As my retirement looms closer, I’ve been giving some more thought about exactly what I’ll be doing with my days when I retire. In my previous post Intention to Practice I summarized the nine steps that I am following (and urging others to follow, in their own way) to make the world a better place, illustrated in the graphic above.
To implement these practically into my new life, once I’ve moved, I have organized my day into three blocks of time: 10am to 1pm for reconnection practices, 2pm to 6pm for learning, facilitating action and model-creating practices, and 8pm to 12pm for reflection and writing practices. Starting with these three blocks of time, I developed the chart below that shows my long-term intentions, the long-term practices that “stretch toward” those intentions, and the short-term, daily intentions (exercises) in alignment with the longer-term ones. The long-term practices tie into the nine steps in my What You Can Do graphic above, and the colour (red, yellow, green) is from my ‘scorecard’ and shows how much work I have to do on each.
I’m now starting to drill down into what I’m going to do, especially to move from “red” to “green” in steps 1, 2 and 7. Here are some of the exercises I’m intending to do:
Reconnecting Exercises (preferably, but not always, in company with others):
Facilitating Action (organizing and enabling groups to design and take actions that will undermine the worst and most destructive facets of industrial civilization, with the goal of ultimately dismantling it):
My belief is that this work must be collaborative, creative, and self-critical. It must achieve measurable results effectively i.e. without hurting others and hence creating martyrs of the supporters of our unsustainable systems, and without getting ourselves arrested. The results it achieves have to be more than public attention, even if that achieves some change in understanding, beliefs and behaviours. My two “starter” projects are to bring an end to factory farming (at least in Canada), and to halt the Alberta Tar Sands.
We have to be more creative than chaining ourselves to tractors and “liberating” farmed animals. These are PR stunts and they don’t achieve the results we seek: less (and eventually no) factory farming, and less (and eventually no) Tar Sands operations. We cannot rely on changing people’s buying behaviour (I’ve learned what battery caged hens hellish life is, but even I still eat food with eggs from unknown sources of supply — it’s just too difficult under the current industrial agriculture system to bring about real change through consumer movements alone). We cannot rely on politicians or lawyers or changes to laws and regulations and enforcement. These are the clowns that have got us into this mess, and they are fully invested in keeping it going. We are not going to be able to embarrass corporations to behave better — ExxonMobil is at once the world’s worst polluter and the most profitable company in the history of civilization. We need to find better, more effective ways to bring these horrific practices to an end.
What we need to do, I think, is bring together a lot of creative minds, with a great breadth of knowledge, experience, and deep understanding of how the Tar Sands and factory farms currently operate. And then we have to be methodical in identifying all the vulnerabilities of these systems and how they can be exploited. To that end, I think a good place to start is with Open Space as a methodology to enable a large group of invitees to self-organize to develop understanding and action plans, coupled with Donella Meadows’ 12 Places to Intervene in a System, which can focus our attention on actions that will achieve maximum results.
So, for example, how could we deprive tar sands and factory farm operators of critical sources of supply? How could we deprive them of funds? How could we disrupt production? How could we prevent them getting their ‘product’ to market? How could we reduce their market? How could we change the purpose of the energy sector from increasing supply of non-renewable energy, to reducing global carbon output to zero through sequestration etc.? How could we change the purpose of the farming industry from producing the maximum amount of food at the lowest price, to producing a healthy diet for everyone with minimal production and zero waste? How can we enable local energy and food coops to spring up and meet the needs of their communities so they have no need at all for the products of the tar sands or factory farms?
I don’t have the answers, but between us, with effort and shared knowledge and creativity, we do. There is a better way to live. We just need to seize the opportunity and power to create it, demonstrate it, and at the same time bring down the corrupt, cruel, wasteful, toxic, unnatural, irresponsible, unsustainable operations that the lawyers and politicians and corporations and educators and media have brainwashed us into believing is the only way to live. My job is to facilitate making that happen, and also to apply what I do uniquely well (imagining possibilities, and writing) to provoke the thinking that will bring these essential changes to fruition.
Category: What You Can Do