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Revenge of the ReGENerates

“Will youth take up the challenge — “grasp the nettle” as it were — or will they follow the example of their parents and grandparents?”

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It is a region of vague possibilities for profound change.

David Holmgren, Bernie Sanders, or Alejandra Ocasio-Cortez can wail about income disparity, student loans or unaffordable health insurance, but such minor inconveniences are inseparable from this stage of separation. Living in a liminal period is like simultaneously occupying parallel universes, where some people believe in Y2K, aliens, peak oil, climate change, Russiagate, or angels, while others, even friends and family, may adamantly believe the opposite. These universes never merge but instead rhythmically collide, inducing instability — economic, social and political. Science and logic are irrelevant. Adrift, people flail about for life rafts to grasp. If a charismatic right-or-left wing tyrant promises return to stability, he draws followers like moths to a flame. If a cult leader says he or she can offer mental tranquility amidst the chaos, you jump, no matter how ridiculous the specifics of that discipline would have seemed to you back when things appeared more normal. If an authority figure offers you a special diet pill, a revolutionary app, or some other fantastical cure for the ennui you are feeling, you buy. Don’t be ashamed. All normal. This is what liminality looks like.

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Ecosystem Restoration Camps

There also exist in these times what Turner called “ritual liminars” or “edgemen,” who recognize both the peril and the opportunity but do not seek personal advantage in the moment, rather serve as guides, ferrying candidates to the far shore. They fit Joanna Macy’s definition of an activist — “anyone who does something for more than personal advantage.”

It may be that when we no longer know what to do
we have come to our real work,
and that when we no longer know which way to go,
we have begun our real journey.
The mind that is not baffled is not employed.
The impeded stream is the one that sings.

― Wendell Berry

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Written by

Emergency Planetary Technician and Climate Science Wonk — using naturopathic remedies to recover the Holocene without geoengineering or ponzinomics.

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