Natural Life Magazine

Being Part of the Solution

Being Part of the Solution
By Wendy Priesnitz

As I write this, the world economy is sputtering, financial markets are on a wild rollercoaster ride, people are dying from food contamination, soldiers are fighting on an increasing number of fronts, politicians in the US and Canada are mindlessly throwing about promises worth billions of dollars.

News junky that I am, I am threatening to retreat under a media-less rock for awhile, just to calm my nerves and prepare for whatever comes next. This is a time when it’s easy to be afraid for the future. It’s easy to get exasperated about what isn’t being done about climate change, which scientists agree is the single most important threat facing humanity today. It’s easy to be cynical about the fact that governments have found billions of dollars to prop up some financial services companies that made bad decisions and to fight wars, but say our economy can’t afford carbon caps or to protect our food supply.

But we need to keep our cool. We also need to remember that politicians and stock traders are not the solution. (Many would argue that they are part of the problem!) Solving these problems isn’t going to be easy; radical change seldom is. Aside from what governments and corporations may or may not do, many of the solutions are in the form of small, determined steps already being taken by individuals, small businesses, communities. And those of us who are part of the solution should find it easier to live through the coming times, precisely because of what we’re learning by taking those small, determined steps.

Some of the solutions are at least as old as Natural Life Magazine, which began in 1976 as one of those small, determined steps. There are thousands of other independent entrepreneurs working in the fields of renewable energy, green building, sustainable agriculture, zero-waste manufacturing, and many others that point the way toward a greener economy. The solutions are also being created by people like the writers in this and every other issue of Natural Life who are helping children learn to grow their own organic food, are advising others how to build sustainable housing, are creating democratic and non-coercive educational models that respect and trust learners, are exposing the dangers of – and suggesting do-it-yourself alternatives to – toxic food and household goods, are reminding us of the importance of staying connected to Nature, and so on.

I’m grateful to the hundreds of these eloquent individuals who have, over the years, taken time from creating change to share their insights and solutions with Natural Life’s readers. Their motivation is not financial, because they don’t get paid! Instead, I think they all sense that sharing information and inspiration is part of the solution. As David Albert writes in his column What Really Matters, “I sense a crisis of the spirit rather than an energy shortage. I keep thinking: Reorganize communities, support local producers and import less stuff, redefine work, share resources, enhance conviviality.” Nathanael Schildbach, in his Therapy Fund column in this issue, calls the solution simply “being human.” He closes off by saying, “If you don’t like reality, why not create your own alternative."

Rolf and I never thought that after all these years there would still be such a need to create an alternative reality, but here we are. I hope that you will continue to connect with us here at Natural Life and work with those in your local communities to build a sustainable future that is good for your family, the economy and the Earth.

Wendy Priesnitz is the co-founder and editor of Natural Life Magazine, where an earlier version of this appeared as an editorial in 2008. She is also the author of 13 books and a contributor to many more.


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