good_to_grow: sunflower-w-bee (bumblebee)
Why I am an activist, 1 reason:  I am a citizen.  I take citizenship seriously. As Michael Pollan said, eating food is how we get to vote 3 times (or more) every day. Who and what am I voting for?  

Well, I vote for change - for using the tools at my disposal to change our food systems from conventional-destructive to organic-safe. From non-local send-your-money-to-strangers-who-are-millionaires to local, strengthen-the-community spending.   From only-for-the-wealthy, to here-for-all.  

To bring about this change, I work as a citizen. I model the needed change; I talk about the change; I find other people to work with to spread the change.

I have many tools for change. I use technology (Yes OMG Technology) like row covers and grow lights (b/c it's January, and otherwise I wouldn't be growing here in eastern Idaho's 0º Fahrenheit daytime highs). I use my brain, studying and experimenting and keeping records to get better. I use my body (cos hey, exercise *is* what bodies like! Along with happy activism!). And I use social organization, working *with* other people to spread the change and make it happen.

Here's the best explanation ever of "why personal change does not equal political change."  As Derrick Jensen points out, we have 3 choices in society: destroy, retreat & withdraw, or get busy and change the game from looting the planet to living on it sustainably.  His arguments seem very sound.

First, we can join the insanity and "win" at harming other people and the planet. Watch any TV show and you'll see how many of us play this game! Unfortunately at the end we all die and we kill the planet and countless other life forms too.  

The second choice is to retreat to a holier-than-thou "green consumer" stance. We're still playing the game of destruction, only now we're on the sidelines (or away in our gated green community) pretending we're better than the destroyers. But the destruction game is still going full speed ahead. Moreover, by thinking "do less, be less is how to stop hurting the earth" is to assume that everything we do is bad for the planet, and it's not! How arrogantly self-pitying to think humans aren't part of this planet's growing cycles as well as our recent addiction to destruction. We *can* do so many things that help the planet, far beyond "buying green".  So option 2, being a "green consumer", is not only ultimately ineffective, *and* still permits the larger destruction going on -- and even abets it by shutting up and just buying MOAR STUF (don't forget how many "green" products are sold by mega-mass-destruction-corporations: they know a profitable scam when the see it!) -- option 2 even sells us short as humans who can DO GOOD TOO. 

We're simply not going to change industrial-scale overconsumption of water by taking shorter showers at home. Gotta get out there and change the industry!  And that's where we choose option 3, to get off our passive easy-path consumer butts, and put on our citizen hats, and go use our people powers to change the way society does things.   So that's why even though I'm not the world's best at activist social-organization type of stuff, I am doing what I can, hunting out people i can do it with ... because I always find that there's a bunch of folks who do it way better than me! And then I can do it with them. Which makes it easy. :-) 

Forget Shorter Showers

Why personal change does not equal political change


Published in the July/August 2009 issue of Orion magazine

WOULD ANY SANE PERSON think dumpster diving would have stopped Hitler, or that composting would have ended slavery or brought about the eight-hour workday, or that chopping wood and carrying water would have gotten people out of Tsarist prisons, or that dancing naked around a fire would have helped put in place the Voting Rights Act of 1957 or the Civil Rights Act of 1964? Then why now, with all the world at stake, do so many people retreat into these entirely personal “solutions”?

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