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!
A Fortune in your Morsel
Craving a Boon
Therewith to Be Content
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:
- 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;
- my sense (from experience) that most environmental projects, campaigns, and measures are only slowing or shifting impacts and not eliminating the causes;
- 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).
- It would reduce our direct contribution to the exploitation of the biosphere and of poor labourers around the world.
- 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?)
- 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.