Sunday, March 29, 2009

Personal, Local and National Change

While posting on this blog, I have purposefully stayed away from any politics or doom and gloom.
Don't get me wrong, most of my time is spent researching the "doom and gloom" and politics and staying current on our state of affairs locally, regionally, nationally and world wide.

And when you begin to look at the truth of what is going on in this country and in this world, it can begin to look pretty dark. It is easy to get caught up in this feeling of despair. This feeling that we are helpless to stop what is happening. This feeling that the only thing we can do is prepare to protect ourselves and our families. Or for many it may be a feeling that we are too powerless to change anything so we might as well have another beer and Big Mac while we watch American "Idle".

What we cannot forget is that it is the people of this country that make it so great. It is the individual, which becomes the local community, which becomes the regional community, which becomes the national community. It all starts with the individual. If we want change, we must first make that change from within. We must become the change that we want to see in the world. We must then make that change as a local community. We cannot expect to change the path of this nation without doing it locally first. When we all do this together, it becomes a national movement that cannot be stopped. This then will become a global movement that cannot be stopped.

Let me give you my example.

Although I have a long ways to go, I am currently making great changes within myself. These are the changes I must make to be true to who I want to become. Who I must become to be satisfied in this life.
I am becoming a self sufficient human being. Someone who does not need to rely on any "system" for my survival or happiness. Although I am not completely there yet, I am making great strides.
I can grow and raise my own food. Whether it be sheep, cattle, horses, chickens, rabbits, llamas, fruit tree's, gardens or honey bees, I can manage it.
I gave up television long ago and am not distracted by the chaos that it brings to people's lives. This, I should add, is one most powerful changes you can make. It's positive impact is immediate and huge.
I gave up credit cards and a life of debt a few years ago. If I cannot afford it, I cannot have it.
I am happy and healthy. I strive to maintain a level of healthiness, happiness and strength in mind, body and spirit. This includes meditation, art and enjoying the simple pleasures of life and nature. It includes a fitness program that consisting of long distance running, yoga, weight training and hiking. It includes eating healthy non processed foods as much as possible. It includes staying away from drugs or alcohol. At times it includes staying away from sweets (This may be my strongest adversary).
I enjoy, respect and thrive off of my family and friends.
I am currently devising my plan to take my home completely off the grid. Hopefully this is accomplished by the end of this summer.
I am constantly trying to learn new skills, from welding to cooking to more efficient forms of compost. I am trying to absorb as much as possible.
The list continues, but you get the point. I do not feel that I am just existing like many do, going to work, coming home and watching TV and going to bed to do it all over again the next day. I am on a path to become who I am meant to be.

I am a strong believer that if there is ever a crisis, we will get through it at a local level. We will need to come together as a community to get through it. Sure, there will be many people who choose to become loners during these times, existing on their stored food and shooting at any strangers that wander too close. Although I feel I would do better than most if I had to make a go of it alone, I do not want to. Nor do I think it is the best way. We cannot make the changes that we will need to make by becoming loners. We cannot grow as a society this way. We will grow, change and prosper as a community.

Let me give you an example.

Our local community has decided to make necessary changes now, to develop a sustainable community. We do not want to wait for a crisis. We want to be, and will be, prepared to deal with the unforeseen.

This was not organized by our local government. We cannot rely on the government to save us. This was organized by the people. At our last meeting we had over 70 people attend. If you knew the size of our local community, you would realize that this number is pretty amazing.

These are the people in our community that grow the food, that know how to preserve, the gardeners, the ranchers, the bee-keepers, the nursery owners. These are the people that are vital to a sustainable community. Now these people are organizing and preparing. It is a beautiful thing. These are the people that will save our local community and ultimately our country. I hope and believe that this will spread across the country.

We are discussing such things as:
How to get information to the people that need it.
How to efficiently garden in our cold climate.
What have we grown in our area in the past?
Who grows what in our area?
What needs to be grown here?
How do we tap into the older generations wealth of knowledge?
How do we grow, transport and store large crops if we no longer have access to refrigerated trucks or storage areas?
Who knows certain skills in our area?
Who are the master gardeners, composters, etc.
Where can we process meats?

The list goes on and we are trying to address everything. It is a serious effort to develop a very real system that will sustain our community.

As a community we need to re-skill ourselves to survive and provide for ourselves. It is amusing, because in the past these skills were common. Communities were naturally locally sustainable. But not anymore. Now it takes great effort to get back to the way it once was.

We need to be able to know where our food is coming from. We must know that if we need it, it is close to us. If we rely on food that is shipped hundreds or thousands of miles, we cannot guarantee that it will always be there.

The broccoli example
This is an example from a cartoon by Jane Burns of MeadowLark Farm. She is an Idaho advocate for sustainable community development.

Each Idahoan eats about 9 pounds of broccoli per year. In 1980 we only ate 4 1/2 pounds.

There are only 12 broccoli farmers in Idaho. The statewide total of 2 acres is found in Bannock, Bonner, Elmore and Teton counties.

Idaho Farmers produce less than .25% of what Idahoans eat.

Nearly $5 million leaves the Idaho economy to buy broccoli from California farmers. This doesn't include paying the processors and distributors.

If Idaho farmers produced 100% of all the broccoli eaten in the state, we'd need about 1,300 acres. That's about 30 acres per county.

Idaho is a great place to grow broccoli. Why do we need to ship it hundreds of miles? This is an example of the change that must take place.

We cannot allow our fear to paralyze us. And we cannot let our fear make us hermits afraid of our neighbors. We must allow these fears to be used as catalysts for change. For growth. Something will grow out of this mess we find our country and world in. Will we come out of it a stronger, healthier nation? Or will it destroy us? I have to say that I have a lot of hope.

Remember, when you cleanse your body of toxins there is an unpleasant period of detoxing. It is the same with a nation. There may be a painful period of detoxing, but we may come out better than we started.

Change yourself
Change your community
Change your nation
Change the world

1 comment:

  1. Very nice.That's how we feel also.Trying to do same in north/central Idaho.