Surviving –vs– Sustaining

Fear-based messages draw more attention in the mass media than the “good news” messages.  And right now, many people are feeling fearful.  For example …

  • The “War on Terrorism” has gone on longer than WWII.


  • Environmental problems – the latest being the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.


  • Public confidence in our institutions – government at all levels, corporations, religions, schools, etc. – is lower than it’s ever been.


  • Countries with excessive debt, such as Greece, come close to defaulting, which is dropping the value of the Euro and perhaps other currencies.


  • A weak economy that some think is getting stronger seems to not be rebounding, leaving people puzzled and uneasy.


  • Increased forecasts of food shortages … probably right here in the U.S.


Several books on survival have been selling quite well.  I found Cody Lundin’s book, “When All Hell Breaks Loose,” better than the others I’ve seen, because he begins with a picture of the attitude needed for survival … an attitude without fear, because fear can be our biggest enemy in a crisis … deer in the headlight syndrome.

Lundin goes into considerable detail about how our attitude is our biggest asset – or deterent – when survival is at stake.  (I recommend reading his book.)

In order to sustain we do need to survive.  And many of the suggestions in his book seem worth following, because a major breakdown is, from the trends I see, likely.  But “sustainability” has to also include quality of life.  Hunkering down in the woods for safety may seem a necessary short-term scenario, but what kind of life is that?  The joy is gone.  Education is gone.  Cultural and spiritual experiences are gone.  Meaningful career endeavors are gone.  Any sense of community is gone.

If we create a home that lives in concert with nature – solar heated and powered, water from rain, air improved with plants, a comfortable environment that enriches our aesthetic sensibilities, and an abundance of locally grown food – we can eliminate most physiological difficulties.

If we foster a cluster of homes in a way in which people get to know one another and learn to govern their community themselves – without “representation” – we can create an environment that enriches our lives … regardless of what may transpire elsewhere.  And the time to do all this is now … not when “All Hell Breaks Loose.”

Every day, the vision for a sustainable community that evolved in the sustainability research I did, and that I depicted in my “Sustainability” book, seems more and more on target.  In coming days, I’ll be sharing more thoughts about ways to thrive in these uncertain times.

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