Muddling along at sea

“Muddling along at sea” is the title of the final section of the essay I’ve been writing about for the past week, Pontoon Archipelago or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Collapse. by James Allen. This section is an allegorical tale of a large passenger ship that is taking on water, reminiscent of the Titanic. Part of the story follows:

Then there are those who have quietly disembarked the ship. Look overboard and you’ll see them. They’re not fleeing for dry land though. They’re staying close by. You’ll see more paddling toward rafts they’ve built from whatever they could harvest with their own hands. In groups that seem to grow and contract on a loop as if breathing, they are working feverishly, yet creatively and playfully. They’re building structures on the water, only to pull them down again and reconfigure until they settle on a more elegant shape. The more who join the raft-builders, the more elegant their structures become.

The builders do this work because when the ship’s descent into the abyss accelerates, those aboard will need to look to something that will abate the terror. Something to swim towards. They will need to see something that offers a hope beyond hope that they might climb aboard or even emulate. What the builders have created may look shabby now, but all elegant things begin in exactly this way. They know this and they share stories with one another that speed along this transmutation. Their transition may take decades, perhaps centuries. They’ll carry on working. Together, they’re dreaming of a pontoon archipelago where the sun never sets without music.

Pontoon Archipelago or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Collapse. By James Allen, Medium, May 24, 2019

The essay ends with this poem:

Let this darkness be a bell tower

Quiet friend who has come so far,
feel how your breathing makes more space around you.
Let this darkness be a bell tower
and you the bell. As you ring,
what batters you becomes your strength.
Move back and forth into the change.
What is it like, such intensity of pain?
If the drink is bitter, turn yourself to wine.
In this uncontainable night,
be the mystery at the crossroads of your senses,
the meaning discovered there.
And if the world has ceased to hear you,
say to the silent earth: I flow.
To the rushing water, speak: I am.

Sonnets to Orpheus II, 29. By Rainer Maria Rilke

The following is from a blog post I wrote Feb. 23, 2018, Design and Build Beloved Community Models.

How do we speak to our current and approaching challenges?

  • Environmental disasters
    • Weather extremes
      • Widespread and persistent drought, rising seas and more intense storms and fires
        • Destroyed homes, cities, land
        • Destroyed infrastructure
        • Water, food and energy scarcity
        • Resource wars
        • Collapsing social/political order
        • Climate refugees
    • Militarism and police states
    • Decreasing availability and complexity of health care and medications
    • Spiritual poverty

We are facing, and will increasingly experience failures of our social, economic, energy, health, education, safety, production and distribution systems. This will result in millions of climate refugees. People without stable sources of food, water, lodging, healthcare, education, power, spiritual community, or security.

The Midwest

We are faced with two broad problems. How to adapt our own lives to deal with these changes, and what to do about the flood of people who will be migrating to the Midwest.

“Along America’s most fragile shorelines, [thousands] will embark on a great migration inland as their homes disappear beneath the water’s surface.”

LA Times, Victoria Herrmann Jan 25, 2016

Since we will soon not be able to depend on municipal water and power, transport of food from distances, schools and hospitals, many will be forced to move to rural areas where they can live and grow their own food.

The Choice

It would seem we have two choices.

  1. One is to narrowly focus on the best we can do to prepare ourselves and immediate community to adapt to the coming changes.
  2. The other is to also work on ways we can help the many people who will be coming to learn, adapt and thrive as well as possible.

Disaster Preparedness

As Friends we will make the second choice, to care for those who will be displaced. This will be like disaster relief work, only on a scale never seen before.

We first need to learn how to adapt to this uncertain future ourselves. Part of that will be to network with others, both to learn from, and to build a network to coordinate the response to the needs of the climate refugees.

Building Communities-The Vision

We need to design model sustainable communities that can be rapidly built for climate refugees who flee from coastal flooding, fires, flooding and drought. There have been numerous such experiments in intentional community. But this model must be created with the intention of being replicated many times over with minimal complexity, using locally available materials—a pre-fab community.

This entry was posted in Arts, bicycles, climate change, climate refugees, Quaker, renewable energy, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

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