i'm not especially concerned

The lovely and thoughtful Stacy Evans tagged me in a Facebook post Friday.  The post was sharing  this article about how we (humans, especially in Western society) are screwing up big time and it's going to cause the end of the world.  The author seems to think that we're all doomed.  Me, I'm not.

In archaeology, one learns that societies rise and fall.  They morph from one thing to another leaving their garbage behind for us to find and study.  Lots of factors contribute to the decline of society (notice I'm not saying civilization)- natural disasters, war, environmental changes, economics, time.  Very rarely does a single one of these deliver a deathblow. Usually, a catastrophic collapse is caused by a perfect storm of all of the above.  More frequently, one or two of these factors forces a society to rapidly change, making it's physical remains appear have an end point.

Yes, our society is dangerously unbalanced. I will concede that we've made a mess of the environment, but it's no reason to panic.  We can come back from the edge.  We don't have to give up and hasten the death spiral; we can choose to change.  Little things at first, then big things.

Here's my list:

For individuals:

  • Get involved- in your community, in your nation.
  • Speak up- politicians will cave on things if they hear enough protest, really.
  • Educate yourself and others.
  • Start letting go of the idea that stuff will make your happy.
  • Develop a sense of connection to others and the planet.
  • Be kinder to the earth- reusable bags for shopping, recycle everything you can, compost, use less gas, walk places, eat local, repair rather than replace.
  • Interact with people.
For communities:
  • Encourage greening projects- change building codes to allow for environmentally friendly technologies like solar power, electric vehicle recharging stations, living roofs, community gardens, building retrofits, community composting, and green belts.
  • Look out for your most vulnerable members, not just the elites.
  • Invest in projects and policies that connect people- libraries, parks, public education.
  • Focus on quality of life, not revenue.  People are not a commodity. Money does not love; people who love their community will contribute to their community in ways money never will.
  • Make every voice equal- some of the best ideas I've ever heard for my community came from people who are unlikely to be heard by our elected officials.
  • Strive for balance, not inflated property values.
For governments:
  • Stop using the GDP as the end all and be all of measuring sticks.
  • Judge your successes by the number of lives improved and the quality of life that citizen enjoy.
  • Give future generations a leg up.
  • Apply laws evenly.
  • Get rid of money's influence in law making and law enforcing.
  • Give everyone equal access to their elected officials.
  • Eliminate loopholes.
  • Value all labor as vital and dignified.
  • Make education, medical care, access to food, and shelter human rights.
We can live in fear, hoarding things against possible disaster, fending only for ourselves, or we can look for solutions.  The choice is ours, but it appears that we may not have much time to make it.  Me, I'm not going to worry too much, but I'm also not resting.  There's a world to change out there.

1 comment:

  1. I'm not especially worried either. I live in the middle of nowhere anyway, about as close to uncivilized as it gets. If worse came to worse I could grow my own food, and plenty of guns and ammo out here to protect it. lol


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