04 February 2010

Screaming for change

I recently read a comment on the movie What a Way to Go: Life at the End of Empire, which I watched a while back:
It's possibly the most depressingly, bleakly realistic movie I've ever seen regarding coming environmental collapse, touching on everything from peak oil to societal norms that are keeping us from doing anything meaningful "outside the box" ... One thing that I can recommend for it on a positive note is that it gives one 'permission' to step outside and try something else ... in fact it positively SCREAMS for such changes.
I wholeheartedly agree with that comment and I think it could fairly be applied to at least a dozen books and movies I've consumed over the past few years. So why the heck am I only playing around at the fringes of real change? I feel real grief at the loss of wild spaces and species, anger at the political machinery that serves corporate interests in this destruction, utter frustration over a system that normalizes the rampant demolition of soil, water, air and climate for short term interests, and sorrow for future generations who will suffer as a result of our greed. Yet I haven't blown up any dams, reduced my own consumption to a sustainable level, or raised money for any important cause, and I use toilet paper. Here's what I tell myself about why:
  1. My family wouldn't stand for any lifestyle activism. They are addicted to hot showers, a warm house, car travel, and toothpaste.
  2. Lifestyle activism doesn't change anything anyway.
  3. The system is rigged.
  4. I don't know what to do.
  5. I like my high-consumption lifestyle; it's comfortable and I would be lost without the internet.
  6. I never go through drive-throughs, what more do you want?
  7. There are lots of people saying that things have to change and it seems like no one is listening to them, so what's the point?
  8. It would be irresponsible of me to abandon the money economy if by doing so I would jeopardize my retirement savings.
I could go on, but you get the idea.


  1. Wow, this is bang on. I am Jane lying in that picture. I want things to change right now AND also never. It is a very, very uncomfortable place to be. So I do a little and try and tell myself it's a lot. I think this is what it is like at the very top of a roller coaster, where you are perched there at the peak for just a moment, with that sick feeling in your stomach but not yet in free fall with your hands in the air.

  2. At least you know you're on a roller coaster. The powers-that-be would have you believe you're on a merry-go-round.




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