Thursday, November 12, 2009

1 Year Anniversary

I went back to my emails. Nov 12, 2008 was the day when all started. On this day I received an email from a friend of mine that ran roughly like this: "Do you know the documentary Zeitgeist? I just watched it. It's complicated and requires digestion. One thing is sure, it will make you think, reflective and meditative, ...".

My friend was right and the following discussions kicked off a new period in my life. I sort of celebrate a birthday today. I am now one year into my new life after having recognized that we require Times of Change.

Celebrating this 1-year anniversary it is also time for another self-assessment.

  • Over the last year I rekindled seeds that I had always within myself. Certain attitudes and knowledge I had long before I started Times-of-Change, often since childhood. For example, all my adult life I was into voluntary simplicity, I always have been a fervent recycler, I felt close to nature and appreciated its beauty and the lessons it holds for us. I never voted because I thought it is useless, but I never bothered to think too hard why it is useless. What have I learned over the last year? I got a better understanding of the financial system and how it oppresses us. I got a better understanding of how the economic system is designed to trash the world and how and why the mantra of growth is doomed to fail. I have learned why the political system is corrupt, who corrupted it and who pays the price. I have learned why there is no difference between democrats and republicans, between social democrats and right wing parties: they all just squabble about tiny issues but they all support the status quo and they all support the mercantile totalitarian system. I learned how corporations came to power. Etc. Etc. Etc. Yes, I learned a lot in the last year. I also learned that all is interconnected. That one cannot find a solution to the environmental crisis while ignoring the financial system and politics. One cannot fix corrupt politics and ignore the economy. One can not be a true permaculturist and not have a political opinion and not understand how we are under the influence of corporations. It is all connected: economy, ecology, psychology, politics, freedom, health, nature, ...
  • I put my money where my mouth is. I donated to the sources providing me with valuable information: Chris Martenson, MarketSkeptics, Permaculture Research Institute, etc. 
  • I found a few new people with whom I have shared my believes and who read articles I occasionally mail to them. I continue to spread the news via word of mouth and via the Times of Change blog. The blog has 100 page views per month, not a lot, but it is a start. 
  • I make sure never to buy GM food. We have started to buy wherever possible and reasonable organic food, from organic carrots to coffee. Still, here is room for improvement. There is still plenty on regular (non-organic) food that ends up in our shopping cart that could be substituted with organic products. Furthermore we could buy bio-dynamic food, which is a step ahead of organic food; but it is difficult to find and would require extra work. 
  • I try to vote with my money, i.e. I try to avoid buying products from corporations that are clearly violating good ethics. But I believe that it is far too little and completely insufficient to vote with one's dollars. Often there are no choices: all products offered come from corporations without ethics. So the choice frequently is between "bad" and "bad".
  • I try to reduce consumerism, I built 5 pieces of furniture from scrap wood I dragged home from dumpsters. I even built a small shelf simply from cardboard boxes and another table from combining cardboard boxes and wood. It was so easy. Reduce, reuse, recycle. 
  • I appreciate food a lot more now. I wonder about where it comes from, the effort and energy that goes into producing it, how far it traveled, who profited from it, etc. Food has a higher priority in my life now. And I worry more about it. Will there be enough food in 10 years? How will it be distributed across the nations of this planet? Will it make us sick? I didn't have any of these worries a year ago. 
  • Clearly, the next step is to produce my own food, well, a part of it. I have not advanced on this matter, but it is still on my to-do list. I dream of a food forest. 
  • I started a promise to myself on planting trees. I am behind my target number of planted trees, but I still have many years left to work on this topic.
  • I also want to create a new home-stead for my family and me, but I also see that this leads to relationship tensions as it is natural for partners to disagree on many issues. I don't see the outcome of this yet. So I have doubts. The price for partial resource independence can't and shouldn't be the break-up of close social fabric.
  • Positive thinking is hard for me on many days. It has been stated by many people that despite all the challenges we face we must remain with a positive attitude in order to advance and in order not to become sick. Rationally I fully understand that, but still frequently the news is so depressing and bleak that it is easy to worry or become cynical. I know I have to improve in this area and try to reduce my worries and increase my optimism.

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