The Call, Column 106 – This Urban Farmer’s New Year’s Resolutions

30 12 2018

(December 30, 2018)

The Urban Farmer

This Urban Farmer’s New Year’s Resolutions

Tomorrow is New Year’s Eve. How amazing it is, that a whole year has passed again. And what a year it’s been, eh?

Readers, you all already know a lot about what’s gone on in my life over the past year. I’ve become an environmental activist, gotten involved in politics in a variety of ways, and accomplished more – and begun to practically live out my values – more than at any other time in my life. And now, I’m taking a bit of a breather and rest.

But with New Year’s comes resolutions. I don’t usually make New Year’s Resolutions, but I’ve recently been dwelling on some things that I think we should all focus more on in the coming year. I want to share them with you today. Let’s call them…”New Year’s Resolutions for the Urban Farmer”.

Do More to Protect Mother Earth

            As urban farmers, we are intimately aware that we are part of the Earth and all of its intricate, beautiful biogeochemical cycles. Regardless of your religious beliefs, there is a certain spiritual element to this relationship. And as urban farmers, we are intimately aware that the human species is in the process of destroying the Earth…rendering it potentially unlivable for us, and many other species. That’s not good.

One thing we could all do more of this year is to focus our attention on protecting the Earth. Reducing our personal resource use and environmental footprints are important, as well as steering the public conversation and education towards an understanding of environmental issues, attending rallies and demonstrations, and convincing our elected leaders to protect the Earth from their position of power. That brings us to the next resolution…

Engaging with our Communities and Governments

            As urban farmers, community is everything to us. Human beings are inherently a social species, and the agrarian lifestyle allows us to rely intimately on the community around us.

One important resolution we should all make is to interact with that community more. Go to events in our cities and towns, get to know our neighbors, give to our local homeless shelters and soup kitchens. And get involved in our government.

The government should represent the will of all of the people it governs, and it can only really do that if the population stays engaged and interested and paying attention. Treat your elected leaders as members of your community, because they are. Foster relationships with them, and make sure they know how to best represent you in the government. And that brings us to my third resolution…

Fighting Systemic Problems

            As urban farmers, I think we all recognize that the system is broken. Our capitalist economic system creates fake economic growth by exploiting finite resources and labor and polluting the Earth’s environment. Our governments and corporations have embedded in them system systemic racism, sexism, classism, ageism, ableism, and many other oppressive tendencies. Much of the food we eat and products we consume are unhealthy and damage the environment. The West is largely complacent and distracted. And all of this needs to change. We need to change all of this.

Let’s Keep Our Resolutions…Together

            These all sound good on paper, but you probably know, like I do, how hard it is to keep your New Year’s Resolutions. Today, I have one activity that will help us manifest all three of these resolutions…if you’re a Rhode Islander, at least. Are you ready for it?

Help to reform the Rhode Island state government! As we discussed last time, the Speaker of the RI House of Representatives has way too much power. And he uses his power to bully all other Representatives, preventing them from passing any meaningful legislation and actually representing you, their constituents.

So today, right now, you should go visit RIforReform.org. Rhode Islanders for Reform is working to make the State House work better for all Rhode Islanders. Their site discusses a couple of ways that you can encourage the reforms that they are pushing. Call or email your Representative and tell them to support House Rules Reforms; email the group of Representatives already committed to reforms, and thank them; and tweet/Facebook post about it so all of your friends can do the same.

By helping with this effort, we can all help to foster systemic change. By doing so, we are engaging with our government and community and elected officials. And the result of the change that RIfR is seeking is that the RI State House can better protect our Earth from destruction. I’ve taken all of these actions already, and will continue to help in this effort well into the New Year. I hope you will join me.

My column appears every other Sunday in The Woonsocket Call (also in areas where The Pawtucket Times is available). The above article is the property of The Woonsocket Call and The Pawtucket Times, and is reprinted here with permission from these publications. These are excellent newspapers, covering important local news topics with voices out of our own communities, and skillfully addressing statewide and national news. Click these links to subscribe to The Woonsocket Call or to The Pawtucket Times. To subscribe to the online editions, click here for The Call and here for The Times. They can also be found on Twitter, @WoonsocketCall and @Pawtuckettimes.

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