If you’ve been on this planet and listening to it, or feeling the weather change year to year, or simply watching the news, you probably know that humanity is struggling to grow up. We seem to be trying to figure out to how to come up with some long term life plans. This struggle is something that I have thought about since I was old enough to understand how destructive we humans can be. It is a struggle I have internalized and have tried to sort out in my own life. I have long sought to figure out how to live free of the shortcomings of modern self abusive, resource intensive, and un-sustainable life style.
My art has started to directly address my thoughts and ideas about where we are failing, but I think the theme has been subtly embedded in my work since I started painting and drawing in my childhood. In fact I would say that social and environment responsibility has been the core motivator of all my art work and writing through out my life.
This isn’t a new realization or admission my any means, but as the world spirals faster and faster towards an environmental and social meltdown, I have become more urgent in my working toward solution. I am struggling more with finding sustainability and change toward a healthy and responsible life.
My birthday last week both impressed on me that time wears on with us humans still having far to go to grow up, and that huge strides can be made in the course of life if honorable and responsible living become the core of all life decisions, and values. For my birthday I received a great book that seems to hit this nail on the head.
The book Natural Living: The 21st Century Guide to a Self-Sufficient Lifestyle is a trove of knowledge about everything from gardening to keeping animals, cooking, canning, knitting and everything in between. The book mostly just touches on the key points of all these topics, but its enough to keep someone like me going in my quest. It will definitely augment my ongoing projects as they become bigger and better.
In all this I have learned that living a sustainable life is like any other skill or endeavor. It requires practice, learning from others, a support network, failures and perseverance. Lying deep in all these struggles, too, lie issues of freedom. To change, we need freedom over what we do and how we consume, yet we live in a time and place where we give up those freedoms too easily in the face of comfort and excess, and maybe disillusion.
Since I have moved into a mortgaged house, where I have more space and ability to make changes, I have realized that like so many science fiction tales stress, we live within ever changing and ever encompassing systems of control. What I can do in “my” house is actually very limited on many fronts as you may know or guess, but it does offer another step in my explorations and struggles.
Breaking free of some of those controls is a challenge, but the systems do begin to unravel as you work back toward a simple life with the seasons and soil as your guides. It is a paradox isn’t it, though. To regain a freer life we must submit more to the aspects of our lives that we actually have no control over.