My daughters and I started this blog so that we could have a place to put our thoughts and talk about how to live in the world, something akin to writing letters. Emails are too short, Facebook too public. I had changed my place in the family by leaving for a foreign country. No more Sunday dinner discussions, no impromptu bull sessions. I needed a place to think out loud. Over the past year of wondering about how to live in the world in this letter to my daughters, it has become clear to me just how difficult it can be.
All of the hubbub around the book and movie “The Hunger Games” has pointed out that we and most especially young adults need a hero. It is particularly satisfying that the hero has a female face. Katniss Everdeen stands on moral ground in that story, in a world driven by style without substance, she is a hero.
So that is what I want to think about. How to stand on moral ground in a world driven by imperatives that are amoral at best, fraudulent at times and often just plain wrong. I suppose those politicians on the right would claim that their morality is self-evident and unquestionable, but I think not. Those on the left make the same claims. But I see a system that in its entirety chugs along on dollar bills and avarice. One man gives the birther movement a million dollars because he wants Israel to be able to continue building settlements and he doesn’t trust our current president to support that. Gun manufacturers fund legislative lobbyist to encourage laws that endanger people, but sell many, many guns. We carry on a violent and unsuccessful war on drugs and fund private prisons to hold offenders without thinking of a better way to tackle this problem. And a better way is to many of us so obvious. The war machine builds unbelievably costly jets that are already out dated and cuts funding to schools and the poor. It is easy to fall into thinking that there is nothing I can do. The wheels that turn are too big. The piles of money too high, the influence purchases peculiar solutions.
But 99% is a big number. It signifies millions of people who together have power. A friend of mine reminds me that it is well past time to begin living the life that we claim to want to live. In many ways we do live that life, eating local food, buying second hand or local products, making ethical choices where ever possible. And just now there are signs that the internet makes a difference. It gives power to our voices. Look how ALEC is being challenged, losing funding from Coca Cola, Pepsi, Mars candy and MacDonald’s. It seem like a drop in the proverbial bucket of corporate voodoo, but it is good news, all the same. It must have dawned on those corporations that the people who buy their products are the ones kicking up the fuss. I think , if we add daily life changes, not just the electronic and virtual ones, we will have the makings of a quiet revolution.
So what do I mean by daily life changes? Shift your thinking and you will change your behavior. Change your behavior and you will shift your thinking.
Here are some ideas about changes in thinking….and/or behavior..
Stop drinking coca cola, a non-food product that is reported to remove rust. Stop feeding it to your children.
So change your behavior, drink water or mineral water. Add lime or a little fruit juice. If you do that for a couple of months, the next time you have a coke, it will taste way too sweet and not even quench your thirst. I guarantee it.
Don’t eat anything that comes in a box. Buy fresh food and prepare it, including cereal. If you can’t make it or bake it, buy it from a local baker or restaurant. Who knows what is in the food tha comes in a box that never rots or molds or changes as nature intended it. You may find that you feel way better in two months’ time. Your body doesn’t need preservatives.
Even if you have a car, try to live as if you don’t. Now that I have been car free for five years, I have to say the only times I am late for class are when I have borrowed a car, I cut the time short to get there, because I can and then can’t find a place to park. I know how long it takes to walk or take the bus. There are glitches involved in not having a car. Things that are to heavy to carry, days that are too hot to walk far, but if most of us didn’t have cars, we would think up some pretty creative ways to deal with that. Walking is a pleasure, if the bus breaks down, it is not my problem. For the really luxurious days there are taxi cabs. No fuss no muss and a brand new person to talk to. Peace and exercise, what a concept.
Plant some food, somewhere, anywhere, on your roof in an empty lot near your home in your back yard, in a pot on the patio. Remember what a tomato tastes like? Whatever you want to savor…grow it. During the war 40% of the produce consumed in the US came from victory gardens. And you will remember what a miracle it all is. Tasty tomatoes, zucchini the size of a baseball bat and you cannot weigh or measure what is missing from the earth. We have forgotten that dirt and topsoil are very special and we need to be careful with them and we have not been careful with them. Evidence the reported perfectly safe roundup, turns out is not so safe.
So dirt. That brings up another topic. Composting and worms, a magnificent team. Your garbage, your fallen leaves, your grass clippings, pile them up, add some worms and you have good earth, brand new ready to go in a matter of months. No plastic bags needed. Just a big pile.
The really cool thing is that as the 99%, if we make a change, it is a big change;
99% of us walking or cycling to work, 99% of us growing half our own food, 99% of us not drinking coca cola. Imagine it, it is magnificent and sweeping and within our power.....