Since the eighties when I became a vegetarian, planted my first organic garden and joined a food coop, I’ve been aware that there were gentler ways to live than the mainstream, conventional ways I was raised with. Since the turn of this century, living more earth-thoughtfully has been at the heart of my life and work, however imperfectly expressed. But I’ve recently felt an urgency about doing something different, something more wide-reaching than what I’ve so far managed to share the message of earth-thoughtfulness. Funnily enough, it was in the reading of a beloved novel that I saw a way in. And the idea has been growing and crystallizing in the weeks since we read The Shell Seekers (by Rosamunde Pilcher) at Wisteria & Sunshine (my long-time membership blog.) Below, I’ve shared what I wrote there in a few posts in late July after reading the chapter called “Richard.”
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You know how much I value older books (or books about older times) for what they can teach me-now-about living more intentionally, more thoughtfully, more simply. Well, most of these passages touch upon that, in both practical and emotional ways.
Reading about the war years in this chapter has been illuminating. I have no hope that the countries of the world might view the climate crisis in the same way as I would like to, but it would surely begin to untangle some of the daunting muddles we are facing, would it not? Imagine if we all felt as the British did during the war, ready and willing to face deprivation for the good of all that it would save and heal? Penelope and all those very real people she represents didn’t enjoy the lack of so many tasty things or the scratchy toilet paper, but it was a part of the huge effort it took to win the war. I wish we would be called on to do the same by some wise and powerful council with the systems to support it. That is what arose in me reading this chapter, a glimpse of some “big” ways with our Small Ways that feels somewhat visionary and hopeful…even if we can-mostly-only live it out with our individual efforts in our own domestic spheres.
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“You may remember that a month or so ago we were reading the Shell Seekers and I shared about how moved I was by the scenes during the war years, making connections between the sacrifices made then and my thought that similar sacrifices now could be a part of healing our imperiled planet. I’ve been doing much research, and it turns out the quite a few folk have had the same thought. Some have even worked out an in-depth approach on the political/governmental level and are trying to get it some attention. Unfortunately, they’ve dubbed it The Climate Mobilization. I am all for it, and have contacted my representatives about it and will support it in any way I can, but…
…it’s one of those Big Ways that we sometimes have to wait a long time to see come to fruition and have too little control over. And after many wobbly months, I’ve come back ’round to finding my faith again in the Small Ways. Seeing them held within a new effort for the earth, based on a historical, domestic effort that has become familiar (and was successful) has given me this hope. So, in between the monarchs emerging, the moon-watching and the morning glories, I’ve been listening deeply for a name that is more inspiring and more fitting for our scale of effort than “climate mobilization.”
I watched some wartime shows, read some articles…jotting down notes, spent sleepless hours trying out possibilities, talked to a friend about it, perused old posters online and couldn’t come up with anything home-like and down-to-earth…until it came to me last night as I was watching Queer Eye (no connection, my ponderings had just finally sifted out : ) When I found that no one seems to have used it online or made a hashtag of it, I was overjoyed and am now settling in to the wondering of where to go from here.”