I’m a new member of Front Porch Forum and I’ve been enjoying it. Like the forum my life is mostly made up of dog poop and broken washing machines. Occasionally something, like Allison’s post, will remind me that there are bigger and perhaps more important things going on in the world.
The other day, while waiting on the Green for the ACTR bus to Middlebury, I got to thinking of Allison’s letter, of the middle east and Japan, of how the world changes, of how the world presents a smooth surface of seemingly unchangeable realities, of ways of living, of how things are and then the next day, the next moment they aren’t. It’s as if we woke up in an alternative universe. Passive, downtrodden people are suddenly protesting all over the middle east, Japan is…God knows what, but radically different than yesterday. What we took for granted as solid and unchangeable is revealed in hindsight as having been standing ready to transform. Sometimes it’s the gentlest of pushes, sometimes it’s a huge shove that we thought could never happen.
So I was at the bus stop and thinking about buses…
He goes on to talk about how taking the bus cuts down on his eco-impact and offers tips for others considering taking this step.
Greg adds his two cents:
Thank you for so eloquently putting to words what many of us have been feeling. Sadness, anger, fear -out of control. It is time (past time) for a new understanding of our impact on the planet and others. It takes a tremendous amount of courage to tell others how you feel. THANK YOU.
Here’s Allison’s original FPF posting, entitled “Small World”…
I’ve been thinking a lot about Japan, lately (anyone else?) and having some of the same feelings I was having while I watched oil spew endlessly into the Gulf (still having those feelings, actually, since the mess is far from over): frustration, anger, intense sadness. The frustration comes from witnessing a terrible thing which appears to be completely out of my control. The anger feels fierce. Sometimes I want to scream until blood vessels burst, but who would I scream at anyway? We all use nuclear power, we all use gas and oil, we all use electricity, in some way. On the bad days, when the anger is particularly stubborn, it’s all gloom and doom: we’re never going to learn, are we? We’re just going to sit here and wonder why the world is cracking open all around, but not do a thing to change the habits which possibly contribute to the cracking. And then come the moments of grace and surrender: driving to work the day after the huge blizzard last week, when the air was clear and frigid. The previous night’s wind had sculpted the fields with lines and ridges, and moisture from Bristol Pond hung over everything like a veil. I wanted to stop my car and watch the morning unfold, and I felt so thankful to live here, on this planet. And the sadness? Too much to put into this post. The questions “what can I do? How can I help?” frequently run through my head. There are as many different answers to these questions as there are people who ask them. Here are some of my answers: use less; less electricity, less gas and oil. Slow down a little. Take a moment to do something which pleases my heart. Grow pretty things in my yard. Grow edible things in my yard. Grow medicine. Stay healthy. Eat good food. Sing more. Breathe deeply. Slow down (I’m saying it twice because I need the extra reminder).
Japan doesn’t really seem so far away, to me. We all live in this web. Air is circulated all over the globe. Currents move many things. The bigger the disaster, the smaller this planet becomes. And I’m saying this, again, because I need the reminder. Because there’s a small part of me saying “I’m so glad that didn’t happen here. I’m so glad that didn’t happen to me…” But the thing is, it DID happen to me. It’s happening to all of us. It happened to us in the Gulf of Mexico, in Alaska, at Chernobyl (excuse the spelling, I guessed on that one). When something happens on this planet, it happens to all of us, whether we’re in the midst of the rubble or somewhere else. And I, for one, haven’t forgotten there’s a nuclear power plant not too far from here. Nor do I believe for one second we are capable of building something which can withstand the force of Mother Nature. There’s hope in all of this. When I can sit still with my breath, let go of the anger and move through the sadness, I can begin to feel excited about the changes we could make. When I can sit still with my breath, I can remember I’m not a hero. I can’t “save the world,” but I can grow peas!! I can grow sunflowers and carrots and lavender; winter squash and tomatoes. ….. I have many mantras I repeat to myself, but “baby steps” is going to have to be my newest. Viewed as a whole, the changes are many and almost overwhelming. So I make one small change and go from there…
I’m thankful to be living in a neighborhood where I can see many others making small positive changes towards a more sustainable way of life.