I have always thought and operated outside the box…not to identify myself as a rebel or to be anti-social but just because….for what ever reason, I just don’t see things the way others do. I guess it’s just how my brain works…
This has been across the board….in my personal life, in my career(s) and even with many members of my family. Black sheep comes to mind! It’s never been an issue for me and I was quite content not to go with the flow…be that skunk at the birthday party! 🙂 I have spent a great deal of time wondering why, though…
I can only assume that many of you have felt this way, to some extent, as well….feeling at least some of the push back from family, friends, co-workers and the multitude of agricultural, medical and health professionals out there who do not understand the EOM mindset.
This EOM work can be exhausting and endless and sometimes seems so hopeless. I cannot count the number of times I have felt such despair for our species and our planet. It just seems so simple to me that you cannot put crap in your body or the eco-system without consequence or think we can out do nature by simply applying science and technology…but apparently, I am simplistic for that view…
I can’t change who I am even when the river continues to rage against me…I am compelled to keep going upstream…..perhaps I was a salmon in another life!! 🙂 It’s just who I am and I realized quite a few years ago that I needed to stop questioning that…stop asking why am I like this and put that energy towards being part of the solution.
I began to wonder…what is the best way to go about this work? How can I be most effective in the use of my energies. How do I be part of the solution? My public relations/marketing background came in handy here so I started to see this as a “campaign” if you will and chunked things out in terms of “audience”, ‘messaging”, “sectors” and “strategies”, etc. But first, I figured I’d better fine tune my own life….baby step by baby step…and that’s a whole life-long journey as I outlined in a previous blog. http://www.ethicalomnivore.org/ethical-omnivorism-a-journey/. I am in no way exemplary of the EOM life but I am working on it!!!!
The next obvious step to me was finding like minded people or at least people who question things to build community around and develop networks. Many hands make light work and there’s no point re-inventing the wheel are two saying that come to mind. It just makes sense to align with other energies heading in the same direction that when combined create synergy!! In addition, there is much I don’t know so it makes sense to connect with people to swap areas of expertise and this also provides moral support to each other in this exhausting work.
Further, this is a huge job and so many systems need changing so I knew this wasn’t a solo ride! 🙂 And further still, these multiple systems are not independent of each other. Ya know….the food system is connected to the economic system and the economic system is connected to the political system and the political system is connected to the education system…..are you singing that song in your head now too?!?!?! The knee bone is connected to the thigh bone, the thigh bone…..ahem. One cannot take on so many fronts and be an expert in all of them. Find your niche and work it, expand it and share it.
Another really important aspect of the work is continual communication with those around you…yes even those less than willing. You do have to talk the talk even when its a little uncomfortable…they cannot hear you mumbling from the closet!! This is not a secret mission!! You have to talk even when it not what people want to hear. If I can put up with the drivel talk of Kim Kardashian or Miley Cyrus…they can pony up and listen when I talk pastured pork!! LOL!!
It doesn’t have to be in a confrontational way or obviously in a making a point way…just general conversation. Listen with avid interest as your co-worker talks about her Wayne Gretzky 2.0 hockey playing kid and when its your turn to answer “how was your weekend” you can say…”I visited an ethical farm this weekend and it was really interesting! Did you know…..???” Just gently put your perspective out there and after a time the wheels may begin to turn. It’s important to also understand that you can lead a horse to water but you cannot make it drink. You can provide an opportunity for someone to think but you cannot force change. When the student is ready, the teacher will appear is another apt saying. If you are always in teacher mode, even by stealth, you won’t miss any students!!
There will undoubtedly be times and places where things may get a bit more confrontational and you have to know how to stand up in those situations but there is no need to create confrontation where general conversation will do nicely. Make your perspective sound normal…own it…take your dusty self out of the closet and wear who you are with grace…or at least, mostly grace! 🙂
I found this wonderful article about leading system change so you don’t have to take just my word for the process…. 🙂 http://www.ecoliteracy.org/essays/seven-lessons-leaders-systems-change. Check it out and see where you can start actively acting as the agent of change and understand the mission before you!!
My point here is that we each have to be chipping away at the status quo in our own little realms, one baby step, one person, one conversation at a time, if we want this thing we call EOM to build any momentum. You don’t have to write a book, blog or give speeches to be an agent of change…just do what you can in the broader world within the context of your own life. If you are already doing these things…understand you are an agent of change…embrace that power and use it to the fullest extent!! It’s a long journey we are on…it took time to get here and it will take time to get to where we want to be. There will be a tipping point and every protest, every news item….AND…every individual conversation related to the struggle against the system works in our favour…eventually.
Understanding this is paramount to the exhausting, repetitive work ahead of us and when I reached this point of understanding I wondered…yes I’m always wondering….it’s that brain wiring again…at what point will the tide shift in favour of the health of the earth, animals and ultimately the health of humans? How many people do we need to have invested in this before change happens? Where are the damn goal posts!?!?!? 🙂
Turns out that there’s an interesting theory about that and there is some good news….relatively speaking. According to a 2011 study, it is a far smaller number than even I, a gal who swims in stats all day long, thought! Ten percent is all we need! That seems doable doesn’t it?!?! Check out why 10% is the magical number. http://freakonomics.com/2011/07/28/minority-rules-why-10-percent-is-all-you-need/
Of course, if you think of that 10% in terms of world population that seems daunting indeed but let’s keep this in proper perspective! You are not responsible for, nor is it possible for you, to have much sway in the opinions of people half way across the world. Just like a farmer who needs to worry about feeding his family and community rather then “feeding the world” in Monsanto speak.
Although the interwebs make conversations with people from all over the world possible, it is more likely you will gravitate to sites that already align with your ideals….trolling aside…LOL!! If opportunity arises within your world wide web interactions, please partake!! But generally speaking, you have the greatest influence at the level in which you live…as in your own “community”. So let’s say you are acquainted with, at least, several hundred people within the context of your life…kids, work, neighbors, hobbies, volunteering, friends and family. Obviously, some will have more, some less but the point is that 10% of your highest area of influence is what 10, 20, 30 people!!?? That seems doable, doesn’t it? Doesn’t it!!?? Hell yes!!
So brave EOM’ers…agents of change, dawn your capes, polish those halos, mark your targets and go forth into the world knowing you are an agent of change on the most important mission ever embarked upon by humans….for humans…for the planet!!! And….be careful out there…..