28 July 2013

Reform, Revolt, Transformation (and Vitamin B12)

A tweet wafted past me the other day (I don't go checkin' out Twitter ... no time) and it really stuck out as profound, and maybe important. Here's what I saw: 
AntiReform ProRevolt @Anti_Reform Reform is designed to create an illusion of progress.
That reminded me of a discussion my hubby and I had had recently in our kitchen. In a (possibly B12 deficiency-induced) moment of guilt (did you know that about vitamin B12?), I was talking about something I haven't successfully shifted in my life. "Well, at least I'm further along than most people." 

Now, in the interests of not misquoting my beloved, I can't tell you exactly how he responded because I can't remember exactly what he said (I've since upped my B12 intake!). But it wasn't a pretty observation about our culture and it led to the following realization for me. We've been posing the wrong question all these years. We've been asking
What can I do? 
instead of 
How must I change?
"How must I change?" shows an understanding that transformation is necessary. It shows a willingness to make necessary sacrifices. It shows an appreciation that we're all implicated (it's not someone or something else that must change). 

A couple of weeks ago, I told you that "What can I do?" usually means "I'm not really interested in doing anything (because if I was, I would have done it by now)." "How must I change?" sounds like a sincere quest ... a call for a personal revolution that will snowball (ahem, a lot of those melting these days, eh?) into societal transformation. 

Reform has taken us nowhere but backwards. Revolt? My gosh, that's a toughie. So many human beings are too comfortable. So many other human beings are struggling every day of their lives. Where are those who will risk revolt or who can afford revolt? 

I suppose that's why I talk of rapid transformation to a zero-carbon economy, one that will be safer, cleaner, healthier, more equitable and more peaceful. Because who, who, who would not want that?

Have you heard of the 12-second transition? A prof at university talked about it. I remember experiencing it myself one morning when I threw open my dorm room window after pulling an all-nighter to complete a paper. The beautiful spring air wafted in and the pheasants down in the ravine behind our college started squawking their morning greeting. Instantly, I transformed from an armchair-hugging bookworm to someone who delights in the natural world and outdoor pursuits. It was virtually instantaneous.

If we can fall in love at first sight, become parents overnight, have an accident that changes everything in an instant ... then we know that rapid transformation is possible. For the sake of the children and future generations of all species, how must we change?

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I would appreciate hearing your thoughts or questions on this post or anything else you've read here. What is your take on courage and compassion being an important part of the solution to the climate change emergency?