Resilience : How?

be grass
  • PRODUCE when/what you can : We all have become consumers of most things — almost everything, in our daily lives. If we remember to try produce a few of these, when possible and when the opportunity arises, we’ll make an impact. Not talking about the production of abstract work that is consumed in an abstract way in another part of the planet — but something either you or someone in your vicinity uses directly, visibly. Could be a little lamp you make, or gadget you fix, or a play or performance for your community, or growing food in the garden, or a wood fired oven in the yard, or home-dinner instead of a restaurant meal — just keep thinking about this and spotting opportunities. The self belief and skills are both a major part of being resilient, and it’s a lot of fun!
  • Try doing the HARD Things once in a while : Some of the huge changes will happen if cheap energy reduces. We will be need to walk/cycle more, take the bus more, live with a larger range of temperature and weather conditions than we’ve gotten accustomed to in the last century, and so on. Just to stay flexible, do some of what seem like the “hard” things once in a while. It makes you fitter and more agile both mentally and physically. There’s no long list, but each time you seek convenience, remember to think about doing the inconvenient thing as well and doing it if it seems like a useful thing to be flexible about in a changing world. Includes learning a few words in a new language, and eating stuff you didn’t think you’d ever need to, or want to.
  • Rethink NEEDS, especially new purchases : Do you really need to buy another pair of shoes? Right away? Do you need one more set of placemats for the table? Do you need the 3rd TV, or one more lamp, or rucksack, or whatever? At least give it a serious thought before you go ahead. If each of us resists impulsive buys and cuts back even 15%, that’s 15% less of everything on the planet that’ll get produced, junked, transported etc. More left to go. And you’ll have suddenly figured out you have plenty already. Wanting less is a huge step for resilience — financially, emotionally.
  • Make things LAST : A logical extension of the above is to make what you have last a lot, lot longer than you do. And imagine how everything we do might last a lot longer — remember the LED bulb mentioned earlier? It’ll need us to be comfortable with “older”, “slower”, and so on. It’ll need modular, smarter design, and upgradable components that are built to last. It may mean nothing is “cheaper” all the time any more. But that “cheap” is pretty expensive, when you really start to look at it over a longer term. It’s useful to pause and weigh the minor benefits (“better screen resolution”) against the costs for a replacement (e.g. read about cobalt mining) before you take a decision — it’s still ok to upgrade but the thought may delay a few needless ones. Just freeing yourself from a constant-consumer mode is very, very liberating and makes you, and our ecology resilient in very deep ways.
  • Understand Nature’s Ecosystem Services and Natural Cycles : When you see things around, do recognise the services nature provides — air, water, energy and other resources. Think about your dependence on them, and their dependence on each other in complex ways. Think about each action and imagine what could compromise this beautiful complexity, and lead to reduced levels of availability of those services that we critically depend on for a healthy, happy existence. As this understanding deepens, we’ll automatically realign to work with it rather than against it, and will enable a more resilient ecosystem — something that is very, very, very desirable.
  • KNOW People around you : Know who they are, what they do. In times of a crises, when we need the understanding of and solving of problems, people around are our best bet. Investing in relationships across professional, economic, ethnic boundaries etc in your region, building a strong connect and bond, helping people solve their problems and pitching in are all major tools for building long term resilience personally, and as a community.
  • Get INVOLVED in Problem Solving : We need to expand the set of problem solvers because the solutions will be many — big and small, and local and contextual. We need a support group, because these changes aren’t always easy, and sometimes social norms and established behaviours get in the way. We need to discover more opportunities and methods to be a little more resilient, to create a little more resilience around us, and to spread ideas about alternatives and ideas that are efficient while they improve our experience, or reduce the impact of the inevitable changes that our coming. Don’t worry about the size of the change, figure out a way to get involved.

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