Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Occupy Your Life

Over the past few decades we have become a nation of outsourcers. Just as the giant corporations outsourced manufacturing and jobs to overseas, in our personal lifestyles we have outsourced the basic skills of daily living (often to those same giant corporations). We have given our lives over to reliance on giant systems — systems that are driven by the 1%, by the easy credit of Big Banking, and cheap oil. The resulting dependence has left us feeling disempowered, has created a dependence on high cash flow, and has left us vulnerable.
Skills our great grandparents knew as essential, most of us barely know how to do. For skills like growing food, cooking, food preservation, sewing clothes, basic building, basic medicine, we now turn to corporate interests. In fear, we tell each other one must use a “skilled professional.” It is time to “Occupy our Lives.” Time to participate in the other half of Gandhi’s model. Time to take back those portions we outsourced to the broken system. It’s time to take back the basic skills of daily life into our own hands. This action is protest, it is survival technique for hard times, and it is preparation for the dawning post-petroleum era. But it also brings with it that clean, fulfilling feeling of self-sufficiency, pride in accomplishment, and wholesome living.

“Occupy Your Life” is call to take it back.

1) Take back your food. Every dollar you spend to Big Agribusiness — every dollar you spend at Big Box stores or conventional grocery stores — reinforces, supports, and endorses the horribly broken system Vandana Shiva campaigns against. Instead, buy from farmers markets and Community Supported Agriculture (CSAs) as often as possible — they’re much more likely to be growing more sustainably. Keep your local farmer in business. As peak oil unfolds, we need that local food production up and running, in close proximity to the urban centers where the people are. Also, learn how to grow food yourself.

Fill every nook and cranny of your cityscape with food production. >> more: “Why Eat Local Food” (pdf) >> Food Not Lawns by H.C. Flores

2.) Take back your money. As you join the Move Your Money campaign to quit the Big Banks, get vocal. Urge your community bank or credit union to invest in our future — to invest in, support and promote local projects which better prepare your neighborhood for post-petroleum lifestyles. Additionally, realize that the U.S. dollar is not the only way to achieve transactions between people. Barter, time banking/LETSystems, sharing arrangements, and gift cultures are a few of the many ways to get our needs met without U.S. dollars. Diversity is necessary in our money supply too! >> more: “A Multiplicity of Financial Vehicles” >> Janelle Orsi, The Sharing Solution >> “Community-based investment”

3) Take back your health care. Learn the skills of basic wellness, yourself, without reliance on Big Pharma, the health insurance racket, nor AMA approval (a form of branding, of fear-based control, and a way of limiting the market solely to insiders). Learn the skills of traditional healing modalities and practice them with your family. >> The Healing Arts: Exploring the Medical Ways of the World, Ted Kaptchuk and Michael Croucher >> “Healing Without Harm ,” by Joel Kreisberg, DC >> Campbell, Anneke, “Sustaining our Health Care” >> more resources: Health Care subheader, here

4) Take back your livelihood. The hours of your working day, your time, are the very fabric of your life. If the crumbling conventional economy has already unseated you, become part of the new future. Take Vandana Shiva’s examples to heart — most of the world does not depend on corporate jobs for their living. What are your skills? In your times of unemployment or underemployment — or in your leisure time — what new skills can you pick up which better prepare you, your family, and your neighborhood for a powerdown future? As we localize our economies with the end of cheap oil and easy credit, what basic goods or services can you provide for your local community? What need can you fill?>> “Rethink the idea of ‘jobs’”>>“Resilience-building businesses and industries”

5) Take back your value system. Reclaim feel, taste, smell, as valuable attributes. That hard, red, round thing from Costco or WalMart doesn’t count as a tomato. Mere count or thingness isn’t where it’s at anymore. Allow your inner sense of “right” to overcome the advertising slogans of Wall Street. We certainly aren’t experiencing “better living through chemicals”! Reclaim environmental stewardship, social equity, and deep satisfaction. Yes, by the counting system created by Wall Street and the 1%, many of the practices I’m suggesting won’t seem to measure up. They won’t count on your bottom line nor on your income tax return. But they’ll count in your heart, in your soul, in your sense of justice and of satisfaction with life. more: “Redefine ‘Success’” Carl Honore, In Praise of Slowness: Challenging the Cult of Speed Dave Wann, Simple Prosperity Cecile Andrews, Less is More “New Economic Indicators” It’s time to figuratively “sew seeds into the hems of our dresses.” Time to gather up the attributes of what is precious about life, to capture that vast diversity, and carry it with you as we journey to new frontiers — as our society moves into a new era. Joanne Poyourow is part of the Transition movement in Los Angeles. She is the author of three books, including “Economic Resilience: What we can do in our local communities.”  The full text of “Economic Resilience” can be read online at

By Joanne Poyourow
15 November, 2011
Transition US

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