24 May 2019, Charlie A Raya
Is facing climate change a first step towards substantial change?
Maybe climate change is the nudge the world needs for a proper rethink …
From where I stand, we could do with a proper rethink in most areas of our lives: the way we do business, the way we deal with each other, the way we consume, the way we design our lives, the way governments work, and so on. Preferably without any dogma or mumbo-jumbo.
WHAT IS YOUR TAKE ON CLIMATE CHANGE?
Alice: ‘You know, that doesn’t really matter to me.’
The temperature in the room dropped by several degrees. If only it were this easy for the climate, Alice thought.
She straightened a little in her seat and continued: ‘Do I believe that the climate changes? Sure, it’s what it does. Do I believe these changes are inflicted by humans? Sure, every single element contributes to the composition of air, water, and temperature.
And yet, it’s not the question for me. I would even say, look, the subject is a little too hot for me since people could justly argue that, to this day, nobody knows how to make a reliable weather forecast. So why should we believe anything about the climate at all?
For me it’s all about the choice between: bathing in plastic or not; eating food full of pesticides or not; walking in the stench of exhaust fumes or not; seeing stars at night or not; living with the constant humming of engines or not. Unfortunately, I could go on with this list for a while … The point for me is, it doesn’t even matter whether or not we are responsible for the present climate changes. What matters is that we are not doing ourselves any service with current practices. That is why we’ll not talk about climate change, pollution, gene manipulation, or packaging. We’ll simply go by common sense. How do I like my air? How do I like my food, and what is necessary so that we can live in a healthy environment?’
Quote from: book 1: beginning, chapter 6, The Easy Town Conference
If book 1 was set in 2019, I wouldn’t have put it quite like that (see quote above). At the time, I sympathised with people who felt that climate change was too abstract a concept. Besides, I wanted to make the point that the Easy Town Project didn’t focus on fighting against something but rather tried to approach all issues from what people could fight for. Today, I think, whether it is clever to rally behind something as abstract as climate change, or not, doesn’t really matter.
What matters is that we and our planet are suffering, and most of the suffering is self-inflicted. More importantly, we can change anything that is human-made.
CHANGES ARE ABOUT SURVIVAL
What people need to realise is that the proposed changes are about survival. The best we can do is reconnect with nature. Realise we are part of the bigger picture. Taming nature isn’t the way to go forward. Learning about it and being part of it — that is.
There are measures we have to take to survive. And that includes rethinking how and what we consume, how and why we work and so on. This is not about restricting people, it’s simply about surviving on this planet.
Notes for book 2: travelling, chapter 12, Romania
So, maybe the rallies against climate change are a first step towards rethinking how we live on this planet and with each other. The important thing is: if we are serious about saving the planet then there is nothing that doesn’t deserve our scrutiny. It is not enough to talk about renewable energies. We also need to talk about economic growth, consumption habits, using less energy, business practices, education, issues that divide us as people, and so on.
In the Easy Town Books, I pick up and explore such issues. For me it’s a thought experiment within a story. Or, to put it differently, the story helps me to think about approaches and measures that might improve our lives, and test them in fictitious situations and conversations.
One more thing: Easy Town is not about being against something. It will not be measured in terms of being better than any other project or system.
The core idea of Easy Town is about being curious, about trying out visions, about exploring and playing around with ideas, testing the limits of the possible, daring to try out the unconventional, questioning the inevitable, allowing for complexity. Whatever we find, might work today or for decades, but we don’t know whether in ten or a hundred years other measures will be necessary. It is crucial that we keep this in mind to make sure we don’t fall into the trap of ultimate truths like so many movements and religions. To put it more practically: Easy Town is FOR a more balanced lifestyle rather than against capitalism. Easy Town is an attempt to create a sustainable and, when needed, self-sufficient town that takes aspects like demography, ecology, art, health, work ethics and so on into account. Rather than making people fit the town, the town should fit people and their needs. Easy Town is an attempt to interweave all the relevant aspects of human well-being into a consistent, living and breathing whole.’
Quote from: book 1: beginning, chapter 1
So, maybe climate change is the nudge the world needs for a proper rethink of everything that has led to the troubled state of our planet, most importantly the way we do business. Book 1 introduces two business models that are, I believe, worth a try. It also introduces the job shakers – a rethink on how we could work.
School Climate Strikes
It’s great to see so many pupils, students and adults around the world take to the streets in the School climate strikes, demanding changes and wide-ranging discussions as well as much needed actions.
However, it’s a shame that there are still so many people who complain about missed school classes and deny that anyone — no matter the age — has a right to demand change. It would be so much better if we all went on strike, met in the streets, sat down and made a plan for the future. A plan that provides concrete measures, doesn’t leave any stone unturned, and doesn’t give lobbyist of any description room.
‘How would you tell that you had succeeded?’
‘In the way people walk, not stiff but relaxed; in the way they shake hands, not uncertain or crunching but firm in a relaxed, jovial way; in the way they talk, not arrogant but curious; in the way they dress, not in some uniform way but with the freedom of the sudden whim; in the way they eat, not stuffing their faces thoughtlessly but nurturing their bodies without causing harm; in the way they love, not demanding but indulging in each other; in the way we see each other, not as opponents but as equals even if peculiar; in the way we do business with each other, not exploiting but sharing ideas and opportunities; in the way we consume, not greedily but reflectively; in the way we build, not practical but pleasant; in the way we coexist with nature, not destroying it but as part of it … and so on.’
‘It does sound good. But …’
‘Humans are the most remarkable creatures on this planet. What we have achieved goes beyond imagination. We can figure out how to do better.’
Quote from: book 2: travelling, chapter 11, Otaon
all photographs © Charlie A Raya
Travelling around the world, Alice and her team set up an international network for the Easy Town Project. Travelling with them are the past, personal demons …
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