(Scroll down for list of posts in this series)
The Covid-19 pandemic has been an incredible opportunity for me and those like me, who have not been pressed into frontline service, or have not been directly affected by this horrendous virus, to take a deep breath and gain a wide perspective on what on earth (literally) is going on here. I know this pandemic has seemed really bad, and it has been, relative to my stable and privileged (almost) 40 years on this planet. But with time on my hands to look back into history, and project forward as well, I think (and so do the experts) that we’re in for something far worse. And I am wholly uninterested in being pushed off the edge like a lemming. No, no, no. I’ll be buckling into my DIY parachute, made from a patchwork of skills, knowledge, relationships and love for our planet. Holding hands with my community, we’ll step off with our eyes open.
I’ve organised the things I think our parachutes need to be made of (things that have become top priority for me recently) into a mega-to-do list. It’s partly about making black and white decisions, like boycotting long and unsustainable food supply chains and fast and dirty fashion. But it’s also about working on the harder grey areas that aren’t so linear and obvious, like redesigning our cherished traditions, and building strong communities.
This isn’t a list of things we have to give up or things that threaten our comfortable lifestyles. I see it as a list of things to make our lives so much better and more fulfilling, while having the added benefit of healing our planet and our broken culture.
It’s a vision that looks like small communities of people that really know each other, who work together. Who trade and gift their time, love and lettuce seeds to create healthier people, healthier communities, healthier soils, healthier mental health and ultimately a healthier planet.
The list is made up of *actionable* things that I’ve been learning about. We’re all on a journey (here’s a brilliant illustration about said journey by Brenna Quinlan) and it’s a long and zig-zaggy one, we have to be patient, determined and generous with ourselves. Some of these things we’ve totally nailed as a family and have become new and easy habits, and others are long term goals that are in our sights post-Covid.
To add some depth and actual real-world knowledge, I’ve added links to articles, books, videos and podcasts made by much cleverer people than me for you to dive into.
And finally… on judgement and privilege: we are living in a time where there’s a lot to be angry about, a lot to speak up about, and it’s easy to judge other’s inaction. It’s important to take a step back and really check in as to why we’re speaking up and what we are saying. Am I on the frontline? Am I actually affected by the current catastrophe (think: bush fires or Black Lives Matter)? Is this just trendy, or am I adding something positive to the wider conversation. Am I speaking from a position of privilege, a safe distance away from the action? It is important to speak up, but it’s equally important to question whether we’re encouraging positive change, or are we pointing the finger and calling others out for inaction/racism/patriarchy/fossil fuel use/etc? This is especially toxic if our words are meant to only clarify our own position, and infer our own blamelessness. It’s critical that we understand that the only thing any of us can do is speak from the point in the journey that we each stand. We can not judge people who are less educated on a particular topic for their inaction. Equally, we can’t mock and poke fun at people who are having a go at something we aren’t educated in. That form of gaslighting reflects badly back at us as being ignorant and unsupportive. The ability to learn about the current thinking, read widely and process our own opinion is a privilege that not everyone can afford. Before we judge, we need to lead with compassion…
…that said, I’m fully cognisant that I’m writing this from a position of white, middle-class privilege. I have a husband (who can lift heavy things and works full time) and healthy children. I have a university education that I’m in a position to not have to use day-to-day. We’re not living hand-to-mouth and we’ve been fortunate to have be given an early inheritance in the form of land. It’s not all sunshine and rainbows, but that’s a relative concept in my white middle-class world. I get it. And I hope by writing this set of articles, I’m not only speaking about what we’re able to do from our position, but also open up the world of education that has lead me to this moment in my journey.
Ok…we can’t return to normal… here’s a list of all the blog posts in this series to date:
PART 3 Revere nature.
PART 4 Be the architects of our own lives. Coming soon.
PART 5 Value skills over money. Coming soon.
PART 6 Use our attention with intention. Coming soon.
PART 7 Divest. Coming soon.
To wrap up… My time during Covid-19 isolation also coincided with my phone breaking (and a new phone is taking months to arrive). So it has been a time to for me to shut up and listen. I stopped nattering away on Instagram. I’ve been reading. And diving down rabbit holes of research into our ancient roots and connection to land, into making compost and bio char, and into what the thought-leaders have to say right now. And I’ve tried to stop filling every gap in the day with information and listened to the quiet.
It has been a time to refocus, and reframe how I think, and try to understand the big picture, and were I stand in that. I haven’t worked it all out but I know that in the past I’ve spent too much time thinking and talking and not prioritising time to *act* on what I believe in. Sometimes it’s really hard to find a starting point or motivation in the sea of information and/or overwhelm. But I have found small (tiny!) steps is the way to start big radical changes.
I hope I’ve been able to pass on some goodies to you, be it encouragement, practical tips, further resources or a hand to hold. Ultimately, we’re in this together, and WE CAN DO THIS!
Yours in radical hope,