Check your math

Some Calculations Regarding Reducing Carbon

Check this out. I always visualize our current socio-ecological crises as a crowd of people stuffed into an old-model Plymouth or some old boat of a car barelling full speed ahead toward the edge of a cliff.  There’s no way we can reasonably decide to put the brakes on in my scenario (and I tend to be an optimist). We’ll either make a U-turn or we’ll go over. How far we’ll fall and who will survive, I can’t say.  That’s just how I see it.  Eddie the Vagabond has done some calculations about slow and easy change.  Inconvenient Truth change. I’m not dissing Inconvenient Truth here – I think it did some of what it set out to do – I’ve seen some people open their eyes a bit. In the years since the film came out, though, truly how much has changed? A little, maybe.

I’ve always thought we could  begin a process of moving toward more sustainable choices through incremental change.  The Vagabond has indicated that Inconvenient Truth’s increments may be a wee bit too small. Or maybe it’s too little too late.  People may say that any move in this direction is a good move. It probably is. Does that mean that those of us who know we’re in that old Plymouth must do more to avoid going over the cliff? Is it feasible to think that a U-turn can be made by hanging tough, strengthening what works, sinking our roots deeply into the soil of resilient, sustainable lifestyles?

I live in a marginal climate. A year takes me on a cylce from frozen, icy, tundra-like terrain through floods, through snowfall, through hot, incredibly dry summers where 110 degree days leave you unwilling to do much but hibernate daily and become nocturnal.  Things could get very, very strange in a world of accelerating climate change.

I’ve been reading David Orr’s Down to the Wire: Confronting Climate Collapse.  It’s a good book. He doesn’t hold back. While he tends to be a cautious optimist like I am, he shows scenarios from markedly less optimistic folks. Thomas Beryy saying our kids and grandkids will live in a world “amid the ruined infrastructures of the industrial world and amid the ruins of the natural world itself.” Or even more bleak  James Lovelock descibes a climate “that could easily be described as Hell.” If we pull all the stops out now, we won’t see change for at least 50 years (Orr says 100 and he may very well be correct).

We need a revolution. Maybe it would be better to say we need a transformation in our ways of thinking. Some people (Paul Hawkin) think the transformation is already happening. He details this in Blessed Unrest. Maybe he’s right. Maybe transformation is afoot and we just have to maintain, stay mindful, stay patient, and let our roots sink down. Help each other. Keep teaching and learning.

We’re each just one person. Together, we’re more than the sum of us all.

Well, that’s all for now. I don’t have the answers. Together, though, maybe we can walk the pathway into some solutions.  At any rate, go read the Vagabond’s post. Think about where you are at and what you might do.

I have something cool to write about the Rainshadow Farm Collaborative Group’s work. I’ll post soon.


About rainshadowfarm

West Virginia hillbilly girl grown up. Grew up in northern Ohio. Farmer from birth. Working class academic. Practical agroecologist. Community educator. Single parent of eight. I also teach anthropology at a community college. I like this work and think it's worth doing and doing well. California community college students are some of the most incredible students I have ever known.
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