Adapting to Change

This is a long, picture-less post but I’ve got a lot on my mind…

I had a bad day. Hell, I had a bad week! Michael had to have a second unexpected surgery on Tuesday (that went very well) , the weather’s been gray and cold, I’m not ‘ready’ for Christmas, nor do I have any spirit for it, and I’m simply tired of cancer and all it entails. Even as I write this, I realize I’m whining and that people don’t read this blog because they want to hear about my problems.  I hope you’re reading it because you are, like me, looking for inspiration and optimism in finding ways to deal with the challenges of Peak Oil, Climate Change and Economic Collapse that we’re facing in our lives and our world. You can delete this post now if you can’t handle some negativity because that’s how I’m feeling today, with a sense of urgency about the transitions that need to take place in our lives, in our households and in our communities. Surely I’m not alone?

Over the last five years I’ve studied countless books, blogs and articles to try to understand the issues that I then try to relay to you in this blog, without any hysteria or hype, just the facts ma’am. However, I’m noticing a change of tone in the things I’m reading these days. Rather than authors writing about mitigation techniques, which the dictionary defines as lessening the force or intensity of something unpleasant, they’re now discussing adaptation, which is defined as altered behaviors. In other words, it’s the next step after mitigation. The latest things I’m reading are now focusing on how we’ll have to adapt to all kinds of differences in our daily lives, as the energy supplies, infrastructure, resources, money and water dry up. We’re wayyy past changing lightbulbs and clipping coupons folks!

Locally, I’ve heard stories from people I know and trust about how they’re trapping and killing backyard squirrels to supplement the beans on their dinner tables. I’ve listened to a well-educated and intelligent family member cry over her inability to find a decent paying job, even though she’s living in a major metropolis area and has put out many applications. I’ve seen firsthand the uptick in folks coming to the churches, food pantries and soup kitchens for food,  some WHILE ON THEIR LUNCH BREAK from school or work. I’ve heard from car dealers about the shortage of affordable and reliable used cars for sale across the country and from renters about the shortage of affordable, decent places to live. I’ve witnessed the progression of gold and silver buyers, the ‘cash for your title’ outfits, and the “Payday Loan” sharks that are renting cheap buildings and catering to the poorest among us. I can’t help but notice the number of one hundred year storms that have occurred in the last couple of years alone, while more and more cities and states are leaving the storm damages and destroyed infrastructures to be dealt with by the survivors. I’ve also learned that some countries are already putting into place strategies and transition plans to enable their populations to weather what’s coming.  In other words, we’re no longer doing much mitigating, we’re adapting already!

I know part of the reason that I feel as though Pollyanna has left the building is that we’ve almost reached the winter solstice and the coldest, darkest days of the year are upon us, and that Michael’s health care is wearing us both down. But we are adapting to our new circumstances, and finding ways to not just survive this, but to improve our lives and thrive. Even on the bad days like today. And this I know too: Liveable communities that have learned to produce food, energy, water, products, and incomes locally will not only survive but thrive too. These re-localized economies will interconnect with others globally.  They will prosper together. A decentralized network like this will grow very quickly as word of their success grows. Soon, these communities will not only replace the things that were lost with the demise of the global economy, they will find ways to improve upon them.  To do better than what’s possible in our current global systems and lives. That all makes a bad day seem better 😀


5 Comments so far
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Sam, it IS so easy to feel discouraged when there are setbacks along the way. I have no way to understand how this can happen to Michael and you! But LOTS of people love you and send love and emotional support to you! You continue to “minister” to all of us even in your darkest hours.

Comment by Deanna

Hang in there, Sam. Things will get better with the return of the light.

Comment by Doug

We do read your blog for those inspirations and all your good ideas, but your blog also includes your own life and life issues. I’m glad his surgery went well.

Comment by sarasinart

At times when changes in my world, both in the largest sense and my own small piece of it, seem to be moving so fast that I feel despair of ever keeping up, let alone adapting, it’s a knowledge of the long reach of history that keeps me sane. I imagine what it must have been like for our ancestors to notice that the high cliffs of ice to the north of their green homeland were receding, and that the shoreline was a bit higher every year. What it must have been like to see the younger generation no longer wish to have any part in the age-old rituals honoring Zeus, Poseidon, Aphrodite and all the other gods which we knew gave protection, choosing instead to listen to speakers extol the strange ideas of a prophet who had been living and teaching near Jerusalem up to just a few years ago. What fears must have engulfed the people of Europe as they saw their neighbors who were healthy and laughing on one day sicken and die by the following morning with this thing called “the Plague”.

When I was in Moscow in 1990, I was asked by Svetlana, an anxious single mother, “There are such changes happening in Russia today that i am frightened for my daughter. Where can I take her where we will be safe?”, I gave her the only answer I could. “There is no such place. Everywhere in the world has its own risks and hazards. But you might also choose to stay and become part of creating the new Russia, together, building a new country that you can only imagine today.” Now, some 24 years later, the USSR is now the “USS-Was” – a change which no doubt changed everything in Svetlana’s life.

Yes, change can be unnerving and frightening, whether it happens on a global or very personal scale. Will we survive such transitions? Yes, the sun will keep coming up tomorrow. Yes, some things we would wish could stay the same will, with time, become only “back when” memories – part of our shared history. And yes, your last paragraph contains much wisdom and perspective for us all, Sam. If we consider adaptation to change to not be signal of a failure to stop change, but a call to new thinking, new forms of community and a new way of life, together we will be able to build a new world built on the best of what we bring with us from the past.

Comment by Sandy Westin

Sandy, good to hear from you! I wish I was the ‘wordsmith’ you are! I love what you said: ” If we consider adaptation to change to not be signal of a failure to stop change, but a call to new thinking, new forms of community and a new way of life, together we will be able to build a new world built on the best of what we bring with us from the past.” I sure hope you’re right 🙂

Comment by simpleintn

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