Be Like Water. Adapting to new worlds
Covid-19, the end of capitalism and the death of the old world. What comes next? What lies on the horizon? Will we sink or swim?
I saw a post on Twitter that illustrated the issues we have with shipping, and it got me thinking about the complete dependence we have on it.
All of us in the US and global north are entirely dependent on complex systems of shipping. Almost everything we own and touch and use and eat is shipped in from other places. It’s convenient to have pineapple in an apartment in New Jersey in December. It’s convenient to go to a grocery store, to go to hardware store and buy lumber and nails. Everything we want is here! But it comes at the price of your life, of your time. You become a slave to a system that exploits you. Everything you want is there, but everything you need has been stolen from you.
Humans need the essentials.
I would add more to that list in our modern age.
Decent Shelter with minimal climate control
Access to Community
We have access to everything we could ever want.
Infinite funko pops to adorn the shelves of our empty plastic collections. Nods to our nostalgia for a childhood we never had and one that is lengthened indefinitely.
Unlimited phones for us to stare at late at night to drown out the inner thoughts in our head keeping us from sleeping. The glare of the blue light in the dark as you fight to get sleep before opening shift the next day.
A luxury handbag to post on Instagram for the sake of status while you pay it off on your credit card for months but are too scared to scratch it. So it sits in the closet.
The latest car, the latest gaming system, the latest food from the newest restaurant delivered to you at any time by a gig worker who sleeps in his car.
And yet we pay hundreds of dollars at grocery stores, their shelves still somewhat bare from last year. We pay every month to turn the faucet and have water come out. We pay to keep the lights on. We pay greedy landlords for some shitty studio apartment. We pay banks to own our own crumbling castle, each month something else is breaking, each month another big trip to the hardware store.
What if it all just… went away?
First Nations people know what an apocalypse looks like. It really isn’t what right wing chuds say it will be. It was massacre after massacre by the hands of colonizers. More importantly in the United States, the genocide was carried out both with extreme physical violence but disrupting indigenous food practices. Killing off the bison in huge numbers completely changed the lives of indigenous people. For many tribes, the bison hunt and their migrations were their way of life.
Capitalism has a very funny way of stealing a necessity like food, commodifying it, stopping you from producing it, and then selling it back to you. Stealing your livelihood, commodifying it, stopping you from living it, and then selling it back to you. Stealing water, land, homes. Commodifying it, stopping you from having it, then selling it back to you.
We are coming up to a time where we see firsthand what this system has stripped from humanity. Our dependence on this complicated system is showing, showing itself for the first time to people who have never had to deal with these issues before.
All of this is pointing out the wild inefficiency that comes when profits are held to be the most important.
Living in Texas I saw it all crumble firsthand. A changing climate that causes a freak snowstorm. The stores empty, the lights go out, water pipes freezing and flooding homes. Gas stations were empty because trucks couldn’t deliver, stores were emptying because trucks couldn’t deliver. People freeze to death in the streets and in their homes while Ted Cruz tried to flee to Mexico.
Winter storm Uri should have been the biggest wakeup call for people in the south, that the supply chain is crumbling.
So supply chains are weak from tons of different factors. There really isn’t alot on a personal level that people can do to fix that huge problem. So we start from the ground up.
Building our own supply chains: Hyperlocalization and Decentralization
The first steps to liberating ourselves and building a better, more inclusive, eco-centered world is taking back the core power that was stripped from us all by colonialism, racism, genocide, and the system that perpetuates all of it, capitalism.
I am going to make this into a couple of broken-up articles. I don’t like to read and you probably have a lot going on so here are the main topics:
These articles will focus on methods of decentralizing our lives, gaining autonomy from large food systems and getting closer to real freedom. It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it.
“You must be shapeless, formless, like water. When you pour water in a cup, it becomes the cup. When you pour water in a bottle, it becomes the bottle. When you pour water in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Water can drip and it can crash. Become like water my friend.”
We need to make our lives adaptable to the changes ahead, and that means taking back our autonomy and taking back our power.