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Monday, September 23, 2013

A Christening of Sorts

A few weeks ago I wondered aloud in which direction I should take this blog now that I feel quite differently about writing and my purpose in this world. I think I may have had a little clarity about this subject in the last few days as my mind has circled around different topics to write about and a common theme has started to develop.

I have been keenly interested in global issues for quite some time (climate change, resource scarcity, population overshoot, urban development, rising corporatism, etc.), and these interests have found their way into my fiction and occasionally onto the "pages" of this blog. But privately I've been frustrated by my own unwillingness to commit to any real course of public action. On the one hand I am in no position to be sitting in a public park somewhere protesting the actions of our government, or strapping myself to the KXL pipeline. Yet, on the other I feel increasingly guilty about seeing so clearly the destructive path in front of us and still doing close to nothing about it.

In this way, I am beginning to understand that I am thoroughly typical of my generational cohort. While the Boomers have all the money and the power, it's pretty clear that they are close to clueless about the damage that they've done and are unikely to help in any useful way. The Millennials get a lot of slack for being naive and unreasonable technologists won't engage with reality long enough to put their weight behind anything, but I think that's unfair, since half of them are still too young to have a truly adult reaction to their predicament and the rest have graduated college directly into the teeth of one of the most ridiculous, grinding job markets in history. Let's give them a few years to throw a well-deserved tantrum before we expect them to grow up and start lobbing molotov cocktails.

Really, my greatest disappointment is reserved for my particular cohort, the Generation Y/Xers (let's say, 27-45), who have jobs, have some power, and clearly see that something bad is going on, yet respond with shrugs, or a "what can I do?" Surely, this is an understandable reaction, but it is a thoughtless and cowardly one. It's a reaction that suggests you feel that you are somehow not of this earth, that somehow these problems don't apply to you. Not only is this fallacious on the face of it, but given that we are Americans and America is pretty darn close to the crux of almost all of these "global" problems, we actually have a much larger proportion of "blood" on our hands, hence responsibility for finding solutions.

This isn't meant to be a guilt trip; I am guilty too, more so because I can't even claim ignorance. I say all this, because after years of wringing my hands and recounting the complex of problems facing humanity, I've finally come to a pretty basic realization: I've dwelled on the problems for long enough and it's time to start figuring out some solutions. This of course brings up a further problem, namely that I don't really have any solutions.

But that doesn't matter, either. It doesn't matter that the problems we face are global in nature, or that the largest, wealthiest, and most powerful generation is effectively aligned with the "bad" guys. It doesn't matter that we are all just individuals with little to say or little to offer. All that matters is that we do something. There are simply so many things that need to be done, that finding something to do isn't really the problem; it's recognizing that there is a problem and then deciding that action is the best course, the only course, really.

Everyone must come to this on their own, in their own time, but in the meantime we are all still marching down this path together. Therefore, from here on out I'm going to focus this blog as an educational space where whoever is interested can find good information not just on the issues, but on places they can donate their time, effort, and ideas. There is so much to be done, and so many great ideas floating out there, that focusing on the problems no longer seems like a productive use of my time. I may not have any good answers, but I love ideas and I love explaining things, so maybe this can be my contribution. I will, of course, still post good stuff about writers I care about, but the focus will start to shift toward global issues and local solutions.

Thanks to everyone who has followed this blog over the last several years. Your goodwill and good vibes have been a constant warm glow for me.