A blood red sky rains ash down upon Australia as the entire country burns. 400,000 people flee rising waters as Jakarta sees the worst flooding in a decade. While Russia continues warming 2.5 times faster than the rest of the planet, the Kremlin touts its potential ‘positive’ economic effects; Meanwhile, ivory hunters scour Siberia for mammoth tusks as the ancient permafrost melts.
In the U.S., Trump is using the threat of war & the blood of innocents as a human shield against attacks from his rivals. Border Patrol and ICE continue their chokehold on entrance into the States as the number of people displaced by climate change climbs to more than 40 million. World leaders continue failing to respond to the escalating climate crisis in any meaningful way.
Our house is on fire, and fascists are in power.
2020 kicked off with a horrific bang; it’s hard not to feel already lost in a sea of despair over the current state of things, and it’s only January.
How do we make it through this month and beyond? How do we avoid being swept away by waves of sorrow when it’s all so overwhelming?
First, deep breaths. Set aside some time to consider what your biggest priority is right now. Use this to set your intentions for January and beyond.
Why is setting intentions important?
Action without intent is akin to spinning donuts in a parking lot: dizzying, a waste of fuel, and produces more smoke than motion. Don’t spin your wheels; move with intent & purpose to accomplish what you want with the finite time you have.
When we’re lost, it’s critical to have a map and compass to guide us out of harm’s way.
In stressful & chaotic times like the present, your values are your compass. Your intentions map your way to safety from harm and undue suffering.
If it’s possible for you, think beyond the everyday; think past your job, past the daily chores. What are your most important personal values? What would you need to do to align your actions with these essential values? I find making lists to be very helpful for this sort of brainstorming; just the act of writing things out can calm an anxious brain.
Next, break these actions down into simpler steps. As an example:
I value self reliance. It helps me feel safer and more in-control of my life & environment. My intention is to become as self reliant as possible to protect myself & be able to aid others in times of crisis, rather than becoming a hindrance or possible casualty.
For my actions to match my values, I need to:
1.) Do my best to be physically fit and healthy overall, within my limitations. This doesn’t just mean hitting the gym (though that’s part of it), it means: Eating well. Getting proper rest. Breathing exercises. Meditation. Laughing. Doing anything I can to maintain a healthy baseline, both physically and emotionally, to build myself up from.
Note: We all struggle with this under capitalism. You don’t have to do it alone; find others like you in the Dominion Mental Health Salon. We’re all just trying our best to function under the weight of our circumstances. Don’t be afraid to reach out.
2.) Prepare for relevant emergency scenarios that may affect me during these tenuous times. One scenario that’s a priority for me are natural disasters (earthquakes, personally). A natural disaster could mean: loss of power, loss of food & water, possible loss of shelter, and possible injuries.
To prepare for this scenario, I should:
- Research emergency power sources (batteries, generators, solar; whichever is appropriate/attainable)
- Make sure I have an adequate stock of shelf-stable food & water stored (plus a way to prepare it)
- Invest in an emergency shelter that’s adequate for my situation/income (could be as simple as a tarp & duct tape, or as elaborate as an 8-person tent)
- Make sure I have at least basic medical supplies on hand (first aid kit) and if possible, take some first aid or emergency medicine classes
Not everybody is able to accomplish everything in this list, and that’s okay! As long as each one of us is doing our best to have our actions match our values, we’re doing what we need to do. We all have different values and priorities, which is why working together is so important: our collective knowledge is what makes us strong.
We don’t have to be good at everything, but we can each be good at something. Here’s a good list of important, useful skills to learn that could help you & others in the trying times to come.
Lastly, find community. Come together with your friends and loved ones; help support each other during the tough times. Find strength in numbers and catharsis in your collective laughter and tears. We’re working hard to build communities of folks who are well-prepared and ready to work together when the hardest times hit. Interested in joining one nearby, or even starting your own? Let us know.