Posted by: scintillatingspeck | May 16, 2008

Moral imperative: get into crash position

It would be wrong of me not to post immediately about a subject that occupies a great deal of my focus and concern: the Great Turning.  Unless you have been living in an underground bunker for the past few years with no exposure to the outside world, you cannot have failed to notice at least a few of the following things: world oil production is peaking and starting its downward slope while demand is rising.  Climate change is happening, more quickly and furiously than almost anyone anticipated.  Humans have way overshot the carrying capacity of the planet.  We have entered the age of consequences.

I am not going to repeat all the whys and hows here, but I encourage you to check out a few sites if you haven’t already.  If you only check one, I suggest you go straight to Energy Bulletin, which can give you a good overview of current news and commentary on these topics.  EB focuses primarily on peak oil but also considers climate change and related, intersecting issues.  If you have precious little time and just want to scan some headlines and get a flavor, EB’s your site (you can always click through to original articles in full if you have the time/inclination).

Another good site is The Oil Drum.  There is plenty of good technical analysis here.  My personal favorite contributor is Gail the Actuary, who has a knack for synthesizing complex information and presenting it in terms that average people can understand.

Also, run, don’t walk, to read some of the best commentary out there on Sharon Astyk’s blog, Casaubon’s Book: “ruminations on an ambiguous future.”  Sharon is nothing short of brilliant and morally fearless.  Not only does she examine the issues in detail and critique the culture that has led to our global predicament, she offers pragmatic suggestions on how to prepare for hard times (for example, step-by-step guidelines on food storage).

Have you heard of relocalization and/or the Transition Towns movement?  Well worth checking out.  These are ways to channel despair and overwhelm into constructive action.

If you are horrified by current events and find yourself struggling with denial, anxiety, feelings that you are going crazy, I can recommend a number of resources, including the work of Joanna Macy, the Peak Oil Blues blog, and the amazing film What a Way to Go: Life at the End of Empire as excellent starting points.

Okay, clearly my librarian hat is firmly on as I begin this post by pointing you to knowledge resources.  But I do want to discuss why it is so important to me to write about this.

I consider it a moral imperative to make sure people are informed about what’s happening and provided with tools to cope and respond.  In the past few years, I have been sounding the alarm with mixed and sometimes devastating results.  Let me tell you, it is not a fun task to be the bearer of spectacularly bad news.  And honestly, I understand very well why people have responded with denial or by ridiculing or humiliating me.  I don’t know the best way to share the information that I have, and I’m sure that I have not presented it as skillfully as possible.  Nevertheless, share it I must, if I have any sense of obligation to the earth community.  The thing is, I am not the only bearer of bad news, and even when some of the information is new to a given person, the overall message is not new.  The consciousness is there.  We know, even when we don’t allow ourselves to think about it, that something is gravely wrong, that something is rotten in Denmark, that we need to be living our lives differently.

Why do I see this as a moral imperative?  Because if I want to live my life with integrity, and I do, I cannot watch everyone and everything I love sitting blissfully unaware in the path of an out-of-control Mack truck.  I have trusted my ability to think critically and evaluate information.  I have been examining the issues on a daily basis for years.  I have looked at this from all angles, all opinions.  And I have concluded that there is a high probability that we are going to experience hard times, the likes of which most of us have never witnessed before.  Some people are already in the middle of the hard times.  Some are already gone.  And certainly other species have been experiencing hard times worldwide for quite a long time now.

A few times I have been accused of living a joyless existence because I choose to think about these things.  Aside from being hurtful and unhelpful, it isn’t true.  I am more open to joy every day, and there is quite a lot of it in my life.  Part of the moral imperative that I hear calling from deep within is the necessity for openness to joy.  Not every moment is joyful, but that’s okay.  I am determined to honor the full range of my emotions.  Joy is a teacher.  Despair is a teacher.  I am here to observe and experience and learn.

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