Posted by: ithacaisdoomed | May 22, 2010

Live Free or Die Tryin’: the ethical challenge for the ethically challenged

On her blog, the Chatelaine’s Keys, writer Sharon Astyk has a feature called “Independence Days.” Independence Days is a way of marking her progress in self-sufficient living. She divides the column into several categories: Planted, harvested, preserved, waste not, want not, Eat the food, Build Community Food systems. Needless to say, the column is skewed towards the food side of things.
I wanted to try a similar strategy for keeping track of my own progress in not only becoming more self-sufficient, but also for living the ethics of “Deschool, unjob, rewild.” As those words are loaded with connotations, I leave it to the reader to infer their own interpretation. I am content to forge on, trying to figure out the meaning for myself. I presume no expertise and am but a fellow traveler on the road to greater freedom, self-sufficiency, and connection with the rest of the world. That being said, here are my categories:
Save something: Any action taken to cut down on waste, eliminate needs, or otherwise tread more lightly on the face of the planet.  Think of Colin Beavan’s, No Impact Man.
Build community: Any action taken to foster the development of connections with other people.
ReWild: Any action taken to foster greater connection with wild nature, the elemental, primal forces of our innermost being. I realize that sounds a bit woo woo, but specifics will elucidate what I mean.
Be prepared!: The Boy Scout motto, and any action taken to get ready for TEOTWAKI, whatever form that may take.
I feel like these are all areas I need to continually challenge myself to delve into more deeply. The Dalai Lama has said that “Every individual has a responsibility to help guide our global family in the right direction. Good wishes are not sufficient; we must become actively engaged.” I feel that when I take action in any of these areas, it leads me to a greater sense of personal power, a deeper sense of ethical meaning, and a deeper recognition of “the common good.” It’s a patient way to be a better person, to continually erode the barriers that separate me from the rest of the world.
Here’s the run-down for this week:
Save something: I now keep a clean five gallon bucket in our bathroom. Every time I wash my face in the tub or run the water to get it warm, I save the excess water in the bucket. I can then use it later for flushing the toilet.
Build community: I am serving on the board of our home school cooperative. I am also the Secretary, which means I will simply listen for a while, instead of trying to push any agenda.
ReWild: I harvested Stinging Nettle from my forest garden. I dried it and drank a delightful spring tonic tea.
Be prepared: I purchased a 25 pound bag of soybeans and a 25 pound bag of hard red Spring Wheat from Cayuga Pure Organics.  We are really lucky to have this farmer’s cooperative supporting our local food system.
Maybe I’ll redo my Links to feature resources both local and not that support my Live Free or Die Tryin’ categories.

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