House of Cards

As I’ve been thinking and writing about environmental catastrophe, and seeing that unfolding now, most recently with the total destruction of the Bahamas, I keep seeing a vision of our communities as houses of cards. I think most of us try to avoid thinking of how fragile our communities are.

The water crisis in Flint, Michigan, might force us to think of how water no longer running from our faucets would change our lives. Scenes of the streets of New York City several years ago when the electrical grid failed looked eerily like a scene from a Zombie movie.

Imagine what your life would be like if electrical power was permanently lost. No lights, heating/air conditioning, hot water, refrigeration, television, computers or cell phones. No power to run complex systems in hospitals. Or if distribution systems failed and food was no longer available at the grocery store.

Most of us lack the stories that help imagine a future where we thrive in the midst of unstoppable ecological catastrophe. We have been propelled to this point by the myths of progress, limitless growth, our separateness from nature and god-like dominion over it.

If we are to find a new kind of good life amid the catastrophes these myths have spawned, then we need to radically rethink the stories we tell ourselves. We need to dig deep into old stories and reveal their wisdom, as well as lovingly nurture the emergence of new stories into being. This will not be easy. The myths of this age are deeply rooted in our culture.

My young children need me to be an adult. They are the reason I feel despair so profoundly. Yet they are also the reason I cannot wallow in it, acquiesce to it, or turn away from the horror. This is the reason I have sought to imagine another way, and to find and focus on that which I might do to usher that vision into existence, and to behave as if what I do really matters for their future. They are the reason I have directed my imagination to the multitude of paths only visible once I looked beyond the myths that have clouded much of my thinking. It is up to me show them a way beyond grief to a way of life truly worth living for, even if it isn’t the path I had expected to be showing them.

All that is needed is to cross the threshold with ready hands and a sense, even a vague one, of what might be yours to do.

Pontoon Archipelago or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Collapse. By James Allen, originally published by Medium
June 18, 2019

It is time to face how fragile our communities are, and what to do about it.


What are you willing to do for your children? Your grandchildren? How far will you go?
What is your truth when it comes to the edge?
Well it’s time to go to your edge, or else your children’s future is over!
Let this be the wake up to take action. In your life. In your community.
Now is all we have and our opportunity to make a difference is slipping by rapidly.
Quit thinking about the change you want to see and just be it! Today! NOW! Later is no longer an option….

Joshua Taflinger

Following is the latest version of an outline I’ve been working on related to communities of the future. Or rather, communities we need to be building now.

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