Monday, February 21, 2011

Small actions amid chaos

Riots and toppling governments in the Middle East, states taking drastic measures to balance their budgets, oil and food prices rising. The implications of all this turmoil are enough to make me start breathing into a paper sack. I can't affect what happens in Libya or Wisconsin, but I can take action where I am, not only on my (semi-) urban homestead but also in my neighborhood and city.

Our neighborhood is beginning to organize, starting with small, simple actions like setting up a Facebook page, organizing a LitterBlitz, having regular meetings and newsletters with helpful information (weatherizing programs, useful resources, encouraging community action), and applying for trees for a tree-planting. We also hope to set up a neighborhood patrol. Eventually I hope that these baby steps with will result in greater community cohesion and trust that can be leveraged to build resilience.

Transition OKC continues to work toward supporting and expanding our local food capacity - the ability to feed ourselves. We have been facilitating meetings of a group of local food advocates for the past six months to help strengthen the existing network of local farmers and food entrepreneurs. Our TOKC team is also planning to host a Permaculture Design Course in the fall. I have wanted to take a full permaculture course for many years and I'm excited to finally have the opportunity.

On a smaller scale, a group of twelve of our friends is working to develop our own small gift economy. We have banded together to help each other become more sustainable and resilient through this extended recession, with more trouble on the horizon. We plan to support each other with growing, preserving and storing food, improving our homes, helping each other build our small businesses, and sharing and gifting items among ourselves. It's comforting to have this group to depend on during uncertain times.

Could chaos in petro-states lead to oil shocks, rapidly rising prices, economic shutdown, oil rationing? Could states slash budgets to the bone rather than raising taxes on wealthy corporations and individuals - condemning millions to homelessness, hunger and even worse? These are distinct possibilities, possibilities that we can deny, avoid, become angry or anxious and depressed, or do something about.

Although the scale and scope of changes that are coming are probably beyond our imaginations, even small actions can help ourselves, our families and communities deal with the future. We may never be 100% prepared, but any preparation is better than none. Any food storage, gardening practice, practical skill learning, any cash savings, is better than none. Any community building is better than none. You don't have to have a perfect plan or the perfect urban homestead or the perfect group to get started. Just get started - or take your plans to the next level. Today.

2 comments:

goldtracker said...

It really is amazing. I was surprised to see that China is cracking down on descendent's planning a pro-democracy rally. It's stuff like this that have sent oil ripping. Just looking at ExactPrice blew me away today when I loaded it up and saw silver and gold taking off too, even though the US markets were closed. It'll be real interesting to see what happens tomorrow when they open.

I know my family and I have been trying to keep extra food on hand like you mention. That becomes all the more real a need to me as I see some of the unrest starting in places like Wisconsin.

Definitely interesting times we are in.

Chuck Allen said...

All good points, Hausfrau! I am no alarmist but have been inching towards simplicity and self-reliance for many years. I see the same signs and symptoms that you do and I honestly believe that way too many people stick their head in the sand and refuse to look at the big picture. Community is indeed the answer.