ECO-Tours only purchases trees and dirt to plant them in...

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Talk vs. Action

I used to wonder why so many people treated one another with contempt. As I have written before, when I was young I imagined that when I became old enough to vote, people would finally take me seriously, or at least listen to what I had to say. Later, when I realized that this was not going to happen, I thought, maybe when I go to college, have children, own property, turn forty. Each time I upped the ante I was disappointed. What I failed to understand is that ideas hold virtually no water amongst those who have got us by the balls. Change does not serve their interests, so whatever good ideas come along are simply quashed through painting the do-gooders with the broad strokes of "Communists", Socialists", "Queer" or whatever the fashionable term for those we do not want to listen to is at the moment. Failing that, the buy out, stealing of patents and/or police or military "crack-down" can be used to shut down any opposition to business as usual.

There have been sentient beings for centuries that could see through the sham perpetrated by our leaders. There have been teachers, artists, scholars and philosophers that have had great ideas and valid ideas about how to improve the lives of the most people at relatively low cost and over long periods of time. It is not a true reckoning of the value of these ideas that has led us to turn our heads away or to demean the idea generators, call them idealistic or dismiss the solutions as impractical or unworkable. Talk is cheap. The powerful elites can tolerate us talking about what needs to be done. Talk never changed a flat tire, nor has it ever collected fire wood, created anything useful, nor has it carried any weight with those who decide what is good by how much they can make off the backs of the rest of us.

This sort of talk sounds radical until you start to look critically at history, economics and social conditions worldwide over the span of time. Talk is cheap and because of this, the ideas behind the talk are considered even cheaper. This is why there is more impact when a Hippie places a flower in the muzzle of a gun than there is when the same Hippie holds a sign that reads CORPORATE WELFARE IS CLASS WARFARE. It matters little how well an idea is expressed. It matters not at all that it may be the best course of action. Even the most important ideas of our time can be smashed to smithereens by a few well chosen words from our overseers, or a single lash of their whip. We have all seen the course of good ideas, many have just not paid very much attention. The radical part of my statements is that they hint at actions that have been taking place for at least one lifetime, my own. I am sure that millions of others are motivated by the same good ideas that I have had, the same love for humanity, the same selfless concern that we leave the planet a little better than we have found it. Action speaks far louder than words and since childhood I have been an activist.

The pace of change has seemed infernally slow, things we protested for and against are still haunting us if we wanted them to stop and still elusive if we wanted to create them. We were able to stop the war in Indo-china, but war continues. We were able to secure better education for millions, but that has been under assault ever since. We called for the clean-up of the environment, but more people die each year from environmental catastrophes, some which date back to before the first Earth Day. The idea generators are necessary and the teach-in can be a great way of getting large numbers of people on the same page, or the right track so to speak, but if we do not move forward, we will still be steamrolled by the social and political inertia which is dead set on keeping things exactly the same as they are now.

I have planted many thousands of trees, enough to reforest a couple dozen acres (9ha), but the multiplication of my own efforts through direct action has caused millions of trees to be planted and these rapidly growing forests are reclaiming larger acreage than I could ever hope to plant alone. Many of us learn by doing, not just talking about things. When we act, we create muscle memory, we experience a dance of doing, not just an electrical storm in our heads by thinking. Our ECO-Tours are designed to talk a little and act a lot. When we started planting trees thirty years ago, we would shape balls of clay into delivery packets for tree seeds and either drop them in denuded areas or shoot them in with sling shots. Remarkably, the hours we put in to make this happen was always a time to laugh, talk and enjoy one another in a relaxed environment. Sometimes hours of effort would get distributed across the landscape in just a few minutes, but it was good to know that we were accomplishing things in spite of the constant din of the media telling us gloom and doom stories about how bad things were getting. Even when you take action, there will be detractors and naysayers who seek to negate you or try to steal the wind from your sails, but just knowing that you are part of a solution to our environmental crisis can overcome any and all assaults.

The rich and powerful may question our sanity. They may fear our ideas and they may strive to vanquish any power that our words may hold, but they cannot change our deeds. Take action today and tomorrow will never be the same. Just make sure that your actions reflect the deepest beliefs, the most sacred commitments and the deepest feelings that you wish to express. If we do not take a stand for what is important in our lives, no one will do it for us.

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