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Skills for a Changing World

Alrighty. Enough doom scrolling! Time for some positive action.

I know a lot of you are worried about what the future holds, and are realizing that our modern life hasn't provided much in the way of concrete skills or resilience in the face of this kind of uncertainty.

Nearly 20 years ago now, I learned about the corporate monopolies in our food system. It made me feel the way many of you might feel now. Angry, helpless and a bit afraid.

But the wonderful thing is - this is a problem we can do something about.

The first and most important step is recognizing that our modern culture engenders learned helplessness. Once we acknowledge that - we can CHOOSE to UNLEARN it.

It doesn't have be to particularly difficult, scary, overwhelming or expensive.

I have spent most of my adult life unlearning these cultural notions and replacing them with skills, knowledge, the wisdom of my garden and a communal sense of resilience. I can say with confidence - it has been the most joyful, life-affirming work of my life.

So how do the heck do we get started?


Learning resilience skills and becoming a community repository of knowledge is something that cannot be taken from you, legislated away or made illegal. Once you know how to grow tomatoes and save seeds, you know.

Simply taking an intentional stand against our collective learned helplessness will lift some of the weight of worry.

Gather books on resilience, traditional skills, cooking, canning - and don't forget to learn how to do things that bring you joy. Whether that's knitting a sweater or making your own wine from scratch - these things matter too.


Do something for yourself.

Make a meal. Grow a pot of herbs on a windowsill. Break out the sewing machine.

One of the things that I think is the most illustrative of how screwed up our society is, is that we refer to our citizens not as citizens, but as CONSUMERS.

Being a citizen is an active role; citizens help produce the society they live in. A consumer on the other hand? Passive. Vulnerable. She does not act; she is acted upon.

This mindset shift - of seeing ourselves as an active part of the world around us is the key to everything. We will find ourselves realizing that complaining about 'society' is useless unless WE are willing to change. Afterall, what is 'society' but a collection of individuals - us??

Don't listen to the gremlins in your head that tell you it won't count if you don't learn how to do it all, either. This sense of empowerment is contagious and incredibly powerful.

Start small.

If you are looking for resources on self-reliant living and related skills - here's a list of some of my favourites. Happy reading.

As always.



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