Monday, February 27, 2006

A retrospective

This post is a guided tour through my blog posts since mid-October, intended to show the development of my new determination to live as lightly and locally as I can (within reason).

I'll throw in some links to posts on other blogs that have been a significant influence, as well.

Before I get to all that, I want to mention a couple of my favourite posts from my first few months of blogging. Shadow of a Butterfly was written before I started feeling guilty about the time invested in this hobby. Two posts that help to explain the depth of my concern for the environment are Ocean acidification and Rising CO2: more food, less nourishment?.

Now for the recent developments. At the beginning of November, I was becoming disillusioned with the usual conservation measures promoted by the government. At the end of that month, I started my Advent Calendar (never completed) with a bit of the joy and peace I still find in nature. Then I admitted my diminishing hope that anything significant can be done about human-induced climate change.

By Christmas, the influence of Eleutheros was showing through clearly. I highly recommend starting right at the beginning of his archives, patiently scrolling down to the first post in each month and then working back through them all (as I finally did at the end of January). If you don't have time for that, the selected articles that follow should give you a good summary of his influence on my thinking.
The Beginning of Wisdom
Back Off, Varmint!
Babylonian Implant
A Fortune in your Morsel
Craving a Boon
Therewith to Be Content
Rubik's Cube
Ptocheiopsis (Part 1)
Ptocheiopsis (Part 2)
Ptocheiopsis (Part 3)
Meat Offered to Idols (note the comments to this post as well)
Blogotopia (and note the comments)
If We Had Some Eggs (and note the comments here also)

Speaking of Christmas, here's another aside: on December 24th I made two sombre posts, and the responses were notable. The first post got no response at all in the comments, which I found odd. The second drew a rich warmth of shared feelings, and I was glad that we lonely folks were able to comfort one another a little.

And another aside - my Winter Botany series shows how persistent I can be, just because something is interesting. It also explains where some of my time went in January. Update - an afterthought - I may be persistent, at times, but I'm also aware of the fact that I didn't finish that series. I'm having trouble fitting my native plant enthusiasm into my new framework of priorities.

Some of my time in January went to reading other bloggers' discussions about self sufficiency. I summed up my thinking on these discussions in Regional Insufficiency.

Here at the end of the tour, I am surprised to see how little I have actually written in this blog, regarding the course of my thoughts. Although it might look like a big change to some, I would say that my interest in self sufficiency is really just a settling into place of a lot of pieces that were there all along:
  1. my sense that environmental distress is much greater than just whatever topic is currently making the news, and that most of the old environmental topics are not resolved, just old;
  2. my sense (from experience) that most environmental projects, campaigns, and measures are only slowing or shifting impacts and not eliminating the causes;
  3. and my growing conviction that public education campaigns will never catch up to the growing pressures (and in fact, are often designed to fail by dodging the crucial issue of lifestyle choices, in order to protect revered economic growth).
Greater self sufficiency would accomplish at least three things:
  1. It would reduce our direct contribution to the exploitation of the biosphere and of poor labourers around the world.
  2. It would confront my neighbours with a more effective message than any amount of government advertising and educating about conservation. (If I, being educated about the issues, won't take these steps to conserve, who will?)
  3. It would put us in a better position to weather a collapse in services, which seems increasingly likely as more and more systems are pushed towards their limits.
Finally, I would like to acknowledge the challenge and example of Contrary Goddess, the questing wisdom of Jim at Earth Home Garden, the sober reality (sweetened with relentless curiosity) of Wayne at Niches, and the honest day-to-day sharing from Madcap Mum and from Deb at Sand Creek Almanac. Their influence is not as sharply focussed as that of Eleutheros, so I have not attempted to select particular posts from their blogs, but undoubtedly their community has been vital to my growth. Thank you all.


Jim said...


I'm honored to be among the community of bloggers who have interested or inspired you.

And I see that it's bascially the same community I look to for inspiration and fellowship, and I include you in that group as well.

I also find Eleutheros' lifestyle exemplary. His encyclopedic knowledge fascinates me and I find his self-reliance and resolute confidence quite refreshing in a world of people who seem to be helplessly content in relying on "experts" to solve their problems for them.

The conversations in our blog community have me re-examining my own responsibilities, focusing on them in sharper detail, and I appreciate your contributions to the process.

Deb said...

I too am honored to be named as one of those from whom you draw inspiration; I certainly come to your blog often to find an inspiring voice, and to the others you have named as well.

I'm afraid my blog has not been as linear or focused as it could be, but then again if it was it wouldn't be me and would not reflect the many facets of meaning I find in my life.

arcolaura said...

Jim - Thank you.

Deb - I like it that way. I sometimes wonder how Eleutheros can present such a linear, focussed blog when he's weaving all sorts of tasks together through the same space of time. I guess there must be a lot going on there that we don't see. And I like his blog that way, too. From his blog I get message, from yours I get companionship - they're both inspiration.

Madcap said...

I visit you for the same reason, Laura, because you seem to be fighting through lots of the same stuff I am. Thanks.