Janet, your essay provokes thought and moves towards defining the kind of action which this future seems to require. Nonetheless, when you say that we must become the piece in the puzzle to support and sustain what is life revering, I am not sure that all that is required is to offer alternative views in a respectful manner. That is one kind of action, yes, and an important one, especially in the face of the kind of power and privilege that does everything it can to shout down other voices. And I, as well as you, should and will continue to take that kind of action wherever and whenever we can.
However, I think there is another kind of action that is equally important, if not more so, now. I would like us all to think about and do this kind of action – the kind of action that acts out our values, not just talks about them. For some of us, for example, that might be civil disobedience of the kind where we sit down in front of the bulldozers clearing the way for oil pipelines. For others, it might be the growing of food, the conserving of water, the development of survival strategies for our tribe, however we might construe that term. In particular, I am seeing local organization of small groups around emergency preparedness in neighborhoods as critical to resilience in the conditions I now fear rapid climate change will bring down on us. And I think we have to pay attention centrally to the kinds of communication and organizational skills that will permit these groups both to emerge and to flourish. Developing and using such skills is not just enactment of our values, it will be critical to our survival.
So for me at this point, I am more concerned with these practical actions, enactments of my values if you will, and less with attempting to change minds, particularly the minds of those who have a huge investment in certain kinds of behavior. An investment that is literal as well as figurative.
We don’t have a lot of time left, and I want to use my “community time” as effectively as I can. Yes, to support those who will do civil disobedience, but more particularly to take action with others in my neighborhood to try to ensure we care for each other as well as possible when things get really difficult – which it seems, they surely will.
May Partridge - Sociologist, Creative Non-Fiction writer and Poet.