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A trip to the Harn this weekend included a trip even further north to pick up some free insulation from a buddy we’ve met up here. The drive north of Solway is really beautiful… cute little homesteads dot either side of the highway. At one, as I look down the drive, I can see the cabin about 200 yards in and two big deer crossing the driveway between me and it.  It’s the second weekend of deer season and seeing them is juxtaposed with all the flashes of orange as hunters pepper the landscape.

The quiet is amazing here as we approach winter, even with the sporadic gunshot.  I did notice distinctly less wildlife on the property. There’s no sign of Red or Thumper & Bambi.  And though I saw multiple deer tracks, we didn’t spot single doe.  We still have yet to see again the lovely fox I saw weeks back. Though we believe it may have a den in the large brush pile just south of our clearing outside the porch door. We wonder if perhaps our idea of a chicken coop south of the clearing may not be as good an idea as originally imagined.

This morning as I walked in my skivvies and slippers down to the corner of the drive, where we can get a signal for texting, I was amazed at how warm I felt. Without the wind there’s no bite to this cold weather.  I still find it fascinating. I was out for 15 minutes or more with very little clothing and while I was chilly when I came in from a cold, I was amazed that it didn’t feel colder outside. It was nice though to jump back into the still warm bed and snuggle in for a few more minutes of rest.

As we enjoy this unusually warm fall season, it makes me smile to think back on how many people called me “crazy” for moving to Minnesota. The longer I am here the more I realize what a good decision this has been.  But it’s a little bittersweet to realize that while we may not have as big a problem with a short growing season as we expected, this may also mean dire consequences for the planet at large.

Which takes me to Saturday night when we joined friends for a Debate Watch Party, actually quite a bit of fun.  It was disturbing to note that there were only two mentions of climate change when it is so obviously interconnected to the problems we face militarily and economically. Bernie Sanders was quick to acknowledge the link between the crises overseas and climate change but it would have been nice to hear more along the lines of what we need to do as resolution, especially in light of the upcoming talks in Paris.  It’s also concerning to think how the recent strikes in Paris may affect these upcoming talks. They may prove quite convenient.  Will they keep people away?  Prevent the masses from having their voices heard?  Result in increased security and refusal of protesters to make a case against big money interests? It makes me wonder who was truly behind the attacks.  There is so much in the news we cannot trust these days.  Are they getting all the facts?  Or are they jumping to possible erroneous conclusions to paint a quick story? Are we just telling ourselves what we want or expect to hear?  There really is no way to know for sure.

I do hope that we make real strides towards progress at the Paris talks but I fear there are too many powerful agendas and much fear of losing profits to truly do so, especially in the needed time frame.  As long as the wealthy & powerful continue to make the decisions, we can be sure the decisions won’t fully take into consideration the needs of the general public, let alone those of the very poorest of people around the globe.

The Non-Fiction Book Club discussed “Arguing for our Lives” by Robert Jensen this week.  The book explains in brief the three biggest revolutions in history.  Not the American, French & Russian but the Agricultural, Industrial & Delusional.  “While those national revolutions had dramatic effects… these other revolutions reshaped the lives of every human.  As a result of these revolutions, it is unclear how much longer human history will continue.”  The agricultural and industrial revolutions both created and escalated the human assault on natural ecosystems, respectively, while also bringing a move from cooperative to hierarchical systems of interaction.  An explosion in population combined with a concentration of wealth “has produced unparalleled material comfort for some”.  The world is “unsustainable and unjust” and “in direct conflict with common sense and ethical principles”, which results in the creation of the delusional revolution.  Per Robert Jensen:

The delusional revolution is my term for the development of sophisticated propaganda techniques in the twentieth century (especially a highly emotive, image-based advertising-marketing system) that have produced in the bulk of the population (especially in First World societies) a distinctly delusional state of being.

This delusional revolution has stopped us from realizing how deep we are in the problems we’ve created with our consumption-based, non-cooperative society.  And the dominant culture continues to promote a capitalist focus on greed and self-interest with little to no effort spent in resolving the precarious conditions of our social and political systems, our economy, or even our natural world.

There are many wonderful lessons in this short tome and the Book Club discussion was lively.  While I still struggle with hopelessness that we humans can come together to figure out how to save our home, this little blue planet, gatherings like our Book Club help me see there are people who care and understand that we have a need for great change.  There is a ray of hope in all this.  Seattle just voted in a big way to remove the money from politics and if we push this idea across the nation, there may be a chance for the people to take back the government from the wealthy and powerful interests who currently own it.  http://usuncut.com/politics/seattle-wins-publicly-financed-elections-i-122  Alas, many are simply focused on fashion, football, the latest technology and other distractions, largely unaware of the need for adjustment.  But people are waking up.

As for my own wake-up, it is still sluggish.  It’s one thing to know, another to do.  The transition to the sustainable homestead is a gradual process and meanwhile I spend too much money, drive too many miles, and waste time on my own distractions.  But this past week I also made a bit more progress on the Rocket Mass Heater, shopped locally and gave a few possessions to the local Kids Shopping Day, new things for which I’ve never had a use.  Hopefully they will bring joy to some children in need of gifts for their loved ones this holiday season.  As for me, I’m hoping to minimize the gift giving and receiving.  Gifts of time spent with local friends and family, gifts for others to Heifer or Seva (charities that help give hope to those with the least), and hand-made things for a few.  Of course, some people will get books.  It’s the one thing I can’t seem to surrender in my anti-consumerism aims.  I think Robert Jensen’s book on critical thinking will be at the top of the list.