Celebrating Uncertainty

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“What happened here is worth sharing because it shows all of the gains happened in incremental baby step ways. They weren’t magnificent, you didn’t all of a sudden say, here’s a hundred thousand acre park. It wasn’t like that. It was all incremental.”
Gary Giacomini, Marin County Supervisor 1972-1996
In Rebels with a Cause

A few weeks ago we went to see a movie called “Rebels with a Cause.” It is a documentary about the people behind the open space and National and State parks in Marin County, CA. Hundreds of thousands of acres were kept out of the hands of developers by a small group of people who had a goal in mind and stayed focused on achieving it. It was a very uplifting story.

Fast forward to this evening. MoveOn was sponsoring viewings of the new documentary “Gasland 2“. It is the sequel to the Academy Award nominated documentary Gasland, which sheds light on the danger of hydraulic refracturing (fracking) as a way of getting natural gas out of the ground.

Unfortunately, this was not an uplifting movie. As Josh Fox says at the beginning of the movie – “In sequels, the empire always strikes back” – this was that story. The “empire” was in the form of corporations, the media and local, state and federal governments.

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It showed how corporations are using Psy-Ops and counter-insurgency tactics to stop anti-fracking groups. How the media plays along with these tactics and how members of Congress and higher-ups in the Obama administration worked to stop EPA investigations.

I kept waiting for something to make me joyful, or maybe less depressed, about this situation. But it never came.

After the movie, the dozen or so people at the viewing expressed despair, but also engaged in conversation about how to promote change. Here in California, and elsewhere.

We talked about Bill McKibben and how 350.org is promoting divestment (getting universities, church denominations, cities and states to divest of energy company stocks) as a way to get the energy companies attention and keep them from having the means to their ends. Bill McKibben has also talked about civil disobedience as a way of getting people’s attention to the issues of fracking, tar sands oil and climate change.

We talked about applying pressure on legislators in CA to move beyond tepid measures and deal with the issues of fracking.

Earlier today at the Unitarian Universalist (UU) church we’ve been attending, the speaker’s topic was Sitting with Uncertainty. She shared some of her stories of dealing with uncertainty in her own life and the talk was sprinkled with quotes from “Waiting for Godot” along with a physics lesson about the Heisenberg uncertainty principle. It was, despite the topic, a wonderful, uplifting message.

Her message was that we all deal with uncertainty, everyday. How do you deal with it? Where do you find meaning? How can the interdependent web of life be harnessed to help all of us get through these times of uncertainty?

Thinking about that talk after watching tonight’s movie and the discussion afterward, I feel better. I know that the rebels from Marin County had times when they felt overwhelmed, frustrated and they were fighting a losing battle. But despite the uncertainty of success, they kept moving forward, and succeeded.

My message to you (and myself) – if you are uncertain about what the future holds, regarding climate change, fracking, the healthcare (or disease management) crisis, or whatever is meaningful in your life – find a community to work with and together share the load to make the changes you want to see.

Find blessings where you can and celebrate them all.

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I write about nutrition, health, food-related issues and spirituality at Whole Food-Whole Life.

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