A New American & A New America: Working for Earth
The After Effects of The Great March for Climate Action[i]
Here in the midst of America, as experienced in my Pacific Northwest, I’m deliberating Radical Conservationism[ii]—mine. Not very ‘patriotic’ if that means ‘extract, use, spend, shop and buy more”. But since I am giving up those habits of the small c’s[iii], that version of patriotism no longer applies to me. My patriotic fireworks are more about lighting a fire under myself, hopefully with others as well, on behalf of the BIG C’s[iv].
Radical Conservationism is my own willingness and commitment to not purchasing, especially not new and improved, or new at all. It means being thoughtful with everything. Do I need it, irrespective of whether or not I want it? Is it recycled? Can it be recycled after I use it? Is it re-useable or does it become trash?
Radical Conservationism means allowing myself to disregard the ‘norms’ presented via the media, signboards, fashions, store fronts, radio ads, newspapers, TV— in other words, all the daily messages!
For me, it also means letting go of whatever criticisms, judgments or opinions others may have about me, pro or con. So, what to do and how to be in my life instead? Here’s my plan:
CREATE a lifestyle that reuses, recycles and repurposes without adding to the stream of expendables and disposables and more trash. I saw enough on the Great March for Climate Action to last a lifetime and way too much in places it was never meant to be: in forests, deserts, streams, meadows, gardens and most places in between.
COLLABORATE with others to
bring the message of Radical Conservationism
share the joy of trying new ways of living, of making changes
generate beauty, joy and fun doing it
CONSERVE what we’ve come to call our ‘resources’ and thus step back and away from participating in the extractive plundering of Earth. Reduce my own intake of water, electricity and fuel and instead turn towards renewables more and more everyplace I can.
COMMUNITY which means sharing with others. Share the knowledge we are gaining, the changes we want to make, the experiences with changes we are having, share food and clothes, books and belongings, share housing and transportation. Be surprisingly, authentically lighthearted and joyous about it.
I am imagining all this will require a new simplicity[v]. I like author Kathleen Norris’[vi] description:“asceticism is a way of surrendering to reduced circumstances in a manner that enhances the whole person. It is a radical way of knowing exactly who, what and where you are, in defiance of those powerful forces in society—alcohol, drugs, television, shopping malls, [electronics]—that aim to make us forget. A healthy ascetic discipline asks you to rejoice in these gifts of deprivation, to learn from them, and to care less for amenities than for that which refreshes from a deeper source.”
I’m learning to be such an American. Won’t you join me wherever you are in your work for Earth?
© Judy L Todd, July 4th, 2014
[i] GMCA was a 3,000 walk across the USA from La to DC from 3/1/14 to 11/1/14.
[ii] Both ‘conservative’ and ‘conservationism’ have come under the same unfortunate influences: western civilization’s industrial society and its attention to more and more and competition. I need a new word.
[iii] consumerism, capitalism, clutter and crap
[iv] CREATE, COLLABORATE, CONSERVE IN COMMUNITY
[v] asceticism, abstinence, simplicity; distinct, yet related to aesthetic as in the nature of beauty where beauty is simple in its naturalness
[vi] Notes from Dakota—A Spiritual Biography, by Kathleen Norris (1993)It's Time for Action on Climate Change. Join Us!