June 28th, 2015
|02:34 pm - An Open Letter to Margaret Wente|
June 28, 2015
In response to the column in the Globe and Mail titled:
“Our precious little snowflakes”
Dear Margaret Wente,
Urging youth to find ‘sustainable’ careers while referring to financial 'sustainability' is extraordinarily short sighted. Capitalism is contradictory to both the land we call home (earth) as well as human betterment. You are right, Margaret, that it is ludicrous to celebrate a nursery graduation; equally so is it ludicrous to celebrate the hegemonic common sense that has us believing so vehemently in the status quo of constant stress, failure and depression, that you would suggest youth need to ‘get used to the pain of living on earth’; rather than consider the possibility of a viable alternative.
You are right that we don’t have the choice to ‘do what we love’ within the cutthroat competition that financial capitalism forces upon us. We cannot do what we love, whether art, music, movement, being outdoors, or eating nutritious food, when we live in a system that tells us we can only do something we love if it makes us money. All of these things, by the way, are necessary for humans to thrive - physically, socially and spiritually.
The ideology that you are touting is the repression of human consciousness. Even empiricism, though full of troubling narratives itself, backs up all the things we know we should be doing - using our bodies, eating dense, healthful food. Doing what makes our spirits sing, whether helping people, taking care of our children or our families, singing and dancing, is possible in a system that values the Earth and our place in it, rather than, to borrow a phrase from Marilyn Waring, the “uni-dimensional economic fabrication” that is the GDP, premised on the wrong numbers in the first place. Not only can we all do what we love; we need to. As Howard Thurman said, “Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive”.
All of this begins with growing our own food; taking care of the land that shelters, supports and nourishes us, the land we are currently using as a waste receptacle, along with air and water, our most precious resources.
You mock those of us who, rather than live under the looming cloud of austerity and scarcity, choose to live with abundance because, as it turns out, it’s not that hard to create your own fuel when you model it after natural capital, whether hydro-electrical, solar, food (literal human fuel!). It is these people, who choose to follow their passions, who provide for themselves and their communities, who will, no exaggeration necessary, save the world.
You would suggest we just try our best to look the other way while driving this train into the mountain side. I say we get off the train and look at what’s outside. Natural capital is expansive, it grows exponentially when we let it, or even assist it, and we evolved with it, side by side, because we are exactly what each other needs.
If you genuinely believe in capitalism and it makes reasonable sense to you that a system that relies on financial growth despite the obviously detrimental effects on people and the earth, I won’t convince you. For anyone interested in saving the world, in leaving something to your descendants, or just in dying of old age, begin here: Permaculture: Pathways and Principles Beyond Sustainability by David Holmgren.
Permaculture principles are certainly not the only system of sustainable living, but they are the most holistic I’ve seen. Permaculture is capable of (re)creating a resilient and thriving ecosystem that includes humans. Essentially, permaculture “[helps] us act: to know what solutions exist, to understand the practical ways that we can transform our way of living to be more in harmony with the earth, and to have a sound basis for actions in defense of the earth” (Starhawk).
And of course we want to save the world! This is a human instinct, arising from our deepest well of knowing, because we are made from the earth. It creates and it created us. Of course we want to save our home. And of course we can feel that we are not living, we are merely subsisting.
It is deplorable that you would thumb your nose at the aspiration to wish to continue life on earth, or do what makes us happy. Are you listening to yourself Margaret? Can you trace the beginnings of these ideas of yours? Did it start with your school, your family, your church? I know you weren't born with this ideology. Wherever it started, I urge you now to listen to your true self.
Sit in nature and listen and simply observe your feelings. Go outside and think about what you are urging us to do, we millenials who are trying to save our home. You would rather have us bow obediently and unerringly to financial capitalism than try do actually do something, and that is fundamentally irresponsible.
As Harsha Walia wrote in her brilliant Undoing Border Imperialism, “Capitalism destroys land-based subsistence cultures and concentrates wealth and property into the hands of a select few. Production within capitalism is disconnected from human need, collective creativity, and the natural world-all of which become commodities to be bought and sold on the market”. Audre Lorde wrote almost 40 years ago, “The principal horror of any system which defines the good in terms of profit rather than in terms of human need, or which defines human need to the exclusion of the psychic and emotional components of that need…is that it robs our work of its…value…and life appeal and fulfillment. Such a system reduces work to a travesty of necessities, a duty by which we earn bread or oblivion for ourselves and those we love”.
Not only are you upholding this system, Margaret, you are suggesting that those of us who refuse are the naive and shortsighted ones. Think again.
Traditional ecological knowledge, permaculture, soil regeneration; the movements to revere these things above money give us hope that some of us are actually getting the message. We can put carbon back in the soil and the plants where it belongs; we can feed ourselves and have plenty left over; we can spend time with our families and dance and sing and love and laugh again; if we simply turn back to the earth and the ecosystem which we currently are working against, doing our best to ignore while it screams at us from beyond the vale.
Humans are amazing, resilient creatures and I have every hope we will figure it out. The solutions are already out there, we just need to ignore the little voices that have been forced upon us and listen to the big ones, screaming for attention, both within and without.
January 20th, 2012
How could someone so beautiful
Feel anything for me?
Won't you hold me and love me and touch me again
And show me why I believe?
All I have and all I am and all I think and do
Can find it's purpose and meaning and life only in you
Current Music: Indelible - Brooke Fraser
January 16th, 2012
|05:28 pm - You are my hope.|
We are not long here
Our time is but a breath
so we'd better breathe it
And I, I was made to live
I was made to love
I was made to know you
Hope is coming for me
Current Music: C.S. Lewis Song - Brooke Fraser
November 20th, 2011
|07:34 pm - in another life, i would be your girl|
if i were braver
i would tell people how i really felt and own it
i would not turn away when you look at me
or tell you how i feel just to laugh it off as a ridiculous joke
i would accept wanting
and waiting wouldn't feel like failure
if i could be me all the time
i would tell you you're beautiful
and i would believe that i could be beautiful to you
sometimes i wonder if there are other versions of me
in parallel universes - similar...but...
maybe one would have faith in herself
and that one there would flirt and then look you in the eye instead of hurriedly laughing and looking away
those other versions of tess might be with any number of people she was honest with
maybe one of them never left new zealand in the first place, wore out the relationship, left and moved on to find companionship elsewhere
one of them would have told him she loved him and would wait until he was ready for her, because she would have had faith in her ability to be wanted and loved
and one of them would tell you she just wants to hold you
she would tell you she wants to be with you, all the time and more, until she convinces you that you're loved
but those other tesses have faith in themselves, believe themselves to be loved, believe themselves to have worth
sometime in the lives of those tesses, someone fought for her, just once, and convinced her it could happen again.
Current Music: The One That Got Away - Katy Perry
October 8th, 2011
|02:19 pm - Worthless|
Value, or worth is defined not intrinsically but rather by how much someone will pay or do in order to own an item. When nobody wants something, or somebody, is it not worthless?
"And the tears come streaming down your face
When you lose something you can't replace
When you love someone, but it goes to waste
Could it be worse?
And high up above or down below
When you're too in love to let it go
But if you never try you'll never know
Just what you're worth"
Current Music: Coldplay - Fix You
September 25th, 2011
The world goes on outside my window
leaves rustle in the wind and people go about their busy lives
while i try to remember when i became this person
when my future used to be filled with expectation
now i see only failure and lack
your platitudes irritate me
because nobody can make those promises and so far
you've all been wrong
it's not getting better
for the sake of comfort i try to stay numb
but i still have this loathsome hope
stirring and occasionally awakening
just to remind me how good it once was
before i fucked it all up
September 20th, 2011
Was just inspired to change my name. Don't know to what yet...Suggestions?
your mom, my friend, left a message on my machine. she was frantic
saying you were talking crazy. that you wanted to do away with yourself,
I guess she thought i'd be a perfect resort because we've had
this inexplicable connection since our youth. and yes they're in shock,
they are panicked, you and your chronic, them and their drama.
you this embarrassment - us in the middle of this delusion
if we were our bodies
if we were our futures
if we were our defenses i'd be joining you
if we were our culture
if we were our leaders
if we were our denials i'd be joining you
I remember vividly a day years ago, we were camping, you knew more than you thought you should know.
you said, "I don't want ever to be brainwashed". and you were mindboggling. you were intense.
you were uncomfortable in your own skin. you were thirsty, but, mostly you were beautiful.
if we were our nametags
if we were our rejections
if we were our outcomes i'd be joining you
if we were our indignities
if we were our successes
if we were our emotions i'd be joining you
you and I, we're like 4 year olds, we want to know why and how come about everything,
we want to reveal ourselves at will and speak our minds. and never talk small and be intuitive
and question mightily and find god, my tortured beacon,
we need to find like-minded companions.
if we were their condemnations
if we were their projections
if we were our paranoias i'd be joining you
if we were our incomes
if we were our obsession
if we were our afflictions i'd be joining you
we need reflection; we need a really good memory; feel free to call me a little more often.
Current Music: Alanis Morisette - Joining You
September 17th, 2011
|09:11 pm - I'm still waiting...|
by Audre Lorde
Some women love
for life for a ring
in the June light for a touch
of the sun to heal them for another
woman’s voice to make them whole
to untie their hands
put words in their mouths
form to their passages sound
to their screams for some other sleeper
to remember their future their past.
Some women wait for the right
train in the wrong station
in the alleys of morning
for the noon to holler
the night come down.
Some women wait for love
to rise up
the child of their promise
to gather from earth
what they do not plant
to claim pain for labor
the tip of an arrow to aim
at the heart of now
but it never stays.
Some women wait for visions
that do not return
where they were not welcome
for invitations to places
they always wanted
to be repeated.
Some women wait for themselves
around the next corner
and call the empty spot peace
but the opposite of living
is only not living
and the stars do not care.
Some women wait for something
to change and nothing
so they change
September 5th, 2011
If I find in myself desires nothing in this world can satisfy,
I can only conclude that I was not made for here
If the flesh that I fight is at best only light and momentary,
then of course I'll feel nude when to where I'm destined I'm compared
Am I lost or just less found? On the straight or on the roundabout of the wrong way?
is this a soul that stirs in me, is it breaking free, wanting to come alive?'
Cause my comfort would prefer for me to be numb
And avoid the impending birth of who I was born to become
I will sigh and with all creation groan as I wait for hope to come for me
Current Music: C.S. Lewis Song - Brooke Fraser