Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Awareness vs Understanding

The BBC offers eight food numbers in sixty seconds:
(There's supposed to be an embedded video above, and the code's all there,so here's hoping...)
Knowing the numbers are important, but understanding what's going on behind the numbers is more important. This is the difference between awareness and understanding. If I'm aware that food is being wasted and contributes to global warming, that's great. But it doesn't give me the information I need to change anything.
Understanding the causes of problems can offer you the chance to make a difference--either in your own life and sphere of influence, or on a larger scale. Information must have a component of action attached to it, or it is nothing more than noise.
I've just started reading Life Rules

by Ellen LaConte, in which she uses AIDS as a metaphor for the complex multilevel assault on life on Earth. To draw from that idea, ACT-UP insists that "Silence=Death." In the case of the current "Critical Mass of cascading environmental, economic, social and political crises", Inaction=Death.
But the best book I've read recently (Recently, because Raj Patel and Marion Nestle were a couple of years back) has to be John Michael Greer's book Decline and Fall: The end of empire and the future of democracy in 21st century America.
Greer points out some hard truths about our future, such as it takes power to create an alternately-powered future. Power we don't have and probably never will have. And that means that the current civilization we have is pretty much over. The best we can hope for, according to Greer, is something approximating a 1910 standard of living. You know, if we're lucky, smart, and get on the ball. And one of the ways he sees this happening is through small organization democracy.
Now, I don't know if his solution is the only right one, but I do know that it will cost nothing to try. So I recommend reading his book and getting on with changing the world every way you can.

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