Its Not About Fighting The Future

David Trammel's picture

I wanted to talk for a moment about this site...


I get this question sometimes, when I discuss Green Wizardry with people who have come to the conclusion that the Future is going to be more difficult than the Present, "What is Green Wizardry doing to fight against (insert a predicament)?" That predicament (and its not a problem, see this post for the difference) can be climate change, over population, resource depletion, pollution, income inequality or any of the other things that are getting worse and worse each day. They want to know how learning Green Wizardry will make the World they live in, and that they will leave for their children, can be made better.

My answer is, "Green Wizardry isn't about making the World better."

My answer often confuses them, for isn't that what everyone talking about changing things is about, "Making the Big Picture Better?".

Yeah, that's what all of those groups and individuals ARE talking about, making the BIG changes. Unfortunately they are fighting the wrong battle, and it is a battle they will almost certainly lose.

"Climate change: focusing on how individuals can help is very convenient for corporations"

A recent report found that just 100 companies are responsible for 71% of global emissions since 1988. Incredibly, a mere 25 corporations and state-owned entities were responsible for more than half of global industrial emissions in that same period. Most of these are coal and oil producing companies and include ExxonMobil, Shell, BP, Chevron, Gazprom, and the Saudi Arabian Oil Company. China leads the pack on the international stage with 14.3% of global greenhouse gas emissions due to its coal production and consumption.

How many of you, reading my words, honestly thinks that we as individuals can change the way the people who run these businesses, do things? Will me giving up meat for a month pressure the Big Food and Meat industries to change their practices? Will it get them to accept higher costs and less profit in exchange for cutting back on their pollution? Will me driving less, cause Big Oil to cut back on their pollution and over production that is directly leading to a World with few resources?

Organizing a protest at the next pipeline project isn't going to stop our depletion of our petroleum reserves. Rallying against the next big tax break for some Megacorp's new headquarters, isn't going to do much to stop bought politicians from giving away our tax dollars to companies that can easily pay their own way.

This isn't to say that protests and rallys don't have a affect. Shame is a powerful motivator, and a public outcry over the worst offenders and their actions can and does moderate the damage they do. Its just a little too late and a little too little, and we should recognize that.


Just in case you didn't read that post on "Predicaments and Problems" I mentioned at the beginning of this,

"John Michael Greer laid out the difference in this August 31st, 2006 Archdruid Report post. As he puts it:

"The difference is that a problem calls for a solution; the only question is whether one can be found and made to work, and once this is done, the problem is solved. A predicament, by contrast, has no solution. Faced with a predicament, people come up with responses. Those responses may succeed, they may fail, or they may fall somewhere in between, but none of them “solves” the predicament, in the sense that none of them makes it go away."

All of the big predicament which is facing us come down to this, that the People who can make the needed changes won't, and the People who need the changes made, can't.

What you and I need to do then, is realize what changes we CAN make, to prepare for the Future, and make them.

We can begin by looking at our own life style choices and figuring out what actions we do helps us to prepare for a "World Made Harsh", and figure out which actions don't. We need to do more of the first and less of the second. Then we need to identify where we lack the skills and knowledge to expand on those actions that help, and begin learning them.

Or putting this in a historical example, If you were about to make a long ocean journey via ship, then you might want to learn how to swim, if you don't already. Once on the ship, you might want to take a few minutes and figure out what you should do in case the ship has trouble. Where are the life boats and where are the life jacket? What procedures do the crew have in such an emergency? No one expects to need to know that, but what if the name of your ship was "Titanic", would you have sought out the information then?

How many of us, when we take a flight today, actually watch the crew when they give the seat belt and emergency landing demonstration? How many of us, take a minute to read the instructions card in the seat pouch? How many of us, will voluntarily site in the over the wing emergency hatch row? Beside the fact it has great leg room, there is a expected assumption of responsibility when you take that seat.

They tell you that if the oxygen masks deploy, to put yours on first, then seek to help those around you.

That is what Green Wizardry will teach you. Take care of yourself FIRST.

If you have a choice, to join a protest downtown against some injustice, or join a evening class on home canning, which would you choose?

If there ever is an emergency, you can be of more use, if you have prepared.

The Future that is coming is going to be harsh, sometimes brutal and most of the time stressful and hard fought. It will not be up to some government or organization to see you and your Family though the World you will have to live in. It will be up to You alone. That is what Green Wizardry will do, prepare you for that Future.

Its more than that though.

At 61 years young, I won't see but the very edge of the harsh future that most of you will. I expect that I will see disruption of my life. Blackouts of local power, perhaps extreme weather that limits the food and supplies I can get for short periods of time. I expect that the prices of everything will continue to go up, and having little in the way of retirement savings, except for Social Security, I expect that I'll have to make due with less and less. And yet, that's exactly why I study Green Wizardry. The things I learn here on this site, are going to make my final years more comfortable and happier than it could have been without those skills and knowledge. I expect that I still have many years of teaching those same ways to friends and neighbors, who are struggling or will be.

Even if by some techno-magic a wondrous new power source is invented that solves the predicament of Peak Oil comes along, even if some wiz kid inventor comes up with a cheap way to sequester carbon and prevents climate change from happening, the changes I make in my life because of learning Green Wizardry will still make my life easier as I grow old.

That is why I am a Green Wizard.

Kiashu's picture

How many of you, reading my words, honestly thinks that we as individuals can change the way the people who run these businesses, do things?

I don't think we can, directly. But by living our lives a certain way, we help make the radical seem ordinary. I've long lost the link, but Rebecca Solnit once wrote an article called something like "Revolution by Increments", noting that - Madame Speaker, Bob and his boyfriend - do these phrases surprise you? A generation ago they might have; the flatness of their register marks a successful revolution, which did not happen gradually, but by increments.

Someone does something radical. Someone else follows. And then another, and another - and the radical becomes ordinary.

Now, this does not mean I think that enough change will be effected to avoid crises in the future. But - well, let's put it this way. I work as a trainer in a gym, and people tend to overestimate the change possible in the short term, and underestimate the change possible in the long-term.