An Excerpt from Jim Conrad's
NATURALIST NEWSLETTER
of January 14, 2018
Issued from Rancho Regenesis near Ek Balam ruins 20kms north of Valladolid, Yucat√°n, Mexico

LUCY'S REVOLUTION

I was showing Lucy and her partner around the garden. When asked what she did back home in southwestern England, she said, "I go from place to place teaching permaculture, making rich soil and helping gardeners get good harvests." She tends people's gardens for them and rehabilitates damaged soils; later I found that also, if she's asked, she'll also talk about the whys and hows of her veganism.

Lucy doesn't say much about her feelings for the land, plants and animals in her life unless it comes up naturally in conversation. In college she felt like her classes were largely irrelevant to the big problems she saw around her. She quit school, learned how to make gardens and live in a way she believed in.

Lucy's low-key manner isn't what you'd expect of a genuine revolutionary, but the sustainable-Earth option she's offering in my opinion is revolutionary. Revolutions cause big currents of historical events to quickly change course. If enough people took Lucy's advice, there'd be a tremendous revolution.

Since Life on Earth depends on such a revolution in human thought and behavior coming about soon, it's worth thinking about what historically successful revolutions were like.

One feature in common of all successful revolutions I can think of is that they've all had a theme that normally was expressed in a short but stirring slogan, such as "liberty, equality and fraternity," or merely "Throw the bums out!" And the most successful slogans are those supported by a simple, easily recognizable symbol, such as the swastika, the Cross, and the hammer and sickle. Why are slogans and symbols so necessary?

It's because they efficiently and effectively encourage people to work together on shared goals. If you try to convince masses of people to revolt, by talking sensibly to them, they start disagreeing on terms, concepts and procedures, and fall to arguing with one another. But, the human mind is configured so that if a pithy slogan -- even if the exact meaning of what the words mean is ambiguous -- is shouted often enough, with enough enthusiasm, verve and panache, and somehow associated on the subliminal level with time-tested feel-good causes such as loving the motherland, feeling brotherly to those sharing your racial and ethnic identities, and sharing your mythologies, most people tend to fall in line, no deep thinking needed.

But, in Lucy's revolution, what kind of slogan or symbol could possibly be successful? Something like "Up with permaculture and sustainability!" is too corny for anyone, but that's exactly what needs to be said. And what kind of symbol could ever grace Lucy's banner? A germinating bean, a singing bird, a bowl of granola topped with yogurt and strawberry slices? Imagine what Trump would say about such a banner, and how the voting millions would snicker.

So, Lucy's revolution probably won't get off the ground until a truly catastrophic environmental disaster comes along, something so obviously caused by inappropriate human thinking and behavior that anyone can see that a revolution is needed.

Still, I like to think of myself as being one of Lucy's co-revolutionaries, whatever slogan and symbol the movement eventually comes up with.