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All too often it can prove edgy to speak your mind.  I get that. Your values surface to the tip of your tongue but you hold tight for fear that you’ll expose a part of yourself at odds with your co-workers; at odds with your spouse, church or employer.

“Do I dare speak up?”

How do you decide?

The answer requires a slight detour.  Let’s focus on an unintended consequence of our military-industrial complex:  the steady loss of life.  Be it the loss of bio-diversity, the creation of toxic waste, aggravating global warming… each of us contributes to this tragic drama.  Many of us willing to acknowledge this loss of life find ourselves making a living by inadvertently supporting this loss of life.

Polar Bear Sleeping_edited-1Perhaps where you work you’re concerned about the amount of storm water reaching a nearby creek. Do you raise this red flag at a staff meeting?  Maybe you believe in steady state economics.  Do you bring this up at a Board of Realtors meeting? Perhaps you consider over-consumption a compelling issue.  Do you share this with your co-workers at a staff meeting at Best Buy?

Damn that cognitive dissonance; that friction between your values and your actions. How might you reduce the heat generated by this friction?  Where’s the WD-40 when you need it?

Clearly, if the cognitive dissonance is of sufficient magnitude, you’ll jump ship.  You’ll change jobs and go to work for an environmental non-profit; you’ll find friends who can hear your voice and share your concern; perhaps you’ll find a church that embraces the stewardship of the planet that’s aligned with your values.

Alternately, you may find your circumstances a bit more rigid.  You may feel stuck at your job because you need to sustain your income in order to send your kid through college.  The details vary, but life can tend to hold you at bay, unable to act. Stuck.  Insufficient WD-40 to let loose.

Then what?

Consider growing an anonymous voice for action aligned with your values.

Why not, for example, donate anonymously to a non-profit that’s working hard on an issue close to your heart. 

Have you ever looked at the list of donors on the back of  Whatcom Watch?  Many are anonymous.  Why?  Perhaps (s)he doesn’t want to be hassled for additional requests for money.  Or perhaps it’s a realtor or a Best Buy salesperson who realizes their contribution to this loss of life and is compelled to act anyway!

Derrick Jensen, an acclaimed author who helps people discover their voice, be it public or anonymous, puts it this way:

 “….the fact remains that if we judge my work, or anyone’s work, by the most important standard of all, and in fact the only standard that really matters, which is the health of the planet, my work (and everyone else’s) is a complete failure. Because my work hasn’t stopped the murder of the planet. Nor has anyone else’s. We haven’t even slowed it down. The health of the planet is the only standard that really matters because without a living planet nothing else is important, because nothing else exists. Life itself is more important than what we create.”

If you feel like logistics in your own world prevent you from caring for the environment in alignment with your concern for loss of life, find another way.  Find your voice and make it so, even if it is anonymous.

Paul Wellstone nailed it when he said…

“If we don’t fight hard enough for the things we stand for, at some point we have to recognize that we don’t really stand for them.”

Derrick Jensen, in most every talk he gives, reveals that 90% of the large fish on earth are gone. He’ll ask his audience, and I ask you, this…

At what point will you take charge of your actions?  Will it be when 95% of the fish are gone?  98%?

 

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