Are You Ready?
“Are you ready?”
“Ready for what?”
“For surprises. For the unexpected. For a life as different from today as the world of 100 years ago.”
“Of course not. How can I be ready for the unknown? How can I prepare when there is no evidence that my preparations will not only be in vain but also seen by my friends and family as the actions of a mad man?”
“We live in the Age of Madness. If you are not seen as mad, then you are not sane. For only the mad are sane in the Age of Madness.”
Act I: Soul A World Gone Mad that Deserves to End
Fracking devastated Mossett’s tribal nation in North Dakota. It’s been a complete change from the little community I grew up in, where you knew your neighbour and borrowed a cup of sugar. We walked without fear as children. It’s not like that anymore. Literally, people try to kidnap our kids who are walking home from elementary school. All these man camps spring up around our community. There’s violence. The rapes. The incidents. It wasn’t just the women. It’s children. There are babies who were taken. Sickening things are happening. Hundreds and hundreds of policemen protecting a pipeline. Where were you when we needed you in our community? They use between 500 & 2000 chemicals in the process of fracking. They dig around 10,000 ft. When you go that deep below the surface you get to the naturally occurring radioactive materials. They have technology that will drill horizontally for miles. They literally create mini-earthquakes. They crack open the shale. What flows up is all the produced water, which will never be available for animal or human consumption again. They’re supposed to take that water to injection sites where they pump it back, where it’s supposed to stay forever. But the companies have to pay a certain amount – like $30,000 – to haul it to an injection site. Whereas if they dump it it’s just a $10,000 fine. So they drive on the reservation with their nozzles pointed. As a results every river, lake and stream in North Dakota is contaminated with mercury. During fishing tournaments we see deformities in the mouths of the fish. We’re seeing sores and pus. The children on the reservation are becoming ill. When my niece was 7 they rushed her to the hospital because she couldn’t breathe. They asked; “Does she have asthma?” No. But she needs asthma medication now. It all started when fracking came to our community. I was diagnosed with stage 4 sarcoma tumor. After 10 years of treatment I was considered cured. I refused radiation and chemotherapy. I survived.
But I have friends who didn’t. She started to cry. I have a friend who left 2 beautiful children. She got cancer of the uterus. They couldn’t operate. She died. What does environmental racism mean? What does climate justice mean?
From America, a Farewell Tour by Chris Hedges
Perhaps these thoughts are with me because I was just in the hospital. A brush with mortality does strange things to the mind. You see life in a different light. What once seemed so normal, so stable, so every-day, so never changing, now seems more like a mirage – a soap bubble floating on a breeze that could be popped by the lightest touch.
After almost 2 weeks in the hospital I read the headlines differently. The news now gives me “a kick” that I do not think I would have experienced had I not been “out of the loop” – even if it was only 2 weeks. The world we have taken for granted seemed to me to be disintegrating before my eyes. Now this is not all bad, because for something new to arise something old must die. Thus, much of what I see passing away is good because I see new things being born.
But the bits of good news I see are outnumbered by the bad – and by bad I do not mean in the moral sense – I mean “bad” in that the disconnection between possible, realistic, positive change and the choice to attempt to maintain a destructive status quo is so great. This tension is not merely technical or financial or political – it is tearing apart the social fabric in many countries by dividing people into 2 camps: “us” and “them”. Once that fabric is torn our countries become like humpty dumpty – they cannot be put back together again. Then the external, and relatively simple problem, of transforming into a net zero carbon economy – which is really only the first baby step on the road of change we need to embark upon to survive – becomes impossible.
Your task then is to NEVER demonize those you disagree with, but seek to build bridges to maintain civil dialogue and yes, even friendship.
Recent News Headlines
Trump formally pulls out of landmark Paris climate agreement
Parts of northern England have endured a month’s worth of rain in 24 hours
Russian Oil Giant Prepares Massive $157 Billion Arctic Oil Project
Wexit group applies to become federal political party
Australia bushfires: Record number of emergencies in New South Wales
South African drought town’s warning to the world
State of emergency in Manitoba amid unprecedented snowstorm
New Zealand Commits To Being Carbon Neutral By 2050
Trudeau’s new cabinet to focus on green economy and climate change
Canadians have eliminated 38% of the climate pollution from electricity generation in just over a decade.
2/3 of world population live where either solar/wind is the cheapest choice for electricity generation
National climate emergency declared by House of Commons
Life as we know it is killing us. At the same our ability to create a better life for all – and in this I include non-human life – has never been greater. The mental health epidemic is an obvious symptom. I see this fracture expressed in many ways. There is this growing “us” vs “them” . Brexit. Wexit. A return to unconscious tribal thinking that risks creating the very future we are afraid of. An unwillingness to listen to bad news without becoming frozen by fear – like deer in a headlight or better yet, to remain purposely oblivious and ignorant and just keep on shopping.
Life Saving Surgery Required
It’s as if we are all in the hospital, as I was, and need some life-saving surgery – as I just had. But most of us are refusing the surgery. We are not taking the advice of our Doctors. We think we know better.
Somehow – even though, like me, we are actually [most of us unknowingly] in critical care – we still delude ourselves that we are not really that sick. We convince ourselves that we can return back to our ‘normal’ lives without making significant changes. However, this is a lie. A lie that can only cause our deaths, and sadly, also the deaths of other species.
Like me, we need life-saving surgery. Yes, it is traumatic. Yes, it is risky. But without it – like me – we cannot live. I am grateful that the Doctors at the Heart Institute had the knowledge to identify what was wrong with me and take action. I knew that I was so sick that not taking the recommendations was a death sentence.
It is the same for our civilization. We can listen to our climate scientists. We take the actions they recommend. We can change. And if we don’t, we die. It’s really not so complicated.
Are you ready?
Are you ready for whatever societal “surgery” entails?
…Knowing that none of us knows what this means or what the results will be?
…Knowing that once we accept that not only must our technologies change, but that the way we value each other and the non-human world around us, must also change?
…Knowing that our world is mad.
And that this madness is spreading. And that what comes next is an unknowable unknown.
Now onto Act II – what you can rationally do now that you are, I hope, motivated. My experience with being very sick, and surviving, is this: only if I realize that without change you are dead do I change. So, yes, it is a matter of life and death; if not directly for you, certainly for others –and that possibly means your children and grandchildren.
Act II: Mind DO SOMETHING!
The mind is a wondourful organ – once given the right “kick in the pants” by the heart. Here are a few actionable thoughts to start you off. Enjoy the journey and good luck!
Be ready for when you lose power
Heat source not needing power
Emergency weather radio
Water and/or ability to purify water
Non-perishable food for a week
Outhouse/bucket to go to the bathroom in and a place to put the ‘stuff’
Back-up way to cook ie. Propane tank attached to a burner to cook outside
Activities, like cards, to do
Solar power charger to charge your cell phone
Realize that we all really have only one goal over the next ten years.
It’s ZERO CARBON LIVING. Resolve to do all you can to reach it, both personally and as a society. All else has become secondary. Each of us needs to liberate time in our schedules, and dollars in our budgets, in which we can increase our activism. Friends, acquaintances, relatives, business associates, literally everyone in our circles needs to be approached and converted to the cause.
How to Prepare for the Unexpected
Read books by successful people, leaders, and spiritual teachers. Filling your mind with maps for success and strategies for handling setbacks will serve you well when it all falls apart. Read biographies and autobiographies of people who have endured the worst circumstances imaginable. It can also give your own situation a little perspective.
Journal for perspective but also to keep a record of other hardships you’ve survived and how you coped with them.
Find your tribe. Create strong friendships with people who are positive and wise. Your vibe attracts your tribe. That means being the kind of person you hope to attract in any relationship. Long before you need them, establish friendships with people who are strong and resilient.
Keep your body fighting ready. Will Smith said “If you stay ready, you ain’t gotta get ready. “Keeping your body healthy and fit means that if you get a bad diagnosis you are already out in front of it.
Fortify your spirit on a daily basis. Keep yourself centered and calm. Having a regular spiritual practice will carry you far when you don’t know what to do next.
Forge a rational and realistic mindset. When you don’t know what to do, do the next right thing. It isn’t the end of the world even if it feels like it. You will not believe this because you will feel with every fiber of your being that you will never recover.
It seems that the majority of people today are walking around totally unprepared, mindlessly hoping that life is safe, that our technology will save us, not willing to admit that without big changes pain, suffering and death are coming our way. They live a life of the deaf and the blind. This is not how life is. Life is dangerous. Life demands that we change. Or we die.