“Don’t adventures ever have an end? I suppose not. Someone else always has to carry on on the story.”
~ J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring
“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.”
~ Helen Keller, The Open Door
If I have to mention one single moment in 2014 that had a deep impact on me it was this: I was at the Permaculture Teacher’s Training facilitated by Jude Hobbs at O.U.R. Ecovillage and we had an “after class” relaxing moment around the fireplace of the Taj. There were, apart from us teacher-students, a few alumni who came to share their wisdom.
When it has their turn one of them shared how it was for him the sudden realization that we may be close to NTHE/NTE (Near Term Human Extinction/Near Term Extinction) and that this was being caused by us, humans. He shared how he struggled with deep pain and depression and even thought about ending his own life. There was a strange silence in the room: these are not usual themes of conversation in mainstream meetings…these are conversation and friendships’ killers.
This person, however, is one of the most active ones in Permaculture, doing what he talks and teaches about. A person full of energy, positivism and good feelings who works hard to get sustainable and regenerative systems in place…
Earlier on 2013, I had read David Holmgren’s book “Future Scenarios” and his last work “Crash on Demand”. Holmgren is obviously somebody who is fully aware of the issues we are facing and doesn’t sugar-coat his messages. But he is also one of the most dedicated permaculturists who truly lives and walks the talk: we are not doing this just because is beautiful, fun and ethical. We are doing this because is probably our only chance to deal with what’s coming.
My second “event” in 2014 was meeting an incredible crew of permaculturists around the world who supported me when I was translating “Crash on Demand” for those in Spanish speaking countries, a version you can find here and here.
Among this group, I also found extraordinary people such as Holger Hieronimi who has been practicing and teaching Permaculture in Mexico and, more recently, Colombia and Gaia University (Spanish version)
My point is: you can know in your mind and your heart that (as the last newsletter from the Post Carbon Institute wisely says) there are no solutions…and still continue working on ways to build resilience and help people enjoy life.
And that is what “Active Hope” is all about: you may know there are no “solutions” (if by “solutions” they mean keeping this system as it is) and you know that you may never see the outcome of what you do, but you still work on it.
As Derrick Jensen says in this article: hope keeps us attached to a moribund and abusive system. Hope clings on others and assigns blame when these others don’ t respond as we expected. Hope is passive, it is giving up, as we put all the responsibility in those outside us: God, the government, the policy makers, the community, our neighbours…
Active Hope, on the other hand, is us taking responsibility and being accountable, picking up ourselves from the floor and starting to build (again and again) a new garden, a new workshop, a new friendship, chains and chains of resilience, compassion and love: Active Hope.
For some of 2015 Kick off projects where I participate/create, check:
FAC – Food Matters
Permaculture Teachers Training 2015 (I’ll be the Teacher Assistant for Jude Hobbs this year)
OS _ Permaculture with Delvin Solkinson and Bruno Vernier
“Plan for what it is difficult while it is easy, do what is great while it is small.”
― Sun Tzu, The Art of War