Why We're Not Preppers: The Apocalypse is Already Here!Organisms adapt. The world is an organism. It's changing right now. It has already changed. And by the time you finish reading this post there will be colossal changes again, some physical, some philisophical, and many of them changes in thought-patterns that will evoke their own colossal social changes, before too long. And we're adapting all the time. That's why we're not preppers. We're not waiting and planning for some apocalypse; we're finding ways to adapt to the changes that are already happening. Some of our family's choices to live more closely with the land seem to some like survivalist prepping, but really they are permanent lifestyle choices. I'm not storing food to get my family by until life as I know it returns; I'm learning to live in a way that I feel will be sustainable in the future. Because life as I know it has already changed past the point of no return. And... I like this change!! I find the challenge compelling, and the new ideas adventurous!
Yes, I store food, but that isn't survivalist preparedness, either! I have a pantry, I freeze or otherwise store any surplus produce in the summer, and I buy in bulk and keep buckets of grains and lentils, etc. -- not because I think it's all going to disappear anytime soon, but because it's MUCH more affordable, this way, and healthier: I like to eat whole grains, knowing that much of the nutrient quality is lost when they're rolled, ground, or otherwise broken and stored in shops, so I buy them whole and roll them myself, with the exception of some of my flours, which I keep frozen. That's a health choice, not a survivalist choice. Making choices for financial and health reasons is the definition of adapting to our changing world.
Big Changes: When I was in elementary school, the school got computers. One single family I knew had both a microwave and a computer. They were amazing. Now most people I know carry at least one much more powerful device everywhere they go, are connected to the Internet at all times, and have probably more such devices at home. This change has made us all aware of ourselves and our world in a very different way than was possible, before. But it's also caused (in my opinion) a whole lot of navel-gazing, and dependence on corporations and products we don't understand. Our global social structures are changing drastically, but we are losing connection to the physical world, too. Some people tell me that we're sentient beings, naturally evolving to a more sentient existence, where physical bodies and manifestations are no longer important. Well that sounds just lovely, but we're still living in physical bodies, our thoughts are still transmitted by neurons (which, the last time I checked, are living cells), even the thoughts themselves are waves; electrical impulses which affect everything around them... and quite frankly it's just much more rewarding to acknowledge this and live as part of our ecosystem instead of despite it.
What We're Doing to Adapt:Wild Food: I seek out, encourage, harvest and consume wild food. I also take people on wild food tours, introducing them to delicious things and vile things, poisonous plants and medicinals, ferns, vascular plants and trees and blossoms and fruits and roots... things that we can put in our mouths and taste, and others just to know about! Some of the things I show them are definitely starvation foods. But we are privileged suburbanites, pretending for a while that we could get by if we had to, while in fact none of these foods would sustain us. I bitterly suggest that if the shit really hit the fan, apocalyptically-speaking, we might kill each other over the need to fill our bellies with nutrition-poor foods, because that is what our bodies have now evolved to require. These wild foods - these handfuls of nutrient-rich greens and browns and yellows - are too much for our bodies to handle... and too little. But in getting to know the foods that surround us; in tasting the plants we might otherwise jog past, trample on, or mistake for "another prickly shrub", we integrate ourselves with our own ecosystem. We acknowledge the importance of our footsteps, and of the things we consume. We learn to appreciate and respect the soul of the earth that feeds us. And this connection is invaluable because it enriches and connects every other aspect of our lives.
Energy Efficiencies: We'd love to go off-grid, but can't afford it at this time, so we're skimping as much as possible on energy. We heat with wood. I haven't used my dryer in a year, now. It will benefit us financially, but also I'm not pouring cash into a corporation I don't align with, morally, and most importantly, I'm learning to value my resources. People think we're "living green", but in fact I think by urban/suburban standards, we're a green failure. Our carbon footprint, if you take into account our ancient Pathfinder vehicle, our wood heating, our barely-insulated home, the fact that my husband commutes to work, etc. etc. etc. is not compensated for by our garden, LED lightbulbs, and buying in bulk. Still... we keep on trying, and I do long for the day when energy-efficient living is not just a reality for the most financially-endowed.
Unschooling: Ah! Here it is! The reason this post belongs on this blog. Unschooling truly IS the big deal around here. Politically, it's a statement that WE CAN. We are raising happy, healthy, sociable and educated individuals, without the trappings (and yes I mean TRAPpings) of our government's chosen life-plan-system. The world is changing! And where education is concerned, it's headed back out of the doldrums! There was a time when putting children into big institutions was a new thing; when men looked at communist theories of working-class-creation and brought them into reality for North Americans. But that time is ending, now. People are waking up, and oh my goodness are we happy to be among the early ones! Unschooling is like wild food: you have to be partly into it for the adventure, because forging a new path is never without its challenges. But the rewards are enormous.
Unschooling is a redefinition of learning. It's life-learning. Learning about life, and learning throughout life. It's the open door to adaptability. We don't need an impending apocalypse to recognise the need to adapt. Evolution is all about adaptability, and humans have been evolving crazy-fast, lately. Unschooling gives us the tools and flexibility to move with the big changes, and adapt.