Lifestyle Changes

Wow, Sharon has another great blog entry up: Dreaming a Life, about radical lifestyle changes – “whether they come from adapting to a deeply damaged climate or from addressing the crisis, whether they come from adapting to depletion or from enduring it.”

Sharon points out that much of the political unrest we are seeing comes from the fact that people are realizing that they have been lied to, that they can’t “have all the things they want – a future for their children and an affluent present now.”  Sharon also warns that “unless a true and comprehensible story is offered, false ones will be taken up, and used as bludgeons.”

She goes into why we like being lied to, why we make it so easy to be lied to, and why it takes so long for us to finally see the lie. We are constantly fed dreams not of our own making, and we aren’t autonomous enough to dream differently, creative enough to make our own dreams. We “imagine ourselves as unique because we choose among a large range of commercial options – we can decorate our kitchen with baby ducks, pigs or flowers; can choose between coke or pepsi, can decorate our bodies within a range of a dozen or so arbitrated ‘personal styles.’  Given the sheer number of commercial choices, it is perhaps no wonder that we imagine that this is sufficient to constitute an identity and a dream.”

And, she points out, the “green lifestyle” we are offered is just part of that manufactured dream. It does not constitute the radical lifestyle change that will come for all of us, because “there will never be a society in which everyone can have a personal hybrid”, and because “even the rich having them is a disaster.”


The math is really clear – there’s not enough climate leeway, not enough water, not enough food, not enough money, not enough oil, not enough gas, not enough dirt, not enough phosphorous, not enough rainforest…. not enough left in the world to avert disaster if we have rich people, who see themselves primarily as consumers in a consuming world, and who live as we do now.

Which means we need an American (and European and Australian and Japanese…) dream that can work – and we need it fast.

And it’s up to us – the rich people – to imagine it and promote it.

It can’t be a nightmare. It has to be, Sharon writes,

immediately accessible. It cannot require vast creative energies, because honestly, most people don’t have them.  It cannot require that everyone go against the grain, because, quite honestly, most of us go with the grain.  It cannot require that we build an imagine entirely internally – you have to be able to go look at it.

I am taking this to be my personal challenge. I choose to believe it is possible. How do we already live that dream, and how and where do we show it for all to see?

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