A Design for Life


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Courtesy: Marc Roberts

If I wasn’t so used to such oxymoronic statements, I’d have already fallen off my chair after reading the below quote — in either hysterical laughter, or hysterical despair.

I am pleased to stand before you this morning and confirm that Europe is closer to resolving its financial and economic crisis and to getting back on a path of growth,” Mr Barroso said. — BBC

How can you resolve a financial crisis whilst getting straight back onto the path that put you there in the first place? It sounds like flogging a dead horse to me…. Dozens and dozens of cities are facing the frustrated occupy movement (see here and here), and yet despite the domino effect of growing unrest, the current president of the stuck-together-with-duct-tape European Union can’t see that the "path to growth" is and always will be a highway to hell.

Despite the rhetoric, I’m wondering if the powers that be aren’t finally getting nervous? But, the bigger question that should be on the hearts and minds of everyone is: can the occupy movement find its way to embracing viable, holistic solutions and then determine to collaborate peacefully and stoically on the difficult, transitional work of seeing these solutions through to tangible reality?

A century of rampant consumption has kept many of us too placid/entertained/ignorant and/or too busy producing to notice that greed — the greed which comes part and parcel with the aforesaid rampant consumption — has taken most of what we thought we had, by stealth, whilst undermining every extractable, burnable, sellable, and ultimately edible resource ever known to man.

But those days, of being placid, at least, seem to be dissipating faster than our 401k plans. People are used to plenty, but now’s there’s little left for all but a minority elite, it seems. The rising tide is not lifting all boats, but is overwhelming all but the very few vessels that weren’t sneakily chained to the ocean floor, and all that’s trickled down is pollution and dysfunctional societies made up of dysfunctional families based in ecosystems they’re so detached from they haven’t even noticed are dysfunctional also.

At the beginning of the year I wrote that the word ‘revolution’ would increase in popularity. Looking back over 2011, I think I can safely check that off my list. What remains to be seen is where these little revolutions will take us. Amongst my New Year predictions was also:

Scattered communities will be seen to develop along one or another line — towards more centralisation of resources and power and increased oppression of the ‘revolting peasants’, or, with good leadership and community involvement, towards cooperation, driven by a consensus desire to build a protective buffer against the future. Glancing at the Crystal Ball – What Do You See?

People are waking up. Some are just angry, but many are being thoughtful and constructive. I’m left pondering at what point transition will pick up the ball dropped by collapse, and move us forward? I’m left wondering how much suffering we can spare and how many resources we can preserve by getting on the real path, pronto…. I’m left wondering when we’ll hit the tipping point in productive collaboration?

My and the PRI’s contribution is, amongst other things, the Worldwide Permaculture Network. I see it is already enabling a lot of people with excellent ideals to find, encourage and support each other. I guess that’s one bright spot in an ocean of despair?