Personal Ways to Disengage from the System

By Melanie Williams

I believe our personal actions matter more now than at any other point in history. I've become disillusioned with activism that aims a direct assault on the system. Rather I think it's the million and one little things we each can do that will play a significant role in toppling the system.

I sat down and brainstormed a list of little things we could each do. This was a quick exercise and one that stems from my own limited vantage point. I'd love to see what others would add to the list.

Grow your own fruits, veggies, beans, nuts, and seeds.
Grow herbs for medicinal, culinary, and cosmetic purposes.
Raise chickens, rabbits, bees, goats, sheep, etc. for fur, fiber, meat, eggs, dairy and honey.
Cook from scratch.
Don't buy processed foods.
Eat at home.
Buy from local growers what you can't grow yourself.
Join an organic CSA.
Buy grass-fed meats.
Reduce meat consumption.
Shop second-hand stores, flea markets, etc.
Barter, use free-cycle.
Become self-employed.
Don't invest in the market.
Loan within your community to support positive enterprises.
Don't charge interest except to cover inflation, if any.
Build passive-solar homes.
Heat with locally available fuels.
Swap seeds with neighbors, friends, family.
Use humanure.
Use graywater systems.
Collect rainwater. (Illegal where I live!)
Own your own water.
Sell your car.
Build with locally available materials (adobe, strawbales, stone, logs, etc.)
Salvage materials.
Give up gadgets (tv's, microwave ovens, dishwashers, cellphones, etc.)
Do it by hand (garden, kitchen, house, etc.).
Build a root cellar.
Learn to preserve foods.
Share excess produce.
Learn to build, repair and tinker.
Insist on home funerals and burials where legal.
Exercise and eat right.
Ferment foods.
Learn how to safely store drinking water.
Drip irrigate.
Conserve water.
Learn how to find water.
Go off grid.
Use permaculture principles, esp. create no waste.
Live in the smallest shelter that's practical.
Buy bulk grains, beans, spices, salt, etc. if they can't be grown or found locally.
Figure out what you can do without.
Learn how to make cheese, yogurt, soap, wine, herbal distillations, etc.
Raise your own sweeteners (honey, maple syrup, sorghum).
Plant for genetic diversity.
Learn how to build and maintain healthy soils.
Use a clothesline.
Learn how to identify wild edibles and incorporate into your diet, sustainably.
Forgo air conditioning.
Choose a climate suitable for human endeavors, one that doesn't require much artificial heating or cooling.
Learn to hunt, track, trap, and fish.
Learn to co-exist with the local critters (including the human ones).
Don't use airplanes.
Stay where you are.
Build strong communities.
Re-invent community canning kitchens, community grain mills, etc.
Finance nothing--no mortgages, no car loans, no lines of credit.
Don't use banks.
Help your neighbors.

The list could go on and on. Anything you do to take back responsibility for your own well-being and the well-being of your community is a step in the right direction. Small steps such as these may seem insignificant, but if you poke around the internet a bit, you'll see just how many people are waking up to the importance of these sorts of changes. Soon enough all of these little changes are going to add up and have an enormous impact. Just watch.

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Comment by Conscious Café on March 5, 2010 at 2:35am
yes! Up late: to finish Wellpark projects. Feel a bit frustrated with going to virtual to real face to face engagement. West Auckland group non responsive at best a few people. Need to get fired up!

going to the states for two weeks then solidly here form now on. Would like to see the idea of community fund and lending up and going. How are you making money? Are we re focusing towards alternative currency? Just finding real people and action hard to translate through all the posts and ideas. Great to have planning sessions and then what? I sent you the West Auckland Prana visioning mind map ( or James) and heard nothging back. NO one commented or came or rang on the idea of 22 Feb at my house. Find you two very uplifting and then nothing from these actions. Want to figure out how social networking creates real time actions.
Comment by Glen Kirkby on February 28, 2010 at 5:43pm
I love melanies enthusiasm, and agree with the sentiment. I for one do everything that I can, and it does seem to be catching on. I look forward to the day where I feel normal in my personal demeanour. Thankyou ooooby for bringing items of this nature to our awareness.
Comment by Denise on February 19, 2010 at 10:36pm
I'm a starter! But as a self employed person (with a registered company) I HAVE to have several insurances eg public liability/indemnity as part of many of my would a mutual insurance just work for our personal situations? or could it also work for companies?
Comment by Earl Mardle on February 16, 2010 at 9:50pm

I wondered how long it would take you to go Hmmmmm.

4 minutes.
Comment by Pete Russell on February 16, 2010 at 9:32pm
Hmmm. That would be a useful service.
Comment by Earl Mardle on February 16, 2010 at 9:29pm
The paradox of insurance is that it started out as a colelctive way to share intermittent, unpredictable high costs. Self insurance is far too difficult because the need can happen tomorrow and you get wiped out, sometimes, as in the case of health insurance, you die because you can't afford the treatement.

It was the financial equivalent of barn raising and most early insurance companies were "mutual" organisations, ie, they were owned by the insured.

It wasn't that long ago that demutualisation was the big thing where people were tempted to hand over control to asset strippers in exchange for being paid out with their own money.

Yet another short-sighted response from too many of us. But all communitarian activity is mutual support, and insurance is one of those activities. So, what would it take to set up Ooooby Mutual Insurance Society? Any starters.
Comment by Hester on February 16, 2010 at 2:39pm
Great suggestions, and remember that some older people have been working on this for years, so you are not alone and there are plenty of people with experience and conviction to link with. A couple of tiny additions-add stevia to your list of sweeteners. It is not very difficult to grow or use. Plant some nut trees in your community-how about as street trees,in a park-get your council on board ( macadamias, walnuts). Nuts are a great source of protein when combined with grains.
Comment by Pete Russell on February 16, 2010 at 2:08pm
Not sure. Maybe go to Melanie's blog by clicking on her name at the top. I'm curious too. You might like to invite her to come and join us here at ooooby?
Comment by Karen Mooar on February 16, 2010 at 2:05pm
What a list! I'm intrigued by the idea of self-insuring. How is that done?

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