Resilience is Connection

sunflowerTrying to create a more resilient way of life is not easy. We are sure to make mistakes, and we are likely to get discouraged unless we can draw upon a deep source of spiritual energy – a ‘soul-force’ or ‘fierce light’ that comes from within. Recently a small group of us shared a viewing of Fierce Light, which i wrote about in a previous posting here on the blog, and afterwards we talked about the deep sense of connection which the film explores in relation to social activism. The following is one person’s reflections coming out of that conversation.

Resilient Manitoulin is a growing network of Manitoulin Island residents which came together because some of us shared a sense of living on a planet in crisis. The more we looked into ecological, economic and energy trends, the more we realized that human survival depends on changing our deeply self-destructive habits and unsustainable systems. For example, the North American food system on which we’ve become dependent is already stretched close to collapse. The same goes for global economic system, although the major powers who profit from it are scrambling to assure us that the ‘meltdown’ of 2008 was just a temporary setback, a ‘recession’ …

Anyway, we set to work trying to develop our own local systems that would enable us to survive major breakdowns in the old systems. But the hope that holds us together is much more positive than that. We do want to survive the possible collapse of the power grid or the food-distribution system, but more important, we want to live better lives than dependence on the old systems allows. Again, food is a good example: we prefer local food because it’s healthier, it makes more ecological sense, we know the producers personally, and it tastes better than the industrial agribusiness product.

In short, our purpose is not merely reacting to the crisis we see coming at us, but actively creating a better way of life, one that is more connected to the real sources of life. That purpose in turn connects us immediately with everyone who shares it, on Manitoulin and elsewhere on this island Earth. We try to support each other even though we don’t all share the same skills, beliefs, practices or priorities. We all affirm, in our various ways, our deep connection with everything – even with those engaged in tearing apart those connections, the warmakers and wasters of the earth. We can’t improve our situation by making somebody else’s worse. Our common enemy is addiction to destructive practices – a habit we humans have to kick together, by healing our sense of connection.

We knew from the start that our little network would have to grow, because everybody who lives on Manitoulin is in the same boat. This blog is just one way of letting other Islanders know that we’re here for the sake of connecting us all with the place where we live, and not for political power or profit or any such petty purpose. We’re here to put our hearts and heads together, and get our hands dirty with good clean Manitoulin dirt.

That’s how i see it, anyway. I’d love to hear from others.

Welcome to Resilient Manitoulin

Some of us here on Manitoulin Island are looking for ways to enhance the resilience of our community. We realize that the global systems which supply us with energy, food, water and other basics are under increasing stress, and we are looking for ways to develop local alternatives. Communities everywhere will need to become more resilient in order to maintain healthy human lives in the face of intertwined challenges such as climate change, peak oil, and economic instability. If we sink our roots deep enough, here where we live, we won’t be blown away by the next unexpected crisis.

But beyond that, a resilient community is already a better place to live, and it keeps on getting better as we learn to rely more on each other and on local sources for food, energy, expertise, artistic inspiration and spiritual fellowship. That doesn’t mean isolation from the ‘outside world’ – on the contrary, resilient communities need to keep in touch because they have much to learn from each other. There are many ways to deepen our relationship with the place we inhabit.

This blog was launched in August 2009 to support the growth and renewal of resilience on Manitoulin. We aim to provide a public space for

  • reporting on specific Manitoulin-based projects, gatherings and proposals for building our community;
  • listing and reviewing resources (books, websites, DVDs etc.) about global problems and local solutions;
  • supporting informed and reasonable dialogue about relevant issues and alternatives.

Some postings will be moved here from an earlier blog originally called Manitoulin Rides. We invite everyone to comment on this or any posting on Resilient Manitoulin. The next post will explain more about how you can contribute here.