When Crisis Threatens

Thanks to a review in Permaculture Activist magazine, I found a little book called Small Stories, Big Changes: Agents of Change on the Frontlines of Sustainability. It’s a collection of inspiring voices from the community resilience movement. Each chapter is written by someone actively engaged in the world’s remaking.

Here’s a passage from the very first chapter that gives you a taste.

Goat milking, by V Becker, via flickr Commons

Goat milking, by V Becker, via flickr Commons

“(A) community of busy farmers, gardeners, goat-milkers, trail-builders, engineers, scientists, windmill climbers and solar installers…have led our society’s journey toward sustainability…

They are leaders because their excitement is stronger than their fear.

Logically, when crisis threatens we need to subdue our fear in order to take constructive action. But taking action also somehow diminishes our fear…Once we get busy we’re not as scared any more.

Perhaps we don’t control the forces changing our climate when we grow a few vegetables, but we do influence those forces, and I think the activity profoundly changes our perspective. The situation immediately seems more manageable when we begin to manage.”

—Bryan Welch, publisher of Mother Earth News

Photo by julochka, via flickr Commons

Photo by julochka, via flickr Commons

Have you found this to be true? I have, especially when I’ve gotten “the help of a few believers, supporters, and friends who light the way through the dark nights,” as David Orr describes elsewhere in the book. When I am at my lowest is usually when I’ve fallen away from hands-in-dirt activities for whatever reason, or when I’m feeling isolated. It’s easy to fall into this trap in winter especially.

But when I’m pulling together with neighbors to scheme a project or clean up my block or make a big batch of sauerkraut, I feel ready to face anything.

What about you? I’d love to hear about action you’ve taken—and how it impacts your anxiety level about the state of the world.

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