by Michael Smith (Veshengro)
As someone said: “The system is not broken. It was designed this way”. And this this definitely appears to be case and more and more people are slowly coming to realize that fact.
Yes, it is true that people have been dropping out and have been developing alternative ways of living before, such as the Hippies in the late 1960s and the 1970s and even well before that, but this shift is something much bigger; much bigger indeed.
The Transition (Town) Movement, which started in a smalll place in Ireland and the proper in Totnes in Devon, England is but a small part of this shift. Individuals, families and groups in other countries have brought forth even more radical ventures. People and groups in Germany here seem to be in the lead with the food rescuers (Lebensmittelretter), who dive dumpsters for food tossed out at the end of the business day by stores and even have “contracts” with some store chains to pick up such foods before they go into the dumpsters; food sharing, which is part of the former top some extent; intentional communities, once called communes, and other acts by individuals, groups and organizations.
While we have had alternative currencies for a fair number of decades, well before the Transition Movement ones, such as Ithaca Hours and LETS, and some form of barter trade has been going on ever since it was – officially – replaced by money, the sharing economy, segments of which are springing up all over, and in various forms, is something rather new. As is the “money strike” as practiced by Raphael Felmer (in Germany), and others, trying to live without money.
Others are choosing to come together to live in what was used to be called communes in the 1960s and 1970s, which today are referred to as intentional communities, in many different locations and locales, growing their own food and having all things in common (or not, as the case may be) and trying to live, more or less, outside the system.
People all over the world, especially in the so-called developed nations (though at times I wonder about our developed status as to how far we really have developed), appear to begin to understand that we must change the way we live, the way we work, produce and consume, and the system, and that this change first and foremost has to start with each one of us individually and personally. No change of system and way we live, exploiting all of Nature and Nature's children, is possible is we, as individuals, do not change (from within).
Before any change on a larger scale can even be considered and affected each and every one of us has himself or herself to change and this change begins on a psychological level and must go over to the practical in our lives, families, etc. Only then can a change on a larger scale ever be attempted and achieved.
A definite shift is happening among people everywhere – especially, as said, in the “highly developed nations” – with places such as Germany, USA and Britain. Not only in those countries, though, this shift is noticeable. It can also be seen happening in poorer EU countries such as Italy, Spain and Greece, for example, and to an extent in those latter countries it is due to the imposed and enforced austerity measures.
While this shift, an almost revolution, is not officially recognized by the politicians it finds mention now quite frequently even in the mainstream media with the German papers, magazines and TV and radio channels in the lead, highlighting even happenings on this score in the UK and elsewhere while the British (and American) mainstream media is very silent on this matter.
Only occasionally the likes of the Transition Towns are mentioned and “food rescuers”, aka “dumpster divers” only get a mention when the police arrests and charges them with theft and even then the reasons for their actions are being highlighted.
Then again one could not possibly do that as that would shine a spotlight on the fact that stores are so very wasteful whether as regards to foods or other things, could one now? It would undermine the people's belief in the system, hammered into them almost from birth, unless they have been lucky enough to have been raised with different values.
The shift is not just one of environmental issues but of the system as a whole, economic, financially and politically, but at times it is not joined up enough and the “answers”, so to speak, concentrate often on just one, maybe two, segments. It is, however, the entire system that must be addressed and attacked in a combined way.
As said before, the system is not broken, it was designed that way and we must design and create a new system. And to this end we must work to join up all parts of it in order to bring about change, lasting and permanent change, though it must first begin with each and every one of us.