What the world needs now is more than love sweet love. It needs clear vision and rational thinking. And Richard Heinberg is a shining example of such vision and thinking, with a large dose of common sense thrown in for good measure. Richard’s response to our new reality has been way more than just changing light bulbs. He took on the challenge of changing to a sustainable lifestyle.
But then we’re all muddling around somewhere in the five stages of change. And apparently, we waffle back and forth through the stages. After all, being told that your lifestyle is destroying the Earth is a gigantic bitter pill that’s not easy to swallow. We slog through varying levels of disbelief and occasionally surface for a dose of reality, only to run screaming into the depths of denial again. It seems we can only stand a little bit of our new reality at a time.
How can we engage in sane and rational thinking when we’re steeped in denial? Or scared to death because we know what’s happening to our world? Or completely distracted by the activities of daily life? For starters, it helps to get together with others in our community to start talking about how we feel instead of burying our angst more deeply. (What was the end result for that ostrich?)
And of course I have a few other suggestions.
Simplifying our lives (which we’re going to have to do anyway if we want to survive) will give us the time and space to slow down and indulge in a much needed reality check. There’s no way we can address the need for lifestyle changes when we’re living at warp speed. Making lifestyle changes requires shining a bright light on exactly how we’re living and how our actions affect the earth. It means examining the assumptions we hold based on what we believe and updating them to reflect our current reality. Just as computer programs become outdated, so do beliefs and values as time goes by and new information comes to light.
Regarding the way we live—working umpteen hours a week, eating fast food on the run because there’s no time to cook a meal, skipping vacations because the workload upon return to the office is too overwhelming or missing our kids’ lives because they’re relegated to day care while we’re busy working to maintain the consumer lifestyle—can anyone honestly say this is making us happy? Is buying a new car every two years, living in a McMansion and endless consumerism making us happy? I don’t think so. We’ve been hoodwinked into believing that this is a quality life. It’s not.
It’s time to stop the train and get off. We’ll be happier and so will the Earth. But be gentle with yourself–this looking clear-eyed at reality is not an easy process. And remember, you’re not alone–we’re all in this together.