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Too Busy Paying the Bills?

By Carl Munson

Are you one of those folks who's too busy making ends meet to do anything truly effective about our collective plight? If you are, and whilst I honestly sympathise with your condition, I feel bound to alert you to the error of your way. Sure it's noble and right within our current 'my own little world' mindset, but I'm not sure your children and grandchildren will thank you for it in the long run.

If the majority of us are subscribed to hell on a handcart living, where we quietly hope things will get better - you know, the creation of a fair and sustainable society and planet - how do we logically stand a chance of it ever happening? You've surely heard that definition of insanity atributed to Einstein and Benjamin Franklin - "doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results"?

Cleary, we don't stand a chance if good people - those who are bright enough to see that five planets into one won't go - do little more than change their brand of coffee and recycle the odd tin.

I recognise that denial and despair are the almost inevitable two-step that confront anyone who sees what I'm saying, not as a guilt-trip, but as a heads up (ostrich joke). Faced by the dynamic duo of climate change and peak oil, who wouldn't want to run and hide, or at least turn and walk in the opposite direction as if nothing is wrong?

But believe me, there is a positive and resourceful space beyond denial and despair and my guess is that the forty days and nights that earlier eco-pioneers have suffered, will be eased as more of us wake up and smell the true impact of coffee, rather than just switching brands at the retail equivalent of assisted suicide - the supermarket. It'll get easier as more break ranks from the 40-year industrialised plan of keeping one's head above water in the hope of a happy retirement (you can forget that anyway - the pension funds are empty).

It seems that we are like sea creatures that close in a flash when troubled by the consequences of how we're living. Peak oil is a great example. David Korten says: "Without oil, much of the capital infrastructure underlying modern life becomes an unusable asset, including the infrastructure of suburbia, the global trading system and the industrial food production, processing and distribution system." (More...)

That's enough to close your mind isn't it? And if you were to embrace the message, by auditing your current oil dependency, wouldn't that make you so scared, that you'd quickly return to business-as-usual, and hope that the government and scientists are working out the answer for you (please God)? Do you think your MP even knows what peak oil is? He's in his own little world too, with the same stupid bills to pay.

What if you took the Jack Nicholson approach? In the movie, The Departed, when he's told someone is dying he responds: "We all are. Act accordingly."

Thing is, it's not just that we are all dying (I'm not being morbid, all bodies die, remember); we're taking it a step further and are actually killing ourselves (OK, I'm being morbid a bit). But it's true right?

Do you think being too busy paying bills is acting accordingly? Of course it isn't. Wake up, wise up and realise that the world our parents passed on to us in their oil-based ignorance, can be re-arranged for the benefit of those who'll inevitably get it from us. But it's down to YOU!

In essence, we (in our industrialised 'civilisations') cannot continue to live the way we do, and expect to survive; the way we live is actually killing us. "I'm too busy," "I don't believe it" or "I've got bills to pay" are no longer logical (or morally defensible) responses, if we want to give future generations a life worth living. And forget the people in power. They will not save you and sort this mess out; they are part of the problem. So what are YOU doing about it?

Job-based living and our primary pursuit of money is a disease afflicting and killing the human spirit. From cradle to grave, human life is now commoditised to such an extent that we are seriously (I'd say terminally) sick – at the very least physically, mentally, emotionally, educationally and socially. This way of life works only some of the time for some of the people – it's insane. We should change it. Who could deny that we have lost our way?

So what am I doing? Basically, I'll be creating a more resilient, self-sufficient and sustainable local lifestyle (before I – before ALL of us - are forced to do so by the environmental, economic and social turbulence that's unfolding daily).

Specifically, I'll be:

  • Growing, making and sharing food in my local community.
  • Taking responsibility for my health, well-being, education and lifestyle impact.
  • Continuing collaboration with the Transition movement.
  • Giving talks and writing articles on the 4 Crunches Credit crunch, Carbon crunch (climate and peak oil), Communication crunch and Consciousness crunch.
  • Living and loving life to my fullest potential, serving my community.

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