Mostly Not About Carbon

Mostly, we are not living how we live to reduce CO2. I could potentially reduce my emissions more by living in a walkable downtown and getting rid of my car; or, by rarely leaving the land, most likely giving up my friendships; or, to zero emissions by not living at all. We do get into analysis of embodied energy in choices like what car to drive, but only small questions like that are so linear and they are not the questions that make us come alive. Beyond ceasing to do so much harm, beyond the very important ‘living simply so others may simply live,’ there is something vital we are stumbling towards with each new day, following this intuition that we need entirely other ways of relating to the earth, ourselves, and each other than the ones that society presents us with.

Living out there, I want to ask what the nature of work and jobs are as automation and information economy makes us more and more irrelevant and abstracted. I want to question what progress is, what growth is, what happiness is. I want to learn from what is beautiful how to live beautifully.

I want to become completely independent from corporations, to me all essentially in the same business of destroying the human soul. It is the time for an enlivening non-participation, a replacement of our dependence on planet-devouring industries to an interdependence with each other and the land.

I want to learn to create rituals – communal acts where we can root our existences into time and place in order to remember all-time, all-place.

I want to garden with others on a summer day, then swim together and then stay together through crankiness, despair, weirdness, confusion, and bliss.

I want to know that, in the time of the sixth wave of mass extinctions, I tried something as brave as I could that was also as gentle as I could.

I want to inhabit a life of enoughness, a life without any expectation that I can always rent a backhoe, see a doctor, jump on a flight, look up anything, become anybody or anything, eat any meal, buy a replacement for anything, or be continually entertained.

I want to belong to a place and a community, and I think that the power of fossil fuels only ever ultimately gets in the way of that. Over the engines we can’t hear each other. Atop the engines we can’t see the wildflowers. Inside the engines, we speed past each other as anxious faceless compartments. Beneath the engines, we are so much fuel. In the silence, I see you. In the slowness, I hear you. In the peace, I remember you.

Holding a magical orb of power tends to be distracting. There it is in your hand, promising you can do anything immediately however you want. It’s really hard to remember why if at all you ever even wanted the glowing magical orb, but now you have it. Because the magical orb lets us travel fast, we make our homes far away from each other, we move far away for work or school, we jet around, we change places constantly. Because the magical orb makes music for us, we forget how to sing. Because the magical orb constantly gives us updates on our friends, we stay busy at home reading them. Because the magical orb tears open the soil and fills it with fertilizer, we deplete the soil each year and let the life all run off to poison the streams.

The magical orb was neat. Remember it? When it ran out and returned to being an empty glass ball, we used it as a planter. Around the charcoal fire, we drank mead and put on funny plays for each other about the time of magical orbs. Even in our comedic exaggerations, we couldn’t really get to how crazy it all was. None of us even knew how to explain what a search engine optimization person is (even I forgot), but when we comically try to pantomime one, it has us rolling as we imagine a twenty-something in a business suit earnestly trying to find a hundred different synonyms for ‘dog shirt.’ After that, someone starts to play banjo. We all know most of the words. They make some of us cry. The songs are unreviewable, unpromotable, undownloadable, perfect. The wheel of the stars turns.

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