When sifting through all the issues that we face as a civilization we can easily become overwhelmed with a sense of futility. How can one person positively impact their own situation and effect change on a much larger scale? We are at a tipping point right now in our history where we are being forced to change whether we like it or not. We do, however, have some say in how we change. Our political, corporate, food, health, environmental and social structures are degrading rapidly before our very eyes.
Our personal actions keep these social structures intact. The most important thing we can all do is to think critically, independently and become aware. Think about what you are being told and challenge the premise. Realize that the media is a business. Their job is to make money. They make money from advertisers and subscriptions from people like you and I. They are selling you a point of view, a lifestyle, a brand, a political view, etc. Dig deep and question the information. Our education system solidifies our future life path. We as parents, mentors and leaders must take back control of how we think and break the predetermined path that our younger people and future generations of people will take going forward. We need to lead by example and stop waiting for the government to fix our problems. The government is part of the problem and they are bought and paid for by corporate interests.
If we stop supporting specific aspects of each power structure, small changes will take root and bloom into positive change. Economy and jobs are the hot button topics that the media and government focus on. Money is the Holy Grail in our society today. We all know that Wall Street and mega-corporations are raping the social fabric of our society. Remove your money from their hands and they will have less power. Corporations will do anything it takes to get your money. If you alter your spending patterns, you can guarantee corporations will alter their businesses plans. If you purchase ethical and environmentally sound products and more people do the same, corporations will be forced to adapt or they will go out of business. As more businesses enter the “ethical” space, prices will drop because of free-market principles. Costs will go down as volumes and competition increase.
Support locally produced goods and services. The trickledown effect to local economies can be financially immense. For example, if you buy food from local farmers markets, the farmers benefit from higher income, the food is fresher & healthier and there is less environmental impact due to lower shipping costs.
Consider moving your bank accounts to credit unions and support local cooperatives. Companies such as Wal-Mart are destroying our standard of living. More and more jobs are being outsourced as consumers spend their money at Wal-Mart. It’s a vicious cycle that needs to stop. Support small and midsize local businesses. They are the biggest employer by far. You have the power to choose where you spend your money.
As well, make your money go further and purchase second-hand items as much as possible. Websites such as Craigslist and Kijiji are excellent spots to look for used items. Why buy something brand new and pay top dollar when you can get many items in near-perfect condition for 75% or more off the regular price or possibly free? Thrift stores are another excellent source of goods that can save you lots of money. Search the Web and you can literally find anything you want.
Oppose the operations of large corporations that are exploiting our existence. We have seen an amazing uprising in Canada against Enbridge Inc. and their proposed Northern Gateway Pipeline. The Conservative Government of Canada is very skilled at manipulating the media and neutralizing the opposition parties, but they have been unable to contain the backlash from grassroots movements that oppose this pipeline.
Get involved with activist organizations and take direct action. Attend protests, write & email letters to corporations & politicians and spread information to friends, family and using social media. If a politician is inundated with pressure from constituents you can count on the politician taking notice. To quote Malcolm X, “Power never takes a back step only in the face of more power.” Realize that we each have power. When masses of people stand up as one, change can happen. We are at the beginning stages of a global revolution.
As the global economic conditions collapse further, many systems could and will fail. Our food system is based on the “just in time” model. There is only a few days’ worth of food in grocery stores and the same can be said with other types of necessities such as gasoline. Look at the fallout from Hurricane Sandy and the panic that resulted. Spend some time reading up about what’s happening currently in Greece & Spain, Russia in the '90s, Argentina in 2001 or even what happened to people during the Great Depression. You will quickly notice that there are eerily similar issues that citizens faced in each of these countries at different points in history. Stock up on food and water now. It is such a simple thing to do. If you have the financial means to buy a year's worth of food immediately, go for it, otherwise buy a little extra food every time you grocery shop. It will slowly add up over time. Think about other items that you could not live without for an extended period of time. We are all different and what you think is a necessity could be a luxury to someone else. Search the Web for “prepping” and “survival” sites. There is a mountain of information available.
Have physical cash at home. All throughout Europe, banks are limiting the amount customers can withdraw from their bank accounts.
Mentally, this is a lot take in. As things worsen, psychologically we are all going to go through a grieving process. Carolyn Baker is an excellent source of information. She has books and a website with oodles of information on emotional resilience. All and all, we need to downsize our way of life and live more sustainably. This means different things to different people. Chris Martenson, of peakprosperity.com, has a lot to offer from an awareness standpoint. His story resonates with me because he has gone from living the American Dream to becoming a champion for awareness and sustainability. Publications such as Mother Earth News offer great articles on simple living. A renaissance of our civilization is possible if we individually take positive steps, another Dark Age is the outcome if we do nothing.
“Be the change you wish to see in the world” – Mahatma Gandhi
This article has been entered into the Activist Post Writing Contest - Solutions. 1st place receives a $250 cash prize & $250 gift certificate to Offgrid Outpost. 2nd place receives a $250 gift certificate to Offgrid Outpost. Additional details and submission guidelines can be found here: http://www.activistpost.com/2012/11/activist-post-writing-contest.html
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