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deborahfisher
<b>21st Century Plowshare</b> propagates actions that matter to the environment.
Recent Activity
Hi Cathy, Yes, I am UCSD alum! Thanks for reading, and don't worry. Instead, imagine how bad you would have felt with UCLA/Yale/Columbia debt! ;)
Toggle Commented Sep 18, 2010 on Enough With The Blame at Deborah Fisher
Welcome to Heavy Metal Edibles, a gardening consulting service and online resource for people who want to grow more food in New York City! Growing your own food is a strong, positive declaration that you want your city to be clean enough to put in your mouth. I began Heavy... Continue reading
Posted Jul 10, 2010 at Heavy Metal Edibles
Hi H, I don't have the power to effectively separate my wheat from my chaff. I am not omnipotent enough. I don't have enough resources. Every single great thing that has ever happened to me has fallen into my lap. Every genius moment of my life has been a reaction, not an action. Since that's the case, it makes no sense to organize myself as if I need to act, or go get things. I'm not a pitcher, I'm a catcher. And yet I have been standing on the mound. Thanks for reading, Deborah
Toggle Commented Apr 14, 2010 on Perfect Conditions at Deborah Fisher
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Mar 15, 2010
Wow, Flora, don't apologize! I have a lot to say back, to everyone, but for now, my kneejerk reaction is that it's about inspiring participants, not so much spectators. Thanks for that distinction, I am glad you wrote.
Toggle Commented Sep 10, 2009 on I Want To Change The World at Deborah Fisher
Xiiqxaa, I don't understand your comment. You are saying that you (we) were responsible for weeds when the article Karley mentions says that existing weed seed can and often does overpower the wildflower seeds. The weeds would have grown no matter what. If you're disappointed, go do the work of really gardening something. Take responsibility for one tree pit, and really do the sustained work of actually tending the land instead of just throwing seeds. Use this as a launching pad.
Toggle Commented Jun 7, 2009 on Bed Stuy Meadow at 21st Century Plowshare
Civil disobedience is really useful for lots of kinds of problems--it's just not useful for climate change. Civil disobedience is a show of force, so it generates a reaction. This strategy works really well when it's about the rights of individuals. Provoking the British empire to violence was a brilliant rhetorical stroke on Ghandi's part. It made his people look righteous and the British look mean. It was okay in that scenario that there were winners (Indians) and losers (British). The British had somewhere to go--they went home. But climate change is not about the rights of individuals, and reactive energy doesn't seem to provide any leverage. It's not about prying power away from one group and giving it to another--we have the power to demand action from our government already. It's about using the power we already have to create policy and personal choices that make more sense. I hate to poop in the soup, but I do believe that an action like this will do more harm, rhetorically, than good. Action to prevent climate change is imperative, and will have to be inclusive, and will have to not generate reactivity in order to work, because the goal is to change people's behavior. Telling people that they are wrong is the easiest way to act. But it's a really bad way to get people to change their behavior.
Toggle Commented Feb 28, 2009 on Getting arrested in DC--or not at No Impact Man
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"I believe living a life that involves meditation, reflection, and/or prayer is the single greatest factor in moving to more balanced sustainable lifestyles. I think quiet retreat from the dominant culture is vital. I also think that individuals are incapable of staying the course alone, so I think supportive communities and groups are vital." I think that Betsy Taylor has presented a fundamental ecological paradox in a delightfully succinct way. On one hand, she's presenting the problem: the sense of individuality that hampers our ability to think about ourselves as a species and commit to truly global action. "Quiet retreat from the dominant culture?" What good does that do? It's not like creating a No Smoking section in a restaurant--either humans as a species are emitting carbon or not, and there is very little any individual (even No Impact Man) can do about that. Because the problem is global, the way we conceive of ourselves as individuals limits our ability to see solutions clearly. This blog's project is an excellent example: No Net Impact for a year is a great experiment--a smart way to start looking at climate change in this radically individualistic society. But it also turns one person into a martyr, and that martyrdom limits the larger cultural buy in. The Environment remains a lifestyle issue, a matter of personal virtue. On the other hand, religious practice and meditation are really interesting cultural solutions for overcoming that limiting illusion of individuality. While I see that organized religion has certainly harmed plenty of people, it's also true that people who go to church give more money and time to charity than people who don't. While Rick Warren holds certain views that are totally intolerant, it would be equally blind of me not to admit that he is doing the kind of self-transforming work that the environmental movement needs. He's teaching millions and millions of people to harness their very sense of self to something big, like poverty, and not worry so much about themselves. That's big. Meditation and religion can change self-definition, make individuality more fluid and less of a burden. This makes changing the dominant culture instead of quietly retreating possible. I don't think that meditation and religion are the only ways to change our sense of self--all interesting cultural production pushes at existential questions. But I do think that cultural producers who care about climate change should be looking closely at religion, yoga, meditation, martial arts, ant colonies and even military life, and cobbling together iteration after iteration of life beyond the Individual.
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