Ecopsychology: Addiction Recovery for a People (pt. 5 of 5)
So today, dear reader, I would urge you to be involved in sustainable business. For many of this you this may mean as customers: every local farmer needs at least a couple dozen of them. If that’s too much and overwhelming, don’t sweat it. There really are times when you have to buckle down and just survive, ‘cause I’ll say it again—it’s an insane, addicted, codependent, abusive world we live in. Get through this and we’ll talk again when things are better.
Or if you’re in a more secure place and mere patronage doesn’t feel “big” enough for you, there are scads of other things you can do to forward local agriculture in your area—it’s struggling and really can use some passionate non-farmers to fill in the gaps. Maybe you could find a few friends from church and your neighborhood to form a buying co-op and bring in weekly deliveries of some local food that you can’t get in stores, but is too far away to justify actually driving to the farm to get it every. stinking. week. Start a middleman business moving fresh produce from small local farms to local institutional buyers like schools and hospitals—a big missing link in most communities, because neither farmers nor institutions have time to devote to this. (Farmers would love it if you did any of these things. Really, they would.)
You, or any enterprising 16+ year old with a driver’s license, could start a diaper service. Or a composting diaper service, if you live in a desert.
Partner with a beginning farmer. (Joel Salatin, alternative farmer extraordinaire, discusses this at length in his books—I couldn’t have thought of this on my own.) A lot of people have dreams of retiring early to farm. Here’s the bad news: Farms have a life cycle, and by the time you hit early retirement, you’re already going to die too soon for your farm to be viable as anything but a hobby. It’s our economy’s cruel little joke that once you’re financially established enough to start something, it’s too late to see it through. I only see this getting moreso as student debt continues to climb.
How about instead, you partner up with someone whose gut-busting-labor years are still ahead of them? You can provide them with capital and general worldly experience that they need desperately. They can take their energy and go far with it, providing you with some side income and maybe a sweet farm to live on in your working and retired years, and be established enough to carry the cycle on when you pass. This, to me, is one of those Spirit of Elijah things—we need to bring our generations back together in this way just for our own selves, and if we’re serious about replenishing the earth.
If your town, like mine, has a suburban expanse connected to the main workplace districts by roads that get rock-solid constipated during rush hour, another partnership of the established-and-moneyed with the young could run a jitney shuttle service.
Become a solar power baron. States and utilities are draggin’ their fool feet, so it’s probably just up to people like us. I would suggest teaming up with farmers or warehouse businesses; they often have big roofs so the installation cost per watt is much lower than it would be if you put little panels on individual homes. Also, farms and businesses are often eligible for tax breaks or outright refunds that homes are not. Should you and/or your co-op manage to install enough acreage, you may even find yourself in a good bargaining position to get a better rate from the power company.
…And so forth. The moral of the story is we can’t just be choice takers if we want to be good stewards. We have to create the choices we want. We also need to ensure that the means by which those choices are provided are self-sustaining—that they can provide at least a sideline income—so that we don’t remain dependent on our abusers.