It is difficult to imagine anyone not being greatly disturbed by the disparity in views in our country, not only about where we should go, but what is real and what is true. There seems to be a loss of trust and a sense of who we are as Americans, and, with that, the very rule of law is in jeopardy. When we formed Transition Vashon many years ago and I started writing this column, we were talking about becoming more self-sufficient and resourceful as a community in the face of a possible breakdown of the economic and political institutions in our country and the world. That breakdown was expected due to declining fossil fuel supplies as well as other resources and the possible onset of climate change. In retrospect, we didn’t expect that climate change would manifest as quickly as it has, and we especially didn’t foresee the serious social schism we are facing today. I want to emphasize that Transition is not a survivalist strategy. The hope is that enough communities across the world will become resilient enough to carry us all forward to a more stable time. Communities that continue to function will be able to help those that don’t—sort of like putting your own oxygen mask on first so that you can help others.
As dreary as it all looks, we have to think of it as an opportunity to make big changes for the better. It won’t be easy, though, and it will require that a lot more of us jump into the fray.
We need to continue the good work of making our community more resilient as we have been doing. We grow a lot of our own food and could reach something like self-sufficiency if we really worked at it. Our diets would have to change radically, but we could do it. More people are riding bikes now, and electric vehicles and solar panels are more common, although we depend on technology from the wider world for those things. The important thing is to remember that our own well-being is dependent on the well-being of the community and the wider world.
At the same time, we need to exert our influence in the wider world because what happens there greatly impacts the smaller world of our community. We all have to be multitaskers now. Changing our lifestyle, making more for ourselves, using less, teaching, sharing, and helping each other is one thing, but, at the same time, we all have to become activists to regain our power to change policies at the state, national, and global arenas.
Coming up this month, we have opportunities to advance both our community and our work in the outside world. Locally, we have the next Fixit Café coming up once again at the Eagles on the highway south of town on Saturday, Oct. 20, from 10 am to 2 pm. For those not familiar, this is an opportunity for you to get household items fixed for free by your neighbors. Items can include household appliances (we do a lot of lamps), furniture (things one person can carry unaided), clothing, sometimes jewelry, bicycles, and other undefinable items that a dedicated fixer really enjoys. No small engines or anything that leaks toxic fluids please. We only ask that you stick around and assist. Fixers are people that have already learned that it is enjoyable to figure out how to fix things, and you will find that the feeling is contagious. A great deal of fixing is observation and common sense, although not all fixes are that straightforward, and some are not possible. But, through the first four cafes that we have held, we have managed to fix close to 90% of what comes our way. You’ll find that the ambience is fairly festive, and you will probably be glad you came, even if your toaster is toast. Kids love it too. Having the Eagles host us has been a real boon. You can even buy lunch there, and we recommend it. This is community building at its best.
As to the wider world, if you are a progressive, email Kevin Jones at firstname.lastname@example.org to receive his weekly report of all the things you can be doing. If you are conservative, find a local Republican operative and find out how you can plug in. I would rather have us all engaged in some way and influencing each other rather than being passive observers.
We have a Ballot-palooza Night coming up at the High School on Monday, Oct. 22 at 5:30 – 9:00 p.m. to talk about what is on your ballot this November. We will have no national candidates, but our candidates for State Senate will be there to answer your questions. We also will have proponents for and hopefully against the five initiatives that will be on the ballot, and hope that we can answer your questions about those. The event is also a fundraiser for the Riptide staff (high school paper), and the journalism students will participate in running the event. Hope to see you there! Democracy is not a spectator sport.