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Sunday, July 2, 2017

Stuff That Resonated With Me at the Green Wizardry Workshop

I usually find myself in a philosophical pickle.  Although I'm not some sort of alarmist prepper going on about an unreasonably specific disaster I full expect to happen in the next ten years, I have a lot of anxiety about the state of the world and where it's going, and I am very heavily influenced by anarcho-primitivists, anti-civilization activists, and other people you probably hate.

I found this on I think Genderqueer Gengar
and I laughed and laughed and laughed.

I don't really bring up my influence by these groups often because, as the graphic above indicates, there are lot of problems with those communities.  There's a gross overlap between transmisogynist radical feminists and every well-known offshoot of this philosophy, not to mention rampant ableism.  The idea that pre-civilization society was ideal and we ought to go back to it inherently includes the belief that folks who cannot live without modern medicine ought to have died, an idea that rightfully pisses people off, especially because a lot of these people seem to happily look forward to it.

For me, it's not about looking forward to things.  The idea that civilization is tumbling and could possibly end, especially considering how little humanity as a whole is doing to stop it and how much we are doing to make it worse, stresses me the fuck out.  I have a computer-related profession, I'm on my phone a lot, I love my Netflix and video games.  I would strongly prefer not to have to give these things up.

But things like global climate change, overuse of natural resources, overpopulation, lowered genetic diversity in our food, antibiotic resistance, waste, planned obsolescence, pollution, they're already happening, and they're already causing decline on so many levels, and preparing for that--preparing for times when we may need to rely on human power, on natural and low-energy medicine, on hunting and foraging, or--more likely--having these things as supplements to stave off our overuse of resources, these things are really important to me.  It's a case of "I hope this doesn't happen, and it probably won't happen to a disastrous degree in my lifetime, but if it does I want to help keep the knowledge of these skills alive for future humans."

I can't speak on Green Wizardry on its own because I haven't read the book (it's on my list but I have a long book queue), but the workshop I went to as Pagan Spirit Gathering really resonated with me because it talked about a lot of the stuff I already do but with a lot of energy-related information that could easily accommodate advances in healthcare and technology for the betterment of humanity.  The basic premise was to harness less energy, to rely more on human power, to use energy for fewer things.

One of the problems humanity has is that when we find a breakthrough in energy reduction, like a way to create appliances that utilize less energy than their predecessors, it doesn't result in a net reduction in energy used, it results in us getting more appliances, so our net energy use keeps going up rather than down.  So what the world really needs is ways of doing things that reduce the amount of energy we use, which in some cases sends us backwards, technologically speaking.  This is a great accompaniment to my habit of getting manual appliances whenever they're available, especially in the kitchen... I use hand-powered blenders, whisks instead of mixers, I tend to overall avoid getting electric appliances unless they preserve energy (I got a toaster, for instance, when I was toasting things in the oven too often for the energy of heating a whole oven to be worth it).  There are exceptions, but I tend to keep manual options, just in case (like my meat grinder, I'm glad I have it, but I admittedly also got an electric one as well because the manual one is such a supreme pain in the ass).  It's also important to recognize that the creation of all these things involves energy in its own right, so reducing disposables, foraging for food, gardening instead of having food imported, preserving food in ways that require less refrigeration, buying fewer things in general, are all a part of this.

Eventually what this can lead to, if it becomes a strong movement, is that we can dedicate the energy that we do produce--hopefully in a more sustainable manner than we produce it now--for things that are really important, like medical equipment.  We can have our medical advancement in a world that takes the decline of civilization into account and actually values the environment, but it turns into a pissing match between "all criticism of technological advancement is ableist" and "people should really be dying before 40 from preventable illness" without the realization that maybe neither of those are true.

This is an optimistic vision of the future that shows me that philosophies centered on preserving the environment and backtracking technology can be non-sociopathic.  The incessant articles talking about how millennials are ruining the economy gives me some hope in this, as my generation (especially those a bit younger than me, as I am admittedly an older millennial) doesn't define success and growth in the same destructive way as baby boomers do.  But I'm still pretty pessimistic, because I don't think people understand how deep the problem is.  In this case, the knowledge I try to hold and teach becomes its own backup plan... it can be used to stave off the worst parts of the problem, or it can be used to mitigate its effects.

I'm going on a lot of tangents that didn't really take place in the workshop... the point is that it made me think about a lot of things outside the actual content.

There was also a Green Wizards Meetup that I unfortunately couldn't go to due to a work shift.  I may try to go next year if it's there again (I know the Green Wizards stuff was also there last year and I couldn't go, so maybe it'll make another appearance).  This was a meeting place to talk about our own Green Wizardry type projects, largely DIY stuff.  I think my own lifestyle would be great for this kind of meetup, and I'd love to meet other Pagans who are that heavily into DIY.