Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Reflecting on The Options

Yesterday I looked into the abyss and noted that we are living in changing times, and many don't know how to deal with the changes. They want to maintain BAU. The changes we face are occurring now, slowly and seeming to be nearly invisible. So it is easy to believe that we will continue down the path we know of economic growth, one that was promised to us long ago. Yet the dynamics at work in the world now almost certainly ensure that what we expect to happen, based on the promises of the past, most certainly will not happen, at least for many and future generations will not experience the material wealth we take for granted now. If the American Dream, as generally understood, is no longer viable, what then are the alternatives?

First of all, we have to begin with the basics. The political environment reflects what We The People are willing to allow. So long as we keep on electing the same faces, and achieving the same results (or lack of same) we can hardly expect change to be led by that quarter. Either boot out the rascals and get new faces in place, or convince the current suspects that it is to their political advantage to act as leaders and not as candidates in a perpetual search for votes.

On a personal level, Jeffrey Brown (aka Westexas at The Oil Drum) has proposed a methodology known as ELP; Economize, Localize, Produce. You Economize by reducing your exposure to the credit economy - Pay Down Your Debts! You Localize by directing your money to local businesses. You Produce by engaging in work involving a productive skill (ex. carpentry) vs something more intellectual (ex. analysis type work). Engaging in an ELP approach on an individual basis will enable you to prepare yourself (and hopefully your family) for an uncertain financial future.

In Rogers Park we have Transiton Rogers Park and the Ward 49 Green Corps as examples of sources to aid in the localization of the economy. Focusing on local businesses as our sources for food, clothing, etc. will help us to survive the loss of a supply chain based on globalized resources. When you go to Dominick's or Jewel where do you think your fresh food comes from? Check the labels. It isn't necessarily American farms.

Educate yourself! Learn what is really going on in the world. Look behind the headlines in the mainstream media (MSM). Consider what else you can do to prepare for an uncertain future. Be an example of change to your friends and family members.

Build your connections. No man, or woman, can be an island. Engaging with our neighbors and the communities we are part of, whether religious, neighborhood, or other groups, will help as we navigate the changes coming our way.

The future is in a haze that makes it impossible to know for certain what awaits us. I believe that BAU will not be there for my nieces, nephews and grand niece. Their future may be better or worse (or some combination thereof) than the present. What I am sure of is that we will ultimately determine that the future. Are you ready to walk into that haze and creat that future?

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