Since the eighties when I became a vegetarian, planted my first organic garden and joined a food coop, I’ve been aware that there were gentler ways to live than the mainstream, conventional ways I was raised with. Since the turn of this century, living more earth-thoughtfully has been at the heart of my life and work, however imperfectly expressed. But I’ve recently felt an urgency about doing something different, something more wide-reaching than what I’ve so far managed to share the message of earth-thoughtfulness. Funnily enough, it was in the reading of a beloved novel that I saw a way in. And the idea has been growing and crystallizing in the weeks since we read The Shell Seekers (by Rosamunde Pilcher) at Wisteria & Sunshine (my long-time membership blog.) Below, I’ve shared what I wrote there in a few posts in late July after reading the chapter called “Richard.”
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You know how much I value older books (or books about older times) for what they can teach me-now-about living more intentionally, more thoughtfully, more simply. Well, most of these passages touch upon that, in both practical and emotional ways.
Reading about the war years in this chapter has been illuminating. I have no hope that the countries of the world might view the climate crisis in the same way as I would like to, but it would surely begin to untangle some of the daunting muddles we are facing, would it not? Imagine if we all felt as the British did during the war, ready and willing to face deprivation for the good of all that it would save and heal? Penelope and all those very real people she represents didn’t enjoy the lack of so many tasty things or the scratchy toilet paper, but it was a part of the huge effort it took to win the war. I wish we would be called on to do the same by some wise and powerful council with the systems to support it. That is what arose in me reading this chapter, a glimpse of some “big” ways with our Small Ways that feels somewhat visionary and hopeful…even if we can-mostly-only live it out with our individual efforts in our own domestic spheres.
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“You may remember that a month or so ago we were reading the Shell Seekers and I shared about how moved I was by the scenes during the war years, making connections between the sacrifices made then and my thought that similar sacrifices now could be a part of healing our imperiled planet. I’ve been doing much research, and it turns out the quite a few folk have had the same thought. Some have even worked out an in-depth approach on the political/governmental level and are trying to get it some attention. Unfortunately, they’ve dubbed it The Climate Mobilization. I am all for it, and have contacted my representatives about it and will support it in any way I can, but…
…it’s one of those Big Ways that we sometimes have to wait a long time to see come to fruition and have too little control over. And after many wobbly months, I’ve come back ’round to finding my faith again in the Small Ways. Seeing them held within a new effort for the earth, based on a historical, domestic effort that has become familiar (and was successful) has given me this hope. So, in between the monarchs emerging, the moon-watching and the morning glories, I’ve been listening deeply for a name that is more inspiring and more fitting for our scale of effort than “climate mobilization.”
I watched some wartime shows, read some articles…jotting down notes, spent sleepless hours trying out possibilities, talked to a friend about it, perused old posters online and couldn’t come up with anything home-like and down-to-earth…until it came to me last night as I was watching Queer Eye (no connection, my ponderings had just finally sifted out : ) When I found that no one seems to have used it online or made a hashtag of it, I was overjoyed and am now settling in to the wondering of where to go from here.”
Jenn September 20, 2019 at 11:01 am
Can’t wait to see what sprouts from these ideas. Thank you, as usual, for sharing and inspiring here!
Lesley September 20, 2019 at 11:45 am
Please share what sprouts for you, Jenn, if you feel inclined and have a blog or instagram or?
Claire September 21, 2019 at 1:55 am
I’m so excited about this, Lesley! I’ve made the logo into a widget on my woman of art & mind blog 🙂
Typing is still very painful, but I HAD to drop by and cheer you on xx
Lesley September 21, 2019 at 3:17 pm
Thank you so much, Claire, for making such an effort right now. It is wonderful to see it out there in the world!
Mardell Weisenburger September 21, 2019 at 4:47 pm
I just love this so much.
Lesley September 21, 2019 at 7:07 pm
Mardell, it is lovely to see you here!
Doreen September 22, 2019 at 2:05 pm
Lesley, I will be ordering The Shell Seekers shortly! I’ve always loved your spirit, your creativity, your path.
Lesley September 22, 2019 at 2:10 pm
I hope you will love it. It is not all set in the making do era, and the first chapter’s main character might put you off, but don’t let it. : )
And may I send my copy to you via Doug, perhaps? Lending books is an easy way to make do. Your library is bound to have it, and it is often on used book shelves. So no need to order!
Remembering the ways we used to do things before the age of ordering online is one of the hearts of Making Do. xo
Cathy September 24, 2019 at 7:43 pm
This is brilliant! I love the name of our movement. It fits perfectly, as does the logo. And the idea that we are on the “home front,” as opposed to the front line, conveys a great deal. Yes, right here in our everyday at-home lives we CAN do something to make a difference. I’m starting a list of the things I already do to get me started. I look forward to adding to it with you and the other Make-Doers? Homefronters? (what are we calling ourselves?).
Lesley September 25, 2019 at 10:14 am
I am so glad you are using “our”…that is just what I hope for. Your enthusiasm is wonderful and your list-making. Once you watch the Wartime videos, your list will grow much longer, I expect. : ) Very powerful.
You know, I have never been able to call myself by a group name, as much as I know they can be helpful. So please make something up if you like! : )
I am satisfied knowing we are women (and no doubt some men) who are joining together in spirit across the miles.
Jane September 25, 2019 at 12:34 am
I love that “Make do and Mend the Earth.” Making do is a powerful concept. So simple in concept, but difficult to execute until you turn the corner on your perception … or so it seems to me at this moment. Count me in on this movement! I’m absolutely swamped right now (at least for the next two weeks 🙂 ), but I’d love to help out with it in some way, and champion it. So please include me in any conversation — and action! I love your logo too.
Lesley September 25, 2019 at 10:16 am
Yes, Jane…perception is all. I am looking forward to sharing more of the things that changed during the way as their perception was forcibly changed.
I will definitely call on you and am glad to know we shall be meeting again, in this new way.