Sunday, October 10, 2010

Wage Peace. It’s time to get ready.

What a time we are in. Today is the 10th of the 10th of the 2010. Those dates don’t come around so very often so I hope you will allow me the moment to share something of what drives us to do what we’re doing here, in the middle of the forests of central Portugal. I wrote the following script for a video I was intending to submit for the “Life in a day” project earlier this year. Too much was happening back then with our restoration work for me to do the job justice, but re reading these words this morning, I felt I’d like to still put it out there and see if we can start a conversation through it. Feel free to submit your thoughts and/or links to cool articles around these issues that you have found helpful. Somehow I feel the time to get ready to wage peace is close at hand. I don’t have much of an idea what this will look like. Just that it’s time to get ready.

Mankind finds itself on the cusp of an extraordinary time of change. No one really knows what the change that’s coming is going to look like. Just that it’s coming. Most of us, in fact, are completely unaware that things have already begun to shift. We are, if you like, asleep. Collectively asleep.
Busy, really really busy, but sleeping nonetheless.

Our beautiful home of planet earth seems to be going through one of its regular (for Earth we’re talking every few thousands of years) seismic shifts. Weather patterns are going crazy, polar caps melting, sea levels rising, ocean currents altering, ferocious flooding, city destroying hurricans, island crushing earthquakes, continental wide ash cloud volcanoes, deep sea oil volcanoes. None of which are new. Just right now are happening all so very very fast, in Earth clock time.

Instability, that some say, begins to take place on Earth before momentous change – ice age scale change – stuff that wipes out species like dinasours. Maybe it’s humans next. Maybe not. Maybe it’s just happening as it always has happened and always meant to have happened. Maybe we’re not helping matters.

There are a lot of us humans. Billions. We’re polluting and destroying our planet’s resources and each other with such relentless vigour, that it is a little tricky to see how things can carry on for much longer. Our life on earth, our way of life on earth, doesn’t look to be that sustainable.

Let’s talk oil. Our civilizations right now are based on the black stuff. We use oil to drive our cars, trucks, trains and aeroplanes. We use oil to make the cars, trucks, trains and aeroplanes. We use oil to power the electricity supply. Oil to manifacture a vast array of products and clothes and foods. And we know, oh yes we do, that oil is running out. We just don’t know when. Sooner than we collectively think, probably. So we’re tinkering around here and there with alternative sources of energy, with bio fuels, with wind, wave and solar power. With nuclear power. Not a thing that responds well, I imagine, to tinkering.

Ironically we will consume vast quantities of oil just to make the machines and infrastructure required to harness the energy from these alternative sources. Will there be enough? What if there’s not?

The other big unstable foundation of our civilisations today is money. We’re busy busy busy making money. Working to earn bits of paper or numbers on screens, to pay institutions for food and services that we are more than capable of growing and providing for our very own selves.

3 years ago, sensing that ‘times they are a changing’ our little family of 4 plus dog set out on a journey to find a life less ordinary, a place in which we could quickly acquire the skills we had never learnt which enabling us the chance to live a little more self sufficiently.  We found it here in the forgotten mountains of central Portugal. In some old abandoned stone houses on some terraced land with rivers running through it.

In the midst of all the talk of cataclysmic planetary change, we’re tending our garden. Growing our veggies, vines and fruit orchards and hoping we can survive in nature’s abundance after the oil and the money run out. Maybe we will. Maybe we won’t.  Either way we’ll be looking after this little piece of land and the people we find ourselves with, until the storm that is closing in passes or consumes us in its wake.

(The brief for the video project was also to answer the following 3 questions.)

What do I fear?
I fear that my children grow up in a world where humanity continues choosing to destroy itself and their days will not be filled with the peace and safety and beauty of this day.

What do I love?
My queen of a wife River, my 2 gorgeous children Josh and Eli, good music, tasty home grown food. I love sunrises, sunsets and the stars that follow. I love watching the wind make the trees dance in the forest. I love picking grapes with old people who have spent their lifetimes living in their landscape in a culture that is not my own but is quickly becoming so.

I love love.

What do I have in my pocket?
Pen knife. Pencil. Mobile. Lighter. Fags.

What a time capsule this film is for those that follow. If you’re watching this years into our future, maybe post some kind of apocalyptic change, wanting to find out what life was like for man on earth back in the days of 2010, know this. There was hope. And there always will be.

There’s hope in every seed you plant. While there is a sun in the sky, pure water falling from the clouds and earthy soil at our feet, everything is possible. Living off the land in harmony with the seasons is a good life. You really should have been here to see it.


The Winters said...

Dearest Memphis, I am so entirely grateful for everyday given to me to spend with you. Obrigada meu amor.

Slbma said...

You put it all so perfectly. The times they ARE a changing and it's often disheartening that so many people fail to see it. All around us we see excess and greed and wonder "when are all these people scurrying around on this crazy wheel going to wake up and realise that we all need to start making some changes?"

We ourselves our learning all the time, but the more we learn, the more we read, the more we choose to embrace 'life' and try to understand it from the roots - the more we realise that we are becoming so far removed from this world of excess and ignorance that it becomes difficult to function within it. But we do - on the fringes. All the while trying to spread the word, as you are doing.

Maybe see you in the forgotten mountains of Portugal in Spring!

The Winters said...

Thanks Slbma for your comment. Whole heartedly agree. Just seen you have a blog too. Off to read it now...

Emilene said...

You guys get it. What wonderful seeds you are planting in the minds of your two children! :)

The Winters said...

Thanks Emilene. I think Josh and Eli got all this stuff way before us. We're just catching up. This book, "Free Range Education", really helped our little family when we set out on the road back in 2007. Worth a read.

Anonymous said...

For centuries man has always experienced changes, why do we feel that these times are more worrying that other times, maybe we are more advance, maybe not, or is it that some of us just do not want to face the facts, while others think and take action. Whatever the reasons there is a change in the winds, in tides, and in our entire lives. But something has got to give we cannot continue to ravage and destroy this beautiful world that we have the pleasure of living on without consequences, we are told this over and over while we are growing up, why do we feel that it does not apply to issues dealing with how we manage our world. As a mother it makes me feel very sad what we are doing to her. More and more in my work, I feel like a mouse running and scuttling around trying to move out of the way of the destruction that is taking place, while not doing things that would enhance the quality of life. We continue to be consumed by greed and the ability to loose the power of conscience. I do feel the extreme need to live more organic before its too late. I have had a little taste of an organic life but I now wish to have more of this kind of life. I'm ready are you?

The Winters said...

Thanks for your heartfelt comment Anonymous. I think it was ultimately the mother in River and the father in me that pursued relentlessly an alternative course for our children's lives. That instinct is primal and usually somewhere in the region of being right. Follow your heart wherever it leads. Namaste. Memphis.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for such a thought provoking post Andy.. Waging peace - what a lovely way to put it. Because now all peace-lovers must start being active, not passive. We cannot sit quietly on the sidelines, hiding and hoping that it will all go away. And by 'it' I mean the relentless corporate and financial agenda which is being imposed on us top down from above, without our consent.

Anonymous you say:'why do we feel that these times are more worrying than other times?'I think it might be because change is happening faster than ever because of technology and that technology also means the dominant elite will soon be able to circumscribe our lives and behaviour in a way undreamt of in the past. Science is also fast changing the natural world around us - i.e GM plants and animals - irrevocably. And never before has the earth been assaulted and polluted as it is today.

What on earth are we to do? Help!

Hannah x

The Winters said...


You both must read the new halfpasthuman report. only 6 quid and change. get ready for what they are calling the next huuuuge tipping point on nov 8th through to 11th. not that you can get ready. just watching the watchers. but feels part of the getting ready. we are reading it now....

One love...Memphis & River.

Anonymous said...

Dear M&R, Thanks for tip, I LOVE those reports and will get new one immediately. Such compelling, thrilling, scary reading. We will be in Portugal during the tipping point - hurrah! So we can all watch it unfold from the (relative) safety of Oleiros.. x