This short meditation was offered for the August 23rd service streaming service at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Frederick. Full text below:
I don’t remember where I first heard it, but somehow I learned the phrase ‘if you want to know where a culture will be in 20 years, look at where the counterculture is right now.’
The pandemic inspired a variety of responses among my own circle of acquaintance. What’s interesting is that a large number of people I know chose to turn their energy into enhanced sustainability practices. Getting into gardening seems to be a pretty standard response to the pandemic. But there’s getting into gardening, and then there’s joining a permaculture guild. The goal of permaculture is to create sustainable food growing practices that improve the soil, feed the species around us, and also produce more than enough food for humans to eat – all while using less effort than traditional farming. It requires learning a lot and really changing the way we think about gardening. And the number of my friends who merrily jumped down that rabbit hole is surprisingly high.
A dear friend who normally pours their heart and soul into running large in-person events got into Solarpunk. If that word is unfamiliar to you, Solarpunk is the other side of the coin of the dystopian, Mad Max flavored visions of the future so common in fantasy writing. Solarpunk envisions a future centered around craftsmanship, community, and technology powered by renewable energy. It dreams of a free and egalitarian future where environmental concerns and social inequality are addressed through a restructuring of culture where we cooperate and find new ways to share resources while reducing our impact on the planet. Solarpunk asks ‘What if all this technology gets used to make life better rather than to make bigger weapons?’
My friend who chose the thread of Solarpunk to follow through this strange time is now making videos for a Youtube channel focused around the same. They visit people who are implementing solarpunk style approaches to their lives and make mini documentaries about it.
People are learning to sew again. To preserve fruit and vegetables through canning, dehydrating, and vacuum sealing.
One place the counterculture is right now? It’s anchored in hope. We don’t plan for the future when we think there isn’t one worth having. The counterculture around me is learning to be more self-sustaining. It’s building connections on a local level. It’s taking all the shadow and rage around us and asking – what if it doesn’t have to be this way? What if there’s more?
In these strange times it can be difficult to find your footing. But I can tell you where I am standing. My feet rest on the fertile, growing garden of hope. I am watching people I love turn their focus and energy toward a different way of being in the world. We are dreaming a new future.
So. Where do your feet rest right now? What seeds are being planted around you? What future are you dreaming into existence?
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