holistic management

A Message of Activism

“If we don’t change our direction, we’re going to wind up where we’re headed”

-Native American Saying

I had the extreme pleasure of attending a lecture given by Starhawk last week.  I decided that her message was too important to keep to myself, so here are the salient points that I came away with…

The decisions we make in the next ten years will determine the future of the human species and the earth.  Culture forgets that our resources are sacred.  We need to start caring about Earth’s resources more than our own comfort.  We need to care enough to refuse watching it be defiled.  We need to care enough that we will make sacrifices in order to maintain clean water.

It is a problem when power is in the hands of few people.  Centralized power likes centralized power.  Why does centralized power require enforcement?  Because in its very nature, it’s calling for rebellion.  We can’t ‘solve’ climate change because of the vested interest in oil.  The Tar Sands raise a deep moral question.  How do we take care of the earth?  A million Litres of water a polluted EVERY DAY in the extraction of oil from Tar Sands, 95% of which cannot be treated.  The first are showing signs of tumors and cancer.  What we need is a shift in consciousness, spirit and values in order to make change.  We need interdependence and cooperation.

“What would it be like if we replaced scarcity thinking with the goal of creating as much real abundance as possible?”

-Courney White, Grass, Soil, Hope

Abundance means sharing and everyone having enough.  Abundance is found through generosity.  We need to create safe, renewable power within ourselves to regenerate the land.  We need to rehydrate the earth – water brings life.  Slow it, spread it, sink it.  Drought represents many levels of difficult relationships.  Put humus (carbon) back in the soil to regain humility.  Heal the soil by using compost, compost tea, sheet mulching, worms, bio-char, fungi/mycellium, growing intentionally selected plants and working for survival.  Look to holistic management practices for grazing animals according to patterns of wild herds to regenerate soil quickly by restoring carbon.

We don’t need outer solutions, what we need to do is work in harmony.  Here she cited the example of a company looking to invent a device to take carbon dioxide out of the air, balking at this unnecessary business venture, since nature and plants have the best possible systems to serve this need, ones we couldn’t dream of replicating, let alone improve on.  What we need to do is stop taking resources out of our planet in order to preserve the pristine while doing all we can to put carbon back into the soil.  We are responsible for giving back, not just taking.

We need to be considering the destruction of our environment as a moral issue.  Then value moral issues above economic issues.  We need to take care of each other.  Our money should be going to support the elderly, educating the young and taking care of the sick.  Wealth distribution is not stable or sustainable.  Localize and regenerate the cities by growing food near them.  How many times the dollar changes hands before it leaves the community is the determining factor for how much buying local is actually supporting the local economy.  Shopping at your local chain store serves no inherit benefit.  We need to shift our view away from large systems.  The message isn’t less, it’s conservation. Save energy.

Let’s look at how to improve the quality of our lives so we require less quantity.  Transition towns.  Community gardens.  Community on every level is the antidote to climate change.  We need to organize in order to create change.  Lobby.  Campaign.  Use media.  Build coalitions.  Resist and protest.  Say no to policy, not to the people behind it.  It is for a noble cause that we separate the people from the choices they make.  Build leverage, but out of love rather than hatred.  Build our future for the land, nature, and our children.  We need to do all of this yesterday – but since we can’t, we need to do it today!

Stages of an activist campaign: research, educate (children and officials), negotiate (policies and legislation), mobilize, direct action, and transformation!  She left us to ponder the question,”What are you producing that feeds the land?”


Airing the Closet

Last week was pretty crazy.  Between the flu running its course and attempting to return to regular routines, I wasn’t sure how I had managed life before the holidays.   The reality is that what last week was, was not my life at all, it was some sort of purgatory.  I feel like we’re back now.  Our band is again playing together…for the most part.  But to keep it in perspective, I feel that a few sour notes every once in a while help you to recognize beautiful music when you hear it!

I was recently mulling over how last week turned into this week.  Clearly, the hours ticked by, but what made the difference?  Why are we all of a sudden able to fall into rhythm with each other?  I always tell my children that the only person they have control over is themselves.  I took a lesson from my own advice, and I have decided (perhaps narcissistically) that the change all began with me.  I feel strongly that my mood anchors our home.  Last week, I was emotionally uncentered, which seemed to cause a distinct wobble in the spinning of our days.  I was defiantly reactive rather than responsive.  I felt the clench of old habits return, feeling overwhelmed and not knowing how to turn things around.  After some thought what ended up helping me to break free from my cycle of self-defeat was seemingly unrelated.  But systems thinking prevails, and I recognize that it was not an isolated event at all.  I spent a day cleaning my closet.

It seems like that task should have had little effect on my overall well-being, but the effects were in fact quite the opposite.  Apart from having some time to get to a project I’ve been wanting to start for a while now, the process of clearing out my darkest space was not just physical.  I got rid of many clothes that no longer fit since the arrival of my third baby and cleared out many clothes I have worn in the past that now hold only outdated purposes.  With each piece discarded, I felt a bit more free.  I believe the stories that accompanied the clothing were bagged up and sent to the basement along with them.  Looking at those items in my closet that no longer fit who I am, or my purpose in life was weighing me down in ways I couldn’t have imagined.

I used the following guiding questions I used in my culling process.  If the answer was no, the item was bagged:

1. Do I like it (fabric, colour, style)?

2. Does it fit well?

3. Is it comfortable?

4. Do I want to wear it?  (if I’ve pulled it out of the closet and put it back, that’s a clear sign I don’t!)

5. Have I worn it in the past year?

A big part of letting items go was recognizing that mistakes happen.  Time to let it all go.  I tried not to feel guilt for things which are now done.  What I can do is accept this feedback and self-regulate for the future.  I can also spend time observing and interacting with my current wardrobe.

I consider my journey to be one of holistic management.  As such, I feel I am far from finishing my closet overhaul.  I have been reading and talking to friends about the 333 project, and aim to create a minimalist wardrobe of mix and match pieces.  My approach will be a bit different than what’s offered on the websites I’ve read, since I am committed to buying used, and see the overabundance of clothing that I already own.  I am considering the building of my ‘capsule wardrobe’ phase two of the process.  For the time being, clearing my closet of what no longer fits me has left me feeling renewed.  The process so far has been like opening the windows for the first time in spring.  I have begun to air out my closets.