Culture-change people are creative, fun, and they think
That isnít an all defining difference, but when modern
technological, bureaucratic culture represents the dominant failing order,
those of us hoping for global healing choose to live outside the mainstream.
We hope for natureís return to the center of human culture. Nature was
usurped by man (sic) and will have her revenge as our culture scrambles to
adjust and make amends in a new, unstable global greenhouse we cannot
There are many of us! We are together making a new way.
We use money, but as much as possible we use love instead. Keeping up with
the Joneses, or trying to impress one another with material wealth, are
laughable concepts to us. Bob Dylan intoned, "You KNOW somethingís
happening here, but you donít know what it is / Do you, Mr. Jones."
What impassions us is to hear one of us telling about the
latest creative, daring act someone did. Maybe it was Ayrís defending
himself in court for treesitting by playing his mandolin for the jury. Or we
humbly make one anotherís day by presenting some homegrown vegetables as a
giftófuture barter, as it turns out.
Our clothes are not new or spotless or emblazoned with
designer logos. Patagonia is okay, however, partly for their utilization of
organic cotton and recycled plastic; mainly itís due to their donations to
forest defenders, Pedal Power Produce riders, and others. Oneís pants may
have some crude stitchódental floss is popular as heavy thread. We prefer
natural, but some synthetics help us in situations we frequently find
ourselves in. Hemp or no hemp cloth, we must get by.
We pride ourselves equally on working hard for an
immediate goal, such as to help shut down 6th & University in Seattle
during the WTOís attempted meeting in 1999. But we are just as glad to
take it easy and spend time traveling or with family. The less money spent,
the better. A lot of money outflow means a lot of oil was burned. Big
spending also means that wealth exits the community.
Visiting wilderness is a value for those who love and
protect the Earth. The nearest nature experience is most up our alley.
Todayís folks promoting culture change have a good deal
of taste, if one can be tolerant and inclusive. They donít like the idea
of living in Los Angeles or having a long commute. A paved-over landscape
crawling with unconscious polluters is a sad thing for them to see and
There is a better way! And they act upon it to the extent
possible, in these times of "Babylon."
These are the frontline culture changers. There are
supporters who may be closely tied into a more conventional 9-5 existence,
but they may be making possible a spouseís activities for social justice
or environmental protection. Amongst culture changers reluctantly commuting,
the 9-5 routine is not carried out indefinitely or in hopes of the gold
It sounds simple and sustainable for the culture change
vanguard to operate and spend time discussing a brighter day. But we too are
tied into the vicious economy and the materialist culture. Activists,
artists and dreamers are vulnerable to system collapse, but less so. Those
of us who have tried the most to live free (with freedom) and to get by in
society by living outside it, or underground, to the greatest extent
possible, are most prepared for changes to come. "Bring it on!" we
The transition to a sustainable culture will not be easy
as we suddenly feel the universal pinch in petroleum supplies that is coming
with the global peak in oil production in a few years. But coping with the
new reality will depend on locally-based cooperation and working together
for ourselves, respecting nature as the source of our lives and survival.
Those who have had a regimented, structured and
institutional lifeótoo much bossing, public school and armed forcesówill
simply want their food and water, then run like a mad herd when shortage or
outside threats present themselves. People in the U.S. have become less and
less self-sufficient. As recently as 1973, 40% of North Americans canned
This magazine could just as easily be about values. For
example, do we value consuming in such a way to have separate households,
with our private TVs, with only two generations of people in a family? Do we
have our elders live with us, or institutionally?
We donít know how much of our idealistic preparation
for sustainability will pay off, but weíve nothing to lose and only
quality of life to gain. We are living not just for the future and for our
fellow species, but for ourselves and our fulfillment today. We treasure
learning, sharing and moving along in lifeís stream.