...it will wash over a populace in panic!
How may we even begin to prepare for the panic that will occur when mainstream awareness of our most likely future scenarios begins to dawn? On that day, I want to have something in place! I refer you to my previous post: “Peak (Everything?) Stress Syndrome” and to Peak Oil Blues (written by my new netroots colleague, the peak oil shrink), which will give you some background for making sense of this continued effort I'm making here, today. My intention is to bring more awareness and direction to these pressing needs by repeatedly giving voice to this topic in my writings.
My dream vision would be to set up a niche, a sanctuary for all of us who are having "peak everything stress syndrome". There are many folks out there suffering situational depression--symptoms of PTSD because of the "early" knowledge we have about the global crisis we are facing. By "early" knowledge, I mean we are advanced thinkers, we see ahead of the mainstream consciousness, and realize what the future will require of us. We reel from the shock and when we get on our feet and start speaking out and calling our mates, companions, and fellow humans to action, we are scorned and repudiated and stripped of our credibility. As we persist in disseminating our message--the "news" we have foreseen (the bad news no-one wants to hear), we are proclaimed to be "doomers" and exiled from our close social connections. The more we speak out about the "inconvenient truth" which now has piles and piles of hard evidence to support it, the more the conspiracy of silence builds the walls of denial stronger. (The monkey covers his eyes, his ears, his mouth--don't see, don't ask, don't tell!)
This is a form of killing the messenger--making him believe he is the crazy one. Then the messenger becomes swamped in his own anger, depression, self pity, and desire to retaliate. This only deactivates him and sabotages his ability to accomplish the original goal. That goal is to warn: to call his colleagues into action, plan a strategy, prevent the worst case scenario, provide safety in the storm to come. I think this is what many have been going through--and I have been through it myself. But it's time to snap out of it, regroup our energies, and direct them in a productive and self-regenerating way, one that is sustainable and has no hidden agendas.
What I have thought about doing locally (here in Houston), is to enjoin a group of people, including our mayor's department of sustainability, to consider supporting a foundational fund and effort for building an eco-center which would contain information, classes, not only on sustainability, but on mental health and the emotional mastery of change. (Mayor Bill White, a friend of green construction and a candidate for the 2006 World Mayor Award, was an attendee and supporter at the recent Peak Oil Conference in Houston.)
Maybe the establishment of this effort could best be explained if placed in coordination with a "heritage days" celebration, so as not to scare people or incite resistance. Classes such as cooking, food preserving, spinning, weaving, mechanics, and gardening with hand tools could be offered--classes in which skills in living primitively on the land, living locally, could be taught. Perhaps the reasoning could be presented as how “our heritage from the past can meet the needs of our future”.
This eco-center could be a central source, an enclave, for storing information and local resources on providers of green design (architects savvy on LEEDS standards), on green builders, and on suppliers of green technology. Maybe the center itself could be a zero-energy design (one that supplies its own energy through wind and solar means, reusing water, etc.) It could be, in itself, a model for community building. This center could contain a database of current information on renewable energy technology and information about climate change and peak oil future scenarios. Films and videos could be made describing these conditions and possible outcomes.
This beginning would lay the foundation for the mental health support that will be needed when awareness of "peak everything" reaches a notable level in the public consciousness. Then we will be teaching about change, signs of stress--situational depression and anxiety and the skills for dealing with it. At the time it’s most needed, the center will be established and already known as a place to go for of information and support. I can imagine that the foundation's funding could come through the use of an alternative/complementary currency such as Ithaca dollars, Time dollars, or other database currency points that become accepted for use in the larger community as Bernard Lietaer has suggested in the Future of Money.
Another thing I would like to do through this center is to begin, with a group of others, to envision a possible future beyond what we know is inevitable—a livable and sustainable future in which we would like to live. I would like to instill hope (beyond the depressing reality we are facing) that we can still carve out a niche of safety, sanity, beauty, and order—and some form of green mobility. I know we can't count on technological innovation to save us from the power-down energy crunch and from the relocations and massive migrations to come with climate change, from the scarcity of resources and the potential for resource wars/competition--from the future pandemic of death and diminishment of our population. We who are in the know realize there is no place to hide. We don't have mega-bucks to buy an energy efficient fortress guarded by Blackwater troops.
But we have to believe we have some power to save ourselves, to create something worthwhile that will help motivate us to go forward! Accomplishing this will require a positive vision and good leadership. I like to think of our future as being healthy, happy, green, and mobile, and I believe that with as many enthusiastic people as I've run into on the Daily Kos (environmental group) and in other areas of the netroots, we can, together, come up with a plan and course of action to build the future we want, in spite of our government and its economy. It just requires taking our way of life into our own hands, designing our own local economies and fortifying them with some kind of god-juice that will protect them from the madding crowds--the throngs of those who didn't do their planning.
And so I come back around now to the original point: that we must continue to disseminate accurate information so that all people will be adequately forewarned and forearmed. This information must be presented in such a way as to avoid panic and predation. Once we do this for ourselves in our local communities in the US, we need to try to facilitate this same kind of activity in other countries--China, India, Africa, Mexico...etc. The Netroots has a basis for building these connective threads between our communities here in America and out into our global community—our Mother Earth! I’m thinking of calling this center MotherSource! What do you think?