There are scary things afoot in these times. Someone I was talking to today remarked that the fruit crop in the Pacific Northwest is most likely screwed. The trees all blossomed last month and this, and while it’s been pretty, the patterns of weather have been such that we get a nice few days, the flowers bloom, but then the weather gets so cold that most of the pollinators won’t/can’t come out. By the time it gets warm enough for them, the flowers will have dropped off.
Many people here in Portland that I’ve talked to who have lived here for a good long while say that this weather is highly abnormal, and that it’s been getting progressively worse over the years. I’m firmly convinced of global climate change, and there are fewer ostriches with their heads buried firmly in the sands of denial. Something’s going on, and it’s not looking positive. I know some smartasses talk during the cold days about what a crock “global warming” is (because they assume that it should be universally warmer across the board). However, it’s more complex than that–warmer air overall changes the weather patterns; it doesn’t mean that the cold goes away entirely. Instead you get seriously screwed up weather patterns. We’ve had an abundance of “weird weather days” in 2008, where we get sun, rain, snow and hail in quick succession. Not that these never happen, but they’ve been particularly frequent.
I look at these situations, and then I look at where I am as a shaman, and as a sustainability geek. I’m at the ground level on both of these, really. I’m just now going out to the park to talk to the oldest trees who were there when it was still farmland, and figure out what they need as the “elders” of that place. I’m just now really learning to connect with the Land in a deeper way than “Ooooh, pretty!” As for the physical end of things, I have my first garden out there on the roof in containers of various sorts. Hardly enough to live on, to be sure. And while our downstairs neighbors will be collaborating with us to try to convince the leasing agency to let us have a trio of Bantam hens, that’s still nowhere enough to be self-sufficient. We still have a car, we still throw out too much garbage (though we recycle and compost religiously). We’re still not where we could be. And let’s not even get into the property ownership thing–I can only wish I had a yard I owned that I could completely dedicate to food production.
The thing I worry is that it won’t be enough. I can’t save the world, I know that. But I feel like these are things I should have been doing a decade ago. Granted, I didn’t have access to a lot of the resources I have now, in my defense. But I do still regret that I’m not further ahead, that I’m not where other people who have been doing this for decades are. What the hell have I been doing for the first not-quite-thirty years of my life?
I do have to go easy on myself. I have to honor my past, and accept that I was where I was. Ten years ago I was nowhere near focused enough to do what I’m doing now–and that’s okay. I do the best that I can. But that doesn’t mean I don’t still have my regrets, and my worries.
I’m really pushing myself in a lot ways, physically and metaphysically, to try to counter the damage that’s being done on a daily basis. That’s central to my shamanic path, which permeates everything–I can’t just separate it out from everything else; I don’t exist in a series of pigeonholes. But sometimes I get so damned impatient with myself, wishing I could give more, do more, and wondering if my best is really enough.
There was a post in green_future on livejournal over the weekend along similar lines. I’m with you to a degree, as there are some things I just can’t do due to living in a condo that I don’t own. However, I am making a point to do everything I am capable of doing, and also extending it to my work area. There it’s about turning off lights, bringing in my own towels, plate, utensils, etc., printing out less when I can, and reusing paper.
Plus my employer is making a bigger commitment–the school where I work gets about 17% of its power from solar panels on campus, there’s a sustainable farm which supplies a portion of all the food in the dining spaces, and the shuttle buses run on diesel and biofuel.
I like to think it all adds up.
I hear you – and the news about the fruit crop is pretty scary. BTW: La Nin~a = cooler than normal in the US – it’s warmer than normal over most of the globe, IIRC.
What I’m hearing in your post is that if only you’d been where you are now 10 years ago, things would be different. Perhaps that would be so, but in 1998 folks were starting to notice “hey, it’s hotter than usual, year after year! Ya think that global warming thing could be true?” – there was no way to mobilize the general public.
However, now with gas going through the roof (finally), and the food shortages around the world pushing up food prices, I think that 2008 could be the year that the majority of folks finally wake up. Is it too late? Yes and no. The earth and it’s life will be here, no matter what. Will we be here? Perhaps. Is that a bad thing? Probably not.
I grieve for the suffering that is going to happen.
You say: “But I feel like these are things I should have been doing a decade ago.”
Hon, we ALL should’ve been doing those things 10 years ago. Heck, I should be doing them now.
I’m right there with you–on the ground level of things. I, too, look back and think of all the time “wasted.” But no sense worrying over that–it’s done. And we were in other places in our lives. I struggle with impatience as well, both with myself and others. But I keep getting glimpses that it’s really ok, it’s just the way it’s supposed to unfold. The important thing is to stay focused, centered, intentional and listen to that urging deep inside. Then we can’t go wrong.
Peace and blessings…