?You Gather? Vegan & Climate Activism #1

As none of you will know (unless you’re reading this on Facebook) I’ve been involved with some of that there ole climate activism recently (as the Devon elders of my village probably never say). The radical kind that gets you arrested and whatnot. Fridays (today is a Friday) I am now having as ‘regenerative culture’ days, where I fast for most of the day, reflect on groundedness and take a breather from my combined activist-entrepreneur lifestyle. Extinction Rebellion is the non-violent direct action campaign that I am involved with. See the UK page here. On one level it’s a blast. On another level, it’s a very serious business -the most serious thing I have ever been involved with in my life. Extinction Rebellion (XR) is the very good reason behind me neglecting this blog recently.

I don’t regret anything. I have made some great friends in XR, learnt a whole lot about human-caused climate breakdown and I continue to work for the movement, for radical system change in the light of The Evidence of worsening ecological collapse -it’s a good job I’m long-sighted. I support XR even to the point of being arrested in London for peacefully blocking roads with hundreds of others. This is what happened a couple of weeks back.

But now it’s time for me to step back a little, to concentrate on self-regeneration and making a living. If I can’t generate an income for myself, then I can’t afford the luxury of being deeply involved in an activist movement. Not unless I renounced materialism completely, which I’m not prepared to do. My time spent in monasteries in my twenties has given me some good meditation skills and helped cultivate something of a non-attachment to life, but I choose to be materialistic right now, to be able to generate some cash to move about a bit, and maybe even to generate enough eventually, to redirect it to support causes like XR. And I’ll be careful about where and who that income comes from too.

Today, a Friday fast day, I made sure to get some air outside, walking the footpaths of North Tawton village in the biting cold. I enjoyed the bite of both the wind and the hunger pangs which I know strengthen this body for potentially tough times ahead -on the global level which I have strong empathy for.

Earlier, before my walk, I reflected on the product I am building, for a later release now of 29th March 2019. I have been collecting data for this product -a spreadsheet for activists, particularly vegan and climate activists in southwest England- by bookmarking websites. In the midst of this gathering work I realised that the most important kind of gathering is collecting of the self, in this modern society that is full of much opportunity (for some, for the privileged entrepreneur like me) and also so much fragmentation (for most of us). It is the greatest personal, even spiritual, work in modern times to collect everything you need -information, practices, parts of yourself- that may have been rendered inaccessible to you for a long time, or even since forever.

During my activism and reading recently I have encountered problematic dynamics between vegans and non-vegans, and also a lack of comprehensive efforts between vegan and climate movements to join together on some actions and campaigns. I hope that with my upcoming informational product I will gather and curate information in such a way as to encourage climate and vegan activists to work together more. I am vegan myself (usually!), but not militantly. I do empathise with militant vegans, I am just not one of you. If you are one, I would like to support you in getting through to non-vegans, at least non-vegan climate activists, in a diplomatic way.

It may be trite to say ‘We could all do with getting along more’, but it’s true, and I think we will see more co-operation between various environmental activist movements as the global ecological situation becomes more urgent still.

However, we must mindfully gather ourselves together, before attempting to gather others.

Listen to the audio representation of this post on Soundcloud here.

My Flat and the Corruption of Permaculture Zone 0 (Home#1)

My flat is where I can break down and then break through and build up again.

My flat, in the middle of Devon, accessible to Cornwall, North Devon, Dartmoor and Exeter by bicycle.

My modern flat, where I get very lonely, because I have not yet worked out how to reintegrate into the (concept of) community that is vaguely in all our hearts.

My flat, home of revolutionary plans and humble bumblings-along.

My flat in the lovely old Devon village of North Tawton, former home of Ted Hughes, (my empathy for Sylvia Plath). With the village gym (just for locals) down the road that I asked for in my envisioning, and shamanistic mushroom fields nearby.

My flat, in Permaculture terms ‘Zone 0’: the home; where the least effort / energy is expended physically to get day to day needs met; where most stuff happens; where conceptually and then practically, everything in (my) life can be integrated -an integration that serves energy efficiency as well as a resilient coherent replicable culture. Replicable coherent culture -a culture that can be repeated from day to day and month to month in a way that contains and nurtures us- this is key to well-being, to mental health. Human culture being ‘the sum of everything that we are and do’. Zone 0: the home; from where I sometimes wish I was elsewhere.

However sustainably we build our homes; however ingenious we make our ‘zone 0’s to be energy-efficient, ecologically low impact and handily located for food production and consumption, and for work; nevertheless our zone 0’s are fundamentally open to corruption in the modern world.

The corruption of zone 0 is the internet (and to a much lesser extent, the phoneline, whether mobile or landline). Firstly, if we are using the internet all day every day (if we work from home online, for instance) we have to ask ourselves what the environmental impact is. How can we assess the ecological impact of server farms and whatever else that keeps internet-based companies going that we use from day to day? (and not just the big ones like Google and Facebook).

If we can stick to wholesome resources on the net then so much the better; if we can continue to use it to connect to Tribes of likeminded positive changemakers around the world, then so much the better; however, with the events that have unfolded over the past few days in America, the former freedom of net-based connection and research that we have enjoyed, seems to be in doubt. New York Times: FCC Repeals Net Neutrality Rules

In this context, on an ideological level how can using the internet, with all its promises of foreign places and ideas, contribute to the corruption of our homes? When the most powerful corporate internet players now have an increased influence on what we can and can’t access, and the speed at which we can access our chosen domains, how can we retain integrity, from zone 0 outwards?