We can never go back.
Life will never be as it was when most of us were growing up here in North America because, despite what we were told by clever advertising, our lifestyle has always been unsustainable as a way of being on the Earth. The pressing question is: do we use our energy to desperately hang on (and prop up) an outdated way of life, or do we focus on creating a more sustainable, fair and harmonious one?
Here are some of the ideas that AFN moviegoers put forward for promoting change in our lives:
Stop accumulating stuff.
• Don’t buy anything that you can’t reuse.
• Buy locally produced and grown products and use local services
• Avoid buying corporate products and services. Buy Fair Trade products when you can. Examine attempts by corporations and businesses to “greenwash” (make it sound like they are creating caring, sustainable and healthy products and working conditions when they may not be at all).
• Avoid buying things that come on styrofoam trays or are packaged in plastic. Ask businesses to give you the item unpackaged.
• Repair things instead of buying new, even if it costs the same. This keeps repair persons in a job and makes less landfill (plus, often older items are more sturdily made than new ones).
• Don’t use bottled water. Refill your own bottle and remember to take it with you.
• Buy used items rather than new ones whenever possible. And recycle your usable but no longer needed items.
• Learn how to grow and produce your own: food, personal care and cleaning products and vitamins (by juicing fresh vegetables and fruit).
• Avoid trying to change the way you look by artificial means. Accept your body.
• Establish local cooperative enterprises in the agricultural, retail, grocery, health food, tourist, restaurant sectors and in producing value-added products and services to provide stable livelihoods and profit-sharing based on economic participation and to build a more resilient, unified community.
• Use the public library. We are fortunate to have such a wonderful service.
Work with the natural ecological cycles.
• Find and implement ways to change waste to energy.
• Use grey water for irrigation.
• Advocate for a composting depot in Sooke
• Support local farms and join and advocate for community gardens.
Connect to community.
• Trade goods and services and/or use a local currency more and participate in the money system less.
• Connect with community websites, newspapers and bulletin boards to promote and find out what is happening in your area (e.g. “Transition Cafes” on the first Sunday of every month at 3 p.m. at the Reading Room to discuss ideas for making Sooke a more sustainable, less fossil-fuel dependent community).
• Write letters, give input to decision-makers, join committees, advocate for sustainability wherever you can.
• Approach town council about establishing bylaws that promote sustainable building (and demolition) practices.
• Advocate for tax breaks and support for people who create or invest in alternate sources of power generation.
• Explore ride sharing locally and for regular commuting.
• Bank with credit unions rather than large profit-making banks; invest in the real, local economy rather than in stock market, hedge funds etc.
• Educate children for emotional intelligence (less screens/more participatory life; be involved in what is happening in your child’s school).
• Eat real, fresh, living food. Avoid processed, chemical-laden foods that fog up the brain, dampen the spirit and clog up the heart, all of which are needed in order to be present, responsible and connected with life.
• Avoid cell phones, mobile phones, and other wi-fi and sleeping close to electronic appliances as these can interfere with your natural energy fields making you less able to focus and can also be harmful to your health.
• Commune with nature as often as you can (leave your machines and technology at home).
• Slow down and proceed with care (be mindful); be grateful; listen; smile; be good to each other and remember that we are all in this together.
• Take responsibility; speak out; be resilient; be strong.
• Listen to your inner knowing; try to work with anyone who sets him/herself up as an authority over you and help that person to instead work with you and listen to you, or else remove yourself from the situation.
• Involve as many people in the community as possible in all of these initiatives – a few of us individually will make a little difference, all of us working together can change the world. We are the 99 per cent.