I’m sure you know the drill as well as anyone. We’re told that if we do our part for the environment, if we recycle, eat more plants, maybe bring our own shopping bags to the store, buy a hybrid car and drive a little less, or even some more extreme actions, we can save the earth.
But what’s the point of a few people making small changes, when at the same time we’re hearing about the drought in California. How there’s one year of water left when the state grows a good amount of the produce consumed in the country but bottled water still reigns supreme and Nestle continues to bottle water in the state. What’s the point, when clothing manufacturers can continue to go to the poorest countries on Earth to make cheap clothes and dump chemicals in the water supply? (And cause the local spirits to rise up and speak through the women?) What’s the point when corporate entities have the power to influence legislation so they can continue to exploit people and land which isn’t in the CEO’s back yard?
When did consumerism come to trump citizenship? Instead of actually putting laws in place to halt and try to reverse the damage, now it’s buy more products which are Green (or “green”) so you can sleep easier at night. Easier to spend money (and possibly sneer at people who don’t) than fighting for bigger change.
It’s easy to become depressed and apathetic when seeing this kind of information. It’s also tempting to don some kind of hair shirt or take up flagellation. And not everyone is able to take time off for rallies or actively work to lobby politicians. So what is there to do?
Go outside. Take the radical step of connecting with your local ecosystem. No matter what type of pagan (polytheist, etc.) you are, you do need the land around you. Even if you’re in a concrete jungle, there are still animals and plants and minerals around. Even if you’re a technopagan, your electronics would be useless without the metals inside, which come out of the earth. (and I’ll avoid discussion of the issues around rare earth mining today.) “Saving the earth” can seem remote if you have no idea of the land around you. Pick up some trash, identify the plants around you (and even find some you can use in your practice if you’re lucky), connect with the other primates living nearby even if they have forgotten or would deny any sort of connection with the ecosystem. Help them out if you can. Even a wave of acknowledgment can turn around their day.
Instead of trying to spend your way to a better planet, save a little money and work on making it a little better nearby. In this culture, it has become revolutionary.
With thanks to Alley Valkyrie for planting the seed and providing resources.
Sustainability is destroying the earth (though I have problems with some of Deep Green Resistance, like their gender essentialism and anti-trans* stance.)
The myths of sustainable consumption
Myths that support sustainability
The climate is changing