I just finished The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight: Revised and Updated: The Fate of the World and What We Can Do Before It’s Too Late, which details how we are running off of “startup capital” in a resource-draining, non-integrated way. The beginning echoed many environmental books – a depressing litany of all of the ways we are living unsustainably. When I read that sort of thing I get to feeling hopeless, like there’s little I can do that will affect, say, the fact that we may drive chimps, bonobos, and gorillas extinct in the next 100 years (a factoid in a recent New Yorker article), will run out of oil, are destroying forests, losing soil to the oceans, and are causing certain fish populations to collapse. It makes me want to hide in a cave and renounce everything. It makes me want to give up. It makes me feel like the problem is so much larger than my own actions that there is no hope.
It is refreshing that Thom Hartmann’s calls-to-action for recovery are small and affirming and possible instead of grand:
- live intentionally according to your own values, this has immense power and affects others, a positive ripple effect, a dampening of other influences,
- notice the stories we create and accept about the way the world works and work to get outside them,
- turn off the tv and talk to your neighbors, your spouse, your family, listen to the wind and see other living things as part of the larger system,
- involve yourself in your local community.
He doesn’t list them like this. But I think the main theme of his book is: get connected with yourself (meditate), with others, and with the larger system we all inhabit.
For my part I’m passing this book onto a few like-minded friends and continuing with some things I’m already doing (meditation, subscribing to a local CSA), and I’ll be looking for other little changes to make to align myself with these ideas and work for positive change.