The Trump Administration appears on the horizon, and Real fear for the present and future sets in. Suddenly, the wolf emerges from under its sheepskin. Nothing could be clearer, the steps we take in these moments will echo into time immemorial. Never has a population lived at such an important impasse between matters of culture, economy, government, race, and environment. How rapidly humans are impacting the environment has far out-stripped the environment’s ability to support us, let alone the rest of the ecosystem and its countless other inhabitants – and then there’s this. Media lied to us. Politicians lied to us. Polls lied to us. They made us forget what it was like to live with a Wolf when we had our cool, suave, friendly POTUS who actually signed deals for Wall Street, lied to the Sioux about how important their sovereignty was, and sent flying killer robots to kill poor brown kids in their beds. We forgot those “unattractive” things because we wanted to believe in the idea that our problems could be fixed with a magic wand. Well, it can’t. Sorry, we have to do it ourselves.
Images coming from the front-lines of the Standing Rock occupation in South Dakota today are disturbing at best, except for that bit when the herd of Buffalo (the work of species rehabilitation in recent years) showed up seemingly in solidarity with the protesters. The Internet is on fire about this, has been for weeks, and only now are mainstream media outlets that were ignoring it for weeks, confident that the blase cover story and re-routing issued by Obama weeks before would hold up and that the Internet phenomenon would die down.
Now major networks and newspapers are touching it finally, but of course choosing to focus on the violent struggles, burning tires, “illegal” road blockades and other noise around the fiasco. Typical. But even though everybody and their sister seem to be talking about this on the Online circles we are already in touch with, there is a deeper systemic issue we’re not talking about. The elephant in the room here is the silence of the masses, and of the candidates, and – until the last 24-72 hours – of the media.
Sustainable and environment-related causes have gotten a lot of attention lately, and for good reason. Some see this as a fad or a craze, as if it were some “health swing” that happens every decade. The real reason this is becoming more popular is that the environment (which we as a species still occupy) is in need of relief, shall we say, from the pressures humankind is putting on it. Nonetheless, our civilization, which has carried on in its mad drive for material profit at an accelerated growth since the Industrial “Revolution”, seems to be at odds with the very place we call home, and, ironically, represents the reserve of natural resources with which Industry must make business happen. Not all businesses or people think this way, and it’s not necessary to link making a buck with this rapacious speed with which we’re eating up reserves and polluting what’s left. There’s a lot of talk about the Triple Bottom Line which amounts to People, Planet, and Profit. I’d like to point out the need to switch thinking, even though it’s nice alliteration, to think of it more as People – Planet – Financial with Profit (actual) being the meeting of these three concepts. In my opinion, actual profit is not achieved until your business creates gains in all three.
If we are going to re-define profit altogether, we need new profit modeling software that allows businesses, individuals and organizations to track, record, and publish their efforts results in real time.
There’s a lot of talk out there about renewable energy, living off-grid, tiny homes, passive solar, underground greenhouses, and other ways of fixing more of our resources closer to the homestead. If there was a way to do much of this, using very simple even throw-away or recycled materials, we’d hear about it right? Well, if you’ve heard about EarthShips, you’re lucky. If you haven’t yet, you’re in luck. Talk about the sustainability rubber meeting the road, it couldn’t get more perfect. Of course they’re hard to code, zone, and establish – because they fly in the face of all the dominant trends in building that have been written and dominated by a Dupont-dominated building industry and reinforced by a culture that will demean you for wanting to “live in a hole” because they just don’t understand yet that natural or Earth-based building is the wave of a future that we can actually afford to turn the lights on in. But don’t take my word for it, take a look at some of these videos from Taos, NM (Earthship capital of the Earth right now) and other places where people are innovating these unique structures. Also please keep in mind, that even if zoning or coding will not allow you to build one of these to live in primarily on your land, you can still construct an outlying “shop” or “greenhouse” that use these techniques, and even pipe the warm air it creates into a “proper” house – just to make the system happy. As innovations like this become more popular, hopefully culture will shift toward adopting concepts like this – building renewable sustainable homes with recycled materials – and move away from the toxic stick-houses that are hurting the Earth and easy to destroy by climate-assisted super-storms.
Most of us would agree that cities are a huge source of pollution. Generally, most of the junk in the air, waters, and land comes from urban areas, where the greatest concentrations of humans are gathered. This leads some to believe that the best way to “get sustainable” is to move to the country, where things aren’t so crowded and the potential and space exists to do projects that nurture the Earth and grow food. In reality, if there was a mass exodus of people from the cities currently, the countryside would be destroyed by urban sprawl in no time. This process of people leaving the gray city slate for the forested green of the country could explain how urban sprawl actually occurs. Rather than entertain potentially destructive notions in the hope of making a dent in the problem, turn the problem to its source for solutions. Cities are hubs of communication, the home to millions who want to see green where they live; they don’t want to have to leave to have their cake and eat it too. They want to green their cities, and why shouldn’t they? Introducing the movement to improve the ecology in the most ecologically destitute places on Earth, turning some of the world’s biggest cities into resplendent emerald attractions that bring even more residents, commerce, and tourists.
Many of us would accept it as an axiom that we are all interconnected. Now for some reason this isn’t readily apparent to just everyone yet, possibly because it isn’t always obvious. It takes some viewing through a layer or two of perspective, but ultimately we are connected infinitely in innumerable ways. From the second we emerge into the world, we are utterly dependent upon other humans, our forebears and others, for survival. Without that help, and the help of others throughout life, we would literally die. Throughout life it’s not so clear-cut as it is for an infant, but without the interaction with others we would be lost. The “lone wolf” idea, where it comes to humans, is not applicable – for that matter, neither is it for wolves. We sometimes get overwhelmed with toxic human relationships that no longer serve our growth, and without the maturity of sight that comes with experience it’s easy enough to project all of humanity onto the relationships we’ve had so far. Ideally, we should move forward in a generally upward direction, improving ourselves and our relationships with time. Unfortunately, often enough, this isn’t what happens in experience – many of us tend to project our hopes, dreams, fears and demons onto others and get angry when other individuals don’t accept our ideas of fairness. Either way, we are teaching each other and learning from each other at all times, for better or for worse. It’s a two-way street, to be fair: the individual usually ahead in age is in the position to offer help, in exchange for the ability to teach. The individual in a position of learning and needing material help has the opportunity to learn, teach, and provide service. In turn, everybody helps each other in a teach-learn-serve triangle of relationship.
A cannabis user doesn’t necessarily have to be the one writing this. This is an appeal for the legitimate use of cannabis as a personal spiritual sacrament to connect to the living world. It’s for those among us who use cannabis as a way to connect to a deeper reality that this world doesn’t always connect to. There are various uses for every thing under the sun, and the focus of something tends to be its dominant use – and thus, the focus on the use of cannabis as either a way to have fun, relax, or heal. There is less focus on the use that the place of its origin recognizes, as “all of the above” but very importantly a way to transcend the material world and connect to a deeper spirituality. This is a very Indian (we’re talking Hindu, not Native American) way of thinking and for various reasons has deep discord with the dominant thinking of the West which is very materialist. I’m trying not to make this sound too cliche because obviously this is the subject of countless riffs on this divide, but the important part is this – one recognizes that there is a greater mass to creation than what meets the eye, and looks for it – the other is consumed by the reality of “what is” and what we’re able to objectively demonstrate in a laboratory or on a balance sheet. Thus, the deep divide over cannabis. The actual history of the world shows that several ancient cultures, many of whom are still around, have used this herb for thousands of years. (Not that it matters to those already convinced it makes you “dumb” or “unmotivated”, recently they also found it in William Shakespeare’s tobacco pipe..) One of these cultures is alive and well, a cradle of civilization whose written works are some of the oldest known and many of whose modern members are word-renowned for their scientific, medical and spiritual knowledge.
Don’t ask yourself “should cannabis be legalized” for this or that purpose, ask yourself “why is it illegal in the first place?” Honestly, is it because it’s “dangerous”, “addictive”, and leads to the decay of brain cells and motivation – according to the same FDA that regards wholesome breakfast cereal like Frosted Flakesas more “nutritional” than an avocado? Is it because it causes social conditions like depression, mania, schizophrenia, or any number of other labels the pharmaceutical industrial complex has come up with to describe humans reacting to the craziness of the world? Is it the cause of so much social decay and economic depravity as observed in places like the third world – or, our domestic version, the inner city?
Over the weekend, we had the treat of going to a unique gathering in the activity room at the local Port Angeles library. Sarah Tucker has been working with marine debris and other forms of recyclables to create beautiful art pieces that have been recognized for making apparent the plight of sea creatures and other animals in places we ritually contaminate with our garbage. As 99% of the plastic we were trying to find recently is missing, possibly dissolved to micro-plastic, the current home of much of it may be the top predator in the ocean – at this point, humans. There is an emerging trend seeking to reclaim this apparent “garbage” as essential materials to artwork – and to proving a point about out excess.
The current economic system is completely unhealthy for human beings and the rest of life on Earth – spiritually, physically, and practically. Humans are not living up to their fullest humanity, and the environment is being destroyed, and we know it. But what is the problem with the existing system – we can’t ditch it “just like that” and we can’t fight it – we have to figure out what’s wrong, why it’s wrong, and what to do about it to make things better for all humans living on this planet. To do that, we must use our minds to hack culture, to get to the bottom of why we have designed this system over the years to secure our future resources and have come full-circle to a world that is utterly insecure with dwindling resources. How did we go wrong, what are the logical fallacies in the original argument of the social contract we supposedly entered into at birth and how do we reverse them by design?