In my previous post, I mentioned that some people in my wider circle of acquaintances had got the mistaken impression that I am not employed. And I shared my occupational title, and wrote a list of what my work consists of.
Now I’ll discuss the economics. The fact is that a lot of my work is in fact not paid. I consider myself to be a marketing agency for Mother Earth. While she doesn’t offer me a paycheck or a 401(k) or health insurance or anything of the kind, she’s nonetheless the best client I know, and the one I want to serve.
My main categories of unpaid work:
• I spend many hours a week, sometimes the bulk of my day, doing ecosocial communication on social media: posting, sharing, and group-adminning. The social-media aspect of my work sometimes becomes a bit exhausting, and yet I would never be able to not do it. (I do encourage fellow environmentalists to post and share to groups or on their own pages, instead of sharing to me via direct messages and expecting me to then share publicly. I ask this not only because it avoids adding even more to my social-media workload, but also because it gets the word out to a much wider audience, since each one of you have people in your circles who only you can reach.)
• Other unpaid work I do includes massive amounts of reading in my fields, and attending conferences and classes (virtual only, or in short ground-transport distance). I do love reading, and love attending classes and conferences. I love the people I meet, and that we are living in the solution and rippling it out into our communities. Actually this work is not only unpaid: I actually have to pay to do it in a lot of cases although many webinars are free these days. Still I would never not want to do it. And the popularization of virtual conferences has opened up a wide world to me. In the past three years I have probably invested $2000 on conferences and classes, which in the conventional in-person world would have cost upwards of $20,000 and I would not have been able to justify the expense, even if I had been willing to incur the eco-footprint of the travel.
• Also unpaid are the many hours per week that I spend doing various experiments at my house and in my neighborhood. Rainwater collection and distribution, heat mitigation, stormwater absorption, waste-stream diversion, community-building, etc. All my findings I endeavor to share in various ways with my communities (both my geolocal community and my worldwide online communities). I love my “Mr. Wizard science experiments” so much! (If I should ever settle down with some nice old man and end up with a bunch of Brady Bunch grandkids, such eco experiments will be part of their unschool life if I have anything to say about it.)
Occupationally, I do not consider myself a civilian. Basically, I consider myself sort of an eco-soldier. In the grand scheme of things I am a minor foot-soldier only, but very dedicated just the same.
Monetarily, I believe in only earning what I need, and circulating the rest into my neighborhood and community if I should have extra. I also do not aspire to stockpile property or money beyond my needs.
I will always do what it takes to continue my work. The unpaid work is very important, and whatever (ethical) work I need to do to subsidize that, I will. I have got my expenses down to a minimum, so that I only need to do five or 10 hours of paying work a week. I’ve written about my stance on money, wealth inequality, the global middle class, and so on in previous posts; you can search for them on my blog.
Not having health insurance would be too scary for a lot of people, and I don’t fault anybody for not being willing to take that risk. However, as one who sees herself as a kind of soldier, I feel like it’s fine for me to take risks. If military soldiers are allowed to die just because the government named some other country as the enemy, then I’m allowed to die of some disease or accident if I can’t pay for the treatment and our society doesn’t have a good healthcare system because my country prefers to spend most of its resources waging war on people and planet.
(In a few years I will be 65, and have basic Medicare coverage assuming that’s still around.)
I aspire to live to be 120 in order to help solve the problems that our industrialized, colonialist, capitalist society has wreaked upon innocent people, other species, and the planet. Problems that I too have contributed to. Whatever I die of, I will consider myself to be in the line of duty. And whenever I die, even if it’s today, I can accept that it’s my time to go. My Living Will sets forth that no extreme measures be taken.
Side note: Whatever your wishes are for your own life and death, I highly recommend you write them down and share them with your family and friends, as I have. We don’t talk about death enough in our society, and it is to our detriment. Death is a part of life, and if we thoughtfully prepare for it, we can live with more joy and freedom.
In the Degrowth group, someone shared a quote from a famous book by a Native American. He says he trained himself to need and want as little as possible so he’d only have to work when he felt like it. Said he didn’t want a steady job in an office or factory, because “any human being is too good for that kind of no-life, even white people.” I share his attitude. (Book title: Lame Deer, Seeker Of Visions; by John Fire Lame Deer and Richard Erdoes.)
Being in service is a blessing. Work is a blessing. That said, having simple wants and not needing to earn much money is priceless.
Onward to a big busy workday, but a workday which will include plenty of sunshine and leisure and friendship, as always. Make no mistake, I love leisure and pleasure.
Thank you all for being on this earthly journey with me. Each one of you is a treasure, and I love you and am here for you.