Three years ago this month, in August 2017, I was heading into the home stretch of writing my book. I had started writing in mid-June, and when I started, I announced that the book would be launched on August 31.
Procrastination, self-doubt, and feelings of utter hopelessness were my constant companions throughout the writing process. But this book had been incubating in me for some years; I believed in the book even when I didn’t believe in myself; and finally I’d reached the point where I couldn’t not write it. And so, as promised, I launched the book on August 31, 2017.
In the introduction (which I saved til last to write), I wrote, “The capacity of people to self-mobilize for a worthy cause is remarkable.” I gave the example of Hurricane Harvey, which was going on even as I wrote. (The hurricane was officially born August 17 — three years ago today! — and ended September 3.)
The devastating storm sparked a massive grassroots outpouring of financial donations and supply missions to Houston and other hard-hit areas. “Some people are even loading up their kayaks and other small boats to go to Houston themselves and help with rescue operations,” I wrote in the introduction to DEEP GREEN.
Little did I suspect that other severe hurricanes were to follow immediately on the heels of Harvey. Irma in early September; Maria in late September. These storms, and the major hurricanes that have hit every year since, became a blur in my mind. I had to look them up and write down their dates to remember which ones I’d evacuated for; which ones I’d hunkered down for. Which ones had hit which countries and states hardest.
And that’s just the hurricanes. The world has seen extreme droughts, flooding, wildfires of unprecedented duration and severity in the past few years.
The disasters all serve as examples of people’s ability to self-mobilize and display their better nature in times of disaster. And they all serve as reminders that the weather isn’t getting any less extreme. Most of all, though, they showed how vulnerable we are, economically and socially, to disruptions in what, for those of us who live in the more privileged countries, has come to be taken for granted as the “normal” order of life.
And that was before the Covid pandemic. Underscore, underscore, underscore. The pandemic shed a more revealing light than ever before on the cracks in society.
The seemingly accelerating disasters of the past few years have only increased my sense of urgency to get my book, this blog, the message of a “grassroots green mobilization” out to more people. Because it’s not just the health of our home planet’s ecosystems, on which our lives depend, that is at stake (as if that weren’t enough). That’s true, but easy for naysayers to dismiss as hypothetical or an exaggerated threat. Less easy to dismiss is what’s happening in the here and now. Millions of people are losing their livelihoods; experiencing food insecurity; struggling to keep a roof over their heads (or struggling with homelessness). Struggling to secure an education for their kids. These things are true even at the best of times. Storms and other weather disasters, and then the pandemic, have just brought the existing cracks in our system into sharper relief.
I will never stop caring about the environment, and it will never cease being a prime focus of my work. But right now, my concern for the immediate wellbeing of fellow humans trumps my longer-term concern that our human habits are going to render our planet uninhabitable to us. Even if “longer-term” means only 10 years (which I sometimes fear that it might), my concern for people’s basic immediate wellbeing is even greater.
What I notice is that my book continues to be just as relevant through this lens of immediate concern. Cutting one’s eco-footprint in the various ways I suggest in my book leads to reduced financial overhead, and increased time and energy. This in turn makes a person and their household more adaptable and resilient to whatever may come. Think of it as increasing one’s options and maneuverability.
It is in that spirit that on August 31, the third anniversary of DEEP GREEN’s launch, I’ll be making the book available free online, via this blog. I’ll be breaking it up into a separate post for each chapter so it’s not too cumbersome to load. When I say free, I mean free and no strings attached. I’m just putting it out there, not asking for anyone’s email address or anything else in exchange.
For those of you who prefer to read offline (or who want to support my work financially), no worries! I will continue to offer DEEP GREEN for purchase as a PDF ($7), and in print form ($15 plus tax and shipping). I’m also going to be rolling out a couple of new, “deluxe” options that include original one-of-a-kind artwork by me.
We can’t afford to wait on government or other powers-that-be to make the changes needed to transform our society into one that’s more resilient, more compassionate, more just, less selfish, more courageous, less fragile. We have to get the ball rolling right now, ourselves, by doing whatever we are able and willing to do on a personal and household level.
Thank you for being here, and thank you for being willing to devote your precious time and energy to being part of a low-footprint-lifestyle revolution. I can promise you that your efforts will make you more adaptive, more resilient, and more free from the dead-end, death-dealing experiments we humans have drifted into. And will afford you space to create more joy and abundance in your life, and the lives of others.