I often feel overwhelmed by the news, especially the dire news about global warming and climate change.
Today was a day of protests aimed at raising awareness on this issue. This International Day of Climate Action was sponsored by 350.org.Their website is here: 350.org.
Sebastopol friends held up somber signs downtown for passing motorists to read....you know about how we've passed the threshold of 350 parts per million of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, the level beyond which civilization-threatening global warming is believed to be inevitable. Somehow, if I had joined them, my feelings of despair would have deepened.
On this day of 350 protests, I joined with my local Green Sangha this morning to transform a front yard into an edible landscape.
We dug out weeds, spread mulch, and planted edibles. We soon transformed what had once been an ordinary front yard into a bee-friendly organic garden that will soon yield an abundance locally grown food. We believe the yard will produce too much for the householders to eat, thus prompting sharing of the earth's bounty with neighbors.
An ancillary benefit was the fact that 25 people donated their labor without any expectation of ordinary compensation or trade. As I was weeding, it seemed strange that I was brought up to believe we should each own our own private property— "my home is my castle," as my dad's generation put it—and maintain our private domains ourselves or hire someone to do the maintenance. It's so much more fun to give away your labor with like-minded folks.
I had the pleasure of meeting Steve Bush (no relation; I asked) who is a male kindergarten teacher at Sonoma Day School. Men teaching kindergarten are an endangered species, and it's always exciting me meet a comrade. I enjoyed the companionship of old sangha friends, the pleasure of meeting new people, and the wholesome effects of light exercise in the service of communities both human and ecological.
Giving away my labor definitely brightened my day and dispelled the despair.