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The Sun Always Rises

September 30, 2011

There’s always another day just waiting for the dawn. There’s always someone who has it better than you, and a whole lot of people who have it worse. I’m on my hastened route to England and I’m urgent to arrive because despair, or no despair, one person can do a lot – and the limits of what a group can achieve is just the limits of our imagination.

My journey to the Arctic (see images in the below post!) began with hopelessness and has ended with a very still and certain optimism. For the first time in my life I think this good mood and energy might be sustainable too! As my friend EJW wisely says: “all we can do is keep positive and try our hardest.”

I won’t exhaust myself and I won’t hurt others and myself by pointing a blaming finger their way. There are so many more pressing concerns and it’s difficult to believe that any one thing is ‘the thing’ to fight for with so many competing priorities. But I will fight. I’ll fight furiously for the future that Andrew Tobert wrote without a moment’s thought: “devoid of landfill, clean air, rainforests, diverse oceans, people working less because they don’t feel the need to fill their homes with useless tat” Why not fight too?

First some perspective, which I rarely have and I take as a gift. Last week I stood on an island where the rocks contain no fossils because the island was there before life began. It is an arrogance to think that
we’ll destroy the world, though we might destroy each other, which is a hell of a lot easier to campaign against.

The Arctic will melt, oceans will rise and I hope – and will use activism as my commitment to this hope – that we will live well in the world that follows. I won’t give up on that hope. Until the world holds
sustainability rather than growth and acquisition at its heart (eventually inevitable) I’ll be an irritating and unstoppable reminder of that hope 😉

Now the trick is to work out how to capture and keep people’s attention. I don’t think it’s about pretending there is a glorious alternative waiting in the wings. I think that’s a disingenuous assertion – treating
people like idiots for wanting all of the extraordinary things our society has made possible for all (well not quite all – but the majority).

There’s no alternative, not yet, because we haven’t built it yet. Now that’s an exhausting (AND EXCITING) thought. People are starting to – I’d love people to post examples they’ve seen or heard about below. Whether it’s a sustainable communications company that exists to sell de-growth, an economic think-tank based on making people happy rather than obese, an artist pondering about a ‘new environmental conceptualism’ and committing half her time to sustainable transport campaigns or an activist group inspired by the Suffragettes and trying hard to be accessible to all.

The beginnings of an alternative are definitely out there, and the most exciting thing is that these radical voices are more convincing by the day.

Get involved folks – there’s a whole world of sustainable solutions to be built, and if some days you want to cry and give up – then do but remember that dawn is just around the corner.

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