Preface. Professor Nate Hagens is teaching a class at the University of Minnesota about the state of the world that may be expanded to all incoming freshmen. Many despair when they learn about limits to growth and finite fossil fuels. So Rex Weyler came up with a list of “what to do actions” they could take. It’s one of the best lists I’ve seen.
Alice Friedemann www.energyskeptic.com author of “When Trucks Stop Running: Energy and the Future of Transportation”, 2015, Springer and “Crunch! Whole Grain Artisan Chips and Crackers”. Podcasts: KunstlerCast 253, KunstlerCast278, Peak Prosperity]
I. Linear vs. Complex: “What do I do?” generally seeks a linear answer to a complex living system polylemma. “What do I do?” wants a “solution” for a “problem.” This is linear, mechanistic, engineering thinking at its worst, the type of thinking that contributes to our challenge, but we’re stuck with it in popular culture, so yes, we need an answer. This first part of the answer (changing complex systems is NOT going to be a linear and mechanistic “solution”) is probably too confusing for most people, so could be skipped over. However, your students should be aware of this.
II. There is lots to do, which your students should be taught.
1. Find ways to help reduce human population
- with women’s rights
- start a campaign to achieve universally available contraception
2. Find ways to help reduce consumption
- start a campaign to reduce frivolous travel, entertainment, fashions, etc. purchased by the rich
- do this with heavy tax incentives
3. reduce meat consumption .. tax and popularization
4. limit corporate power in politics
5. publicly fund universities, all education, to limit corporate corruption of education
6. localize food production, home gardens, community gardens
7. popularize modest lifestyles in wealthy countries
8. support and preserve modest lifestyles among indigenous and farmer communities
9. Learn how complex living systems actually work
10. Spend as much time in wild nature as possible, pay attention, observe, take notes, think about it
11. Plant a garden and pay attention to what it takes to help useful, nutritious plants grow
12. Open a clinic and begin to research localized, small-scale health care
13. Educate yourself about wild nature, evolution, and complexity:
- read Gregory Bateson, Howard Odum, Gail Tverberg ..
- Read “The Collapse of Complex Societies by Joseph Tainter
- Read Arne Naess, Chellis Glendinning, David Abram, and Paul Shepard
- Read “Small Arcs of Larger Circles” by Nora Bateson
14. Think about what it means to stop looking for a Silver Bullet Tech “Solution” — linear, engineered, mechanistic, profitable, BAU, socially popular “solution” — and start thinking about where and how change actually occurs in a complex living system.
15. Learn about the errors of modern, neo-liberal economics, and learn about other ways to approach economics. Read: N. Georgescu-Roegen, Frederick Soddy, Gail again, Herman Daly, Donella Meadows, Mark Anielski.
16. Start a Campaign to create and institute a new economic system in your community, your state, your county, your nation, your company, your family.
17. Find a spiritual practice that helps you calm down and see the world with more compassion and patience, and that helps you appreciate the more-than-human world.
- Start a company that uses local resources and local skills to create useful locally consumed tools
- Start that local, community health clinic
- Lobby your government to create community gardens
- Study and create energy systems that can be built, operated, and maintained locally
- Campaign to consume only locally produced products.
19. Start an economic De-Growth group, Décroissance
20. Start a school for the homeless and disenfranchised, and teach localized, useful skills, gardening.
21. Take in a homeless foster child; give them some love and security
22. Read Vaclav Smil, Bill Rees, and Charles Hall
24. Start a psychology practice and begin to learn and support community therapy; build community cohesion
25. Read Wendell Berry: “Solving for Pattern” and “Gift of Good Land.”
26. Start a campaign for all shoppers to reduce consumption, and leave ALL PACKAGING at the stores.
27. Start a free store in your community, help recycle, repair, and circulate everything
28. Are you a lawyer, or do you want to be? Start a practice to defend Ecology activists, and start class action lawsuits against corporations that pollute.
29. Read Rachel Carson, Basho, Li Po, William Blake, Mary Oliver, Denise Levertov, Gary Snyder, Susan Griffin, Nanao Sakaki, Diane di Prima, Walt Whitman. Go to art galleries. Contemplate the connection between creative artistic expression and change in a complex system.
30. See if you can fall in love with something that’s not human. See if you can fall in love with wild nature.
Several people participated in this discussion, a professor added “if they really want to move things along, they must become politically engaged at every level–ask the embarrassing questions at all-candidates meetings, write your representatives, push for policies that will make a difference and protest official idiocy wherever it occurs. And if this fails, civil disobedience will not be far behind.”