Friday, October 8, 2010

A Letter to a Reader

I love hearing from my readers, especially when it's asking to research questions or concerns (I'll be posting soon asking for topic suggestions :) ). Surprisingly I've never had a challenging email from a reader... until a few days ago. D, a reader from the States sent me an email which was respectful but appeared a bit "I want to discuss, but really I want to argue and not listen". My response, although also respectful was brief. To which he responded with a nice and clarifying email that I felt was perhaps not in the spirit I had originally assumed. I've decided to post my answer (not his original questions, as I don't have permission and I really don't want people to think I'll publish whatever they email me here), as I felt I had to address some interesting topics. Thank you, D.

Hi D,

Thanks for the clarifying, I apologize if I came across a bit blunt. Honestly, I've encountered quite a bit of "lets have a discussion, but really I just want to prove my point without listening to what you have to say" type of stuff from people. In any case, I do believe that we all will make our own decisions and that although I may have some influence, I really just am one small town Canadian girl trying to live a more balanced life.

You ask a lot of big questions, and you seem to have concerns that cross the gamut with regards to the environment right up to existential questions about life and the purpose of. In a sense, it's a nice place to be- it means you're changing and growing in your perspectives as a human and as a person. This can lead to great personal and life changes... sometimes we just get stuck in keeping with questions that are comfortable and familiar. At the same time, being in a state of constant critical analysis isn't really ideal either. There comes a point where a decision on morals and beliefs must be made with the information we have. Not to say the decision can't change.

I would clarify here, as well, my own bias in that I'm not really one for philosophy or philosphical debates. Not that I don't see the value in having these types of discussions, but I was always much more of a practical, pragmatic person (with a big hit of spirituality). From my perspective, it's best to have a balance of both- discussing those "bigger" questions as well as having equal, realistic discussions with regards to action.

Ok, so with regards to nature and climate and where we live. I would disagree that living in a northern climate means being at odds with nature. I would also say that there is a lot of research that is indicating that climate change means more storms (colder winter storms), more hurricanes and tornadoes etc. These storms and "forces of nature" are agreed upon by the climate scientists to be human caused due to our industrial revolution and it's affect on our planet's climate (not necessarily "global warming"- that was a simplistic view of what's happening in order to best reach the vast public. Think of it more along the lines of "climate"). So- increase in storms and stuff are human caused.

About cold weather and living in balance with our planet. I think at this point asking the questions about whether we should live a nomadic lifestyle etc is a bit moot. In that, humans have been sedentary for over 10,000 years.... not exactly a long time in the snap shot of earth's history, but not exactly yesterday either. From a practical perspective, going back to pre-industry, nomadic lifestyle just isn't realistic. At the same time, yes expecting to be at 26 degrees above (celcius, not really sure about F conversion) in our houses all winter long isn't really practical either. It's wasteful. Humans can adjust to lowering our thermostat and functioning in cooler homes. We can also obtain our energy from earth-friendly means, such as geothermal heating, solar panels, smart building... or putting on a sweater! :)

Your other questions about what is an "eco-yogini"- I guess I never thought of my blog as speaking to a group of people, or a cohort that in order to be labeled "eco-yogi(ni)" you must do x,y,z... I guess I just like to refer to my readers with the assumption that if you're here reading my blog, you must have an interest in the environment and this should be celebrated. I really am not a fan of the green centrism that you're either "with us, or against us" or having these weird strict rules about how to be a good "eco-yogini". At the same time, I will admit that I'm becoming a bit frustrated with how the movement has stagnanted and slowed down. Like anything that we feel passionately about, it's difficult not to shake people sometimes. I try really hard every day not to be judgemental of other people's choices.

I think to the question about what parts do we change and what do we accept? It's funny, we are moving away from a realistic natural world, i'm thinking with regards to things like bugs and worms and dirt.... we want a beautiful pristine world without those things. No bugs on my lettuce please! use spray if you must! so we are in a society that is increasingly disconnected from nature. The average Canadian child spends 6 hours with computer-electronic devices per day. It's incredible. I'm really not that old (late 20's) but we *played* outside, i've caught frogs and sloshed through the mud. I can't function in a city of concrete for months at a time. I need nature. Research shows that the more disconnected from nature you become, the harder it is to save something completely alien to you (especially since most of the North American and European population lives in cities now).

So we kill that insects and such because we don't like them, but don't get the connection between them and our sustainability. I do believe that as we move to a more sustainable lifestyle, we will fumble and (hopefully) discover a balance between living and accepting our planet. But this is a huge process and I wouldn't expect it to happen over night. Social change never happens overnight. My thought- we really need to step away from a disposable, convenient lifestyle. Only then can we start to truly connect and change with our environment.

In any case, I hope this answer was more what you were looking for D. I do appreciate your questions and thoughts. I also don't expect you to agree with me, I also am still on my journey of Life and discovery. :)

Much Light,


1 comment:

  1. Y'know I've been meaning to write a lengthy e-mail telling you off on ecological, existential, philosophical, spiritual, yogic, eco-yogic, pragmatic, idealistic, aesthetic, and ironic grounds, as well, but it looks like Mr. D (the Devil?!) beat me to it.

    Just kidding. It's a little difficult to tell exactly what Mr. D. was arguing based on your response, but it looks like (and I realize I may be way off base here) he's making some big absolutist kinds of points: to really live in harmony with the natural order, we'd need to go back to being nomadic hunter-gatherers, living only in warmer climates (and, I might mention, there'd need to be a whole lot fewer of us). On purely theoretical grounds, he's probably right. At the same time, this is the kind of all-or-nothing argument that, while strong on a theoretical level, is, on a practical level, simply an excuse for doing nothing.

    Ultimately, instead of choosing between a past we really can't go back to and the endlessly destructive present, we need to use our modern minds to, as you say, I think, find a new balance.


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