Change. For many, it’s a scary word. For some, it’s exhilarating. But for all, it’s inescapable.
Sometimes change is an option. Sometimes it’s inevitable. How do we handle change? When do we see a need for it? What prompts us to take on the challenge of making necessary changes?
These are questions we need to address, because inescapable changes to our world are coming on like a tsunami and our culture is sorely lacking in appropriate responses.
That same frantic desire to ignore the arrival of inescapable change pervades today’s cultural scene, even in those subcultures that insist most loudly that change is what they want. In recent months, to cite only one example, nearly every person who’s mentioned to me the claim that climate change could make the Earth uninhabitable has gone on to ask, often in so many words, “So why should I consume less now?” The overt logic here is usually that individual action can’t possibly be enough. Whether or not that’s true is anyone’s guess, but cutting your own carbon footprint actually does something, which is more than can be said for sitting around enjoying a standard industrial world lifestyle while waiting for that imaginary Kum Ba Ya moment when everyone else in the world will embrace limits not even the most ardent climate change activists are willing to accept themselves.
WOW, he really lays it on the line, doesn’t he? Hmm, can all those reasons we give for not doing anything explain why we seem to be mired in mud and unable to take a step forward?
More pithy quotes from John Michael Greer:
A small change is better than no change at all—and a small change can be repeated, expanded, and turned into a stepping stone on the way to bigger changes.
Taking even the smallest practical steps in your own life and then proceeding from there will take you a good deal further than waiting for the mass movements that never happen, the new technologies that never pan out.
Daydreaming that some outside force will come along and change everything for you can be a convenient way to avoid having to think about the future you’re making for yourself.
Any meaningful response to the crisis of our time has to begin on the individual level, with changes in our own lives. To say that it should begin there doesn’t mean that it should end there; what it does mean is that without the foundation of personal change, neither activism nor community building nor anything else is going to do much.
In his Museletter #248, Richard Heinberg states, Our existing rates of consumption are undermining the planet’s basic life-support systems and we need to back off the accelerator if we are to leave intact ecosystems to provide for future generations.
So now comes the big question. What are the individual changes we need to make in response to the changes that are taking place in our world?
Are you ready to look at the way you live and consume? Are you up for the challenge of change?