April 30, 2014

Meaningful Change Through Permaculture Design




"Vision is not seeing things as they are but as they will be." 


Looking to make meaningful changes toward a more sustainable lifestyle? Do you desire to do less harm through using less energy and resources? The principles of permaculture provide an excellent framework for making such changes happen.

This framework is not one-size-fits-all because different locations may require different solutions.

In The Essence of Permaculture summary (available here), David Holmegren says, "Despite the inevitably unique nature of future realities,the depletion of fossil fuels within a few generations will see a gradual return of system design principles observable in nature and pre-industrial societies, and which are dependent on renewable energy and resources (even if the specific forms of those systems will reflect unique and local circumstances)."


12 Principles of Permaculture Design


Observe and Interact 

- Pay attention.

Catch and Store Energy 

- Harvest energy while it is abundant.

Obtain a Yield 

- Make sure you're getting valuable results.

Self-Regulate: Accept Feedback 

- In a sense, our whole society is like a teenager who wants to have it all, have it now, without consequences. We have to be open to modify dysfunctional behaviours.

Use and Value Renewables 

- Reduce dependency on scarce resources like fossil fuels.

Produce No Waste 

- Waste not, want not. In nature there is no waste, only resources.

Design from Pattern to Detail 

- Observe natural/social patterns and apply them to design of systems.

Integrate 

- Capitalize on how things work together: land, plants, animals and people. Co-operative and symbiotic relationships will be more adaptive in a future of declining energy.

Use Small, Slow Solutions 

- Local resources and responses, manageable scale.

Use and Value Diversity 

- Diversity leads to greater resilience.

Use Edges: Value the Marginal 

- Important things happen at the intersections.

Creatively Use and Respond to Change 

- We can have a positive impact by carefully observing, and then intervening at the right time.


A one acre self-sufficient homestead.

"The idea behind permaculture principles is that generalised principles can be derived from the study of both the natural world and pre-industrial sustainable societies, and that these will be universally applicable to fast-track the development of sustainable use of land and resources, whether that be in a context of ecological and material abundance or one of deprivation." - The Essence of Permaculture

April 28, 2014

More Mini Container Homes Monday

This is a container home that doesn't look like it just came off the ship.

Almost 1 billion people around the world live in slums. Most everyone else complains about them.

Most complaints are not about the lack of sanitation, clean water, or reliable power. They aren't about the integrity of the structures, nor the disease that dwells there.

Most non-slum dwellers complain about slums saying that such neighbourhoods are "unsightly".

I have seen the same complaint levelled at container homes - in their raw form they are kind of slum-like since they are built from the same mountainous waste pile of industrial civilization's throw-offs.

Let's face it - no one wants a potential piece of the slum moving in next door.

Perhaps the people next door are simply trying to survive and can't afford to care much about the aesthetic sensibilities of their more fortunate and beautifully-housed neighbours.

However, I admit that the attractiveness of container homes can vary.


Funky cottage style. I could live on this deck.



A more industrial style still works for me, but would it work for neighbours, too?



Lots of windows and deck space improve the appeal of a container home.



This is a standard, clean unit that some may equate with the non-high income. It is "too small".
But I would ask, "Too small for what?"



This is where the living happens.

I am not into glorifying the cup. I want to know about the space inside, and with what it is filled. The inside of a home is the part I wish to enjoy.

That is, after all, where you do most of your living whether you are in a mansion or a slum shack.

Seven Generations of Sorry

"Huge stone monsters will tear open the face of the earth."

"The prophecy of the Seventh Generation is common to many American Indian nations. Young native people, especially young Mohawk people, should pay attention to and consider.  
According to the prophecy, after seven generations of living in close contact with the Europeans, the Onkwehonwe would see the day when the elm trees would die. The prophecy said that animals would be born strange and deformed, their limbs twisted out of shape. 
Huge stone monsters would tear open the face of the earth. The rivers would burn aflame. The air would burn the eyes of man. 
According to the prophecy of the Seventh Generation the Onkwehonwe would see the day when birds would fall from the sky, the fish would die in the water, and man would grow ashamed of the way that he had treated his mother and provider, the Earth.  
Finally, according to this prophecy, after seven generations of living in close contact with the Europeans, the Onkwehonwe would rise up and demand that their rights and stewardship over the Earth be respected and restored. 
The children of the Kanien'kehake are the seventh generation." - From: IndianLegend.com

April 25, 2014

Saying Goodbye to Friends

This cedar is on one of my favourite bike rides. This elder could be up
to a thousand years old, with a life span of up to 2 or 3 thousand.

After almost a decade in this location we are in the process of saying goodbye to friends.

One reason we moved here from the city was to be surrounded by wilderness, to experience a landscape and everything living in it more than we ever had before. We had the time to explore and followed every little whim.

Because of this mandate we made friends with a lot of trees.

Here are a few of the gentle giants that we had the privilege and pleasure of meeting.


This big douglas fir had a large banana slug sleeping in its deeply furrowed bark.



This massive cedar is one of very few surviving members of the primordial
 forest that once blanketed this land. It is humbling to stand next to it.



This old growth sitka spruce is several hundred years old. It lives
close enough to the crashing surf and salt spray of the Pacific ocean
 that it can be heard and felt from this location.



We will miss our forest friends, but look forward to making new ones
in the Acadian Forest.

April 23, 2014

Travelin' Light

Travelling light is the only way to go.


As Linda and I continue to downsize from a small apartment to a small truck, we like to listen to motivational music to help carry us through this transition.

So as we go about our business of unburdening ourselves in preparation for travelling light, we like to enjoy a tune by one of our favourite artists, J. J. Cale.

Travelin' Light by J. J. Cale

Travelin' light, is the only way to fly
Travelin' light, just you and I
One-way ticket to ecstasy
Way on down, follow me
Travelin' light, is the only way to fly


Travelin' light, we can go beyond
Travelin' light, we can catch the wind
Travelin' light, let your mind pretend
We can go to paradise
Maybe once, maybe twice
Travelin' light, is the only way to fly


Ah, yes. De-cluttering, dancing, and looking forward to a bit of traveling light ecstasy.

You can enjoy this load-lightening tune here

Earth Day Action




If you are celebrating Earth Day, and looking for doable changes you can adopt to make a difference, this list is for you. It comes from the Attainable Sustainable website, and has a pledge for action for everyone.


Kitchen:


  • Stop buying fruits and vegetables that have been imported from another country, for so many reasons.
  • Buy real food. If you can’t trace its origin, it shouldn’t go into your body (ahem, IMHO) and it’s surely not doing our environment any good.
  • Quit relying on takeout food. If you succumb, find a restaurant that uses compostable packaging and say no to plastic straws.
  • Learn to cook some really simple, really fast meals so you won’t be tempted by fast food.
  • Find a local butcher that uses butcher paper instead of buying your meat cuts on Styrofoam.
  • Find a source for local meat and eggs.
  • Turn up the temperature on your refrigerator, just a touch.
  • In the wintertime, put fire bricks in the oven to hold heat and keep the room warm.
  • Switch to glass storage containers instead of plastic.
  • Get rid of your Teflon coated pots and pans.
  • Use a dish cloth instead of a sponge.
  • Bring fewer containers into your home. Be sure to recycle those that you can’t reuse.
  • Compost your food waste.
  • Make your own salad dressing, mustard, mayonnaise, and other condiments. It’s not that hard. 
  • Cook double batches. Eat one lasagna tonight, freeze one for the crazy busy day that’s tempting you to turn to fast food.
  • Switch to bulk teas that can be made with a tea strainer. No bags, no packaging, and no risk of ingesting plastic.



Bathroom:


  • Nix the chemical cleaners.
  • Take shorter showers. Less hot water used, less energy used.
  • Switch to less chemically laden soaps and shampoos, or try your hand at making your own.
  • Still using disposable razors? (Stores are still stocking them; somebody must be using them!) Switch to one with a replaceable blade.
  • Use your bath towel more than once.
  • Try a fabric shower curtain instead of a plastic one.



Home office or at the office:


  • Switch to padded envelopes that don’t have a plastic bubble liner.
  • Stop junk mail before it gets to your house.
  • Consider online banking. You’ll eliminate the envelope as well as the use of much fuel to get your payment where it needs to go.
  • Opt to receive your monthly statements via email. Again, you’ll eliminate paper waste as well as fuel usage.
  • Use public transportation. Not an option? Find someone to carpool with.
  • Transform the water cooler at work: request paper rather than plastic cups. Better yet, encourage fellow employees to bring a cup from home.
  • Refill your ink cartridges instead of buying a new one when you’re out.
  • Not using your computer? Turn it off or put it to sleep.



Laundry room:


  • Wash only full loads of clothes.
  • Switch to a more eco-friendly laundry detergent. Or make your own.
  • Get clothes out of the dryer as soon as they’re dry, so you’re not tempted to “give them a little fluff.”
  • Better yet, set up a clothesline and hang your clothes to dry some of the time.
  • Install a timer on your hot water heater.



The rest of the house:


  • Find out where your power comes from. Is it generated by diesel? Coal? Wind? Knowing that your energy usage is tied directly to environmentally unfriendly sources might make it easier to cut your energy use (good for the planet and your bank account).
  • Say no to products that come in plastic clamshells.
  • Keep a blanket on the sofa.
  • Turn down the thermostat on your heater, just a touch (with that blanket, you won’t notice).
  • Next time you need to buy linens and blankets, skip the man-made materials.
  • Turn off the TV if you’re not watching it.
  • Install window blinds to help keep the house cool in the summertime and warm in winter.
  • Shop second hand.
  • Wash your windows with newspaper instead of paper towels.



Outside:


  • If you have an arbor, plant a deciduous vine that will shade you in the summertime and allow sunlight and warmth in during the cold winter.
  • Grow your own food. If you’ve never done so, start small. Plant radishes. Or lettuce.
  • If you’re a gardening veteran, consider sharing your knowledge with amateurs.
  • Plant an extra row for the food bank.
  • Collect some of your rainwater and use it to water the garden during dry spells.
  • Stop using chemicals on your lawn.
  • If you regularly forget to turn off your porch or garage light, set it up on a timer.
  • Deal with pests and weeds without chemicals.
  • Mulch. It will help hold moisture in, and mean less water used. It will also help keep the weeds in check.
  • Compost your kitchen waste. No space? Get worms to do the dirty work with a worm composter. (You can make your own for less than $5.)



Around town:


  • Stop accepting the bags that stores offer (plastic OR paper) and bring your own.
  • Switch from plastic to glass bottles when buying goods at the grocery store. If it’s only available in plastic, skip it (bonus points for writing to the manufacturer to complain).
  • Choose fruits and vegetables that are sold loose. There’s absolutely no reason for peas, peppers, or tomatoes to be wrapped in plastic or strapped to Styrofoam.
  • Seek out local produce at the supermarket or (better yet) farmers market.
  • Eliminate excess baggage in your car. If you don’t need to carry it around, don’t. You’ll use less gas.
  • Take your own insulated mug for your coffee stops.
  • Combine errands so that you use less fuel.
  • Live near town? Walk, sometimes!
  • Seek out one wild food source in your area. Maybe it’s dandelion greens. Or maybe you’ve got a source for wild asparagus or blackberries.
  • Go meet your neighbors. Having a friendly community means a chance to share equipment rather than everyone owning the same snow blower or tractor.
  • Those same neighbors? May share their garden surplus or help you tackle all of those excess zucchini.
  • Think about needs versus wants. We’ve become a society of shoppers. Do you really need that new pair of shoes?
  • Choose to live with less stuff.

April 21, 2014

Ignorance Is Not An Excuse Monday



As a teacher I believe that the answer to our most pressing problems can be found through education and learning. I also believe that each of us is ultimately responsible for our own education, because it is impossible to force someone to learn something.

We must choose to drink from the waters of knowledge ourselves. Unfortunately, many are choosing not to satiate their thirst.

Many people maintain a willful ignorance of ecological realities in order to continue high-consumption lifestyles. If knowing means change, they would rather not know.

But "I didn't know" has never been a valid excuse for anything.

It is our responsibility as citizens of this planet to banish our ignorance by:

  1. Observing
  2. Thinking
  3. Studying
  4. Applying

Doing the hard work of education and learning will provide us with all the answers to our seemingly intractable problems.

But we must first choose to go there ourselves.

April 20, 2014

Small Changes Can Change Everything

One small drop can change an entire lake.
If a person ate just 200 calories less per day, or burned 200 calories extra per day, in one year they would lose 20 lbs. This is only one example in an infinite variety of such opportunities to prove that small changes can and do yield big results.

I have never understood people who say that there are no changes a person can make in their own life to make any difference in the state of the world. They are either extremely deluded pessimists, or they have a vested interest in spreading this lie in order to protect their investments in the status quo.

I like Jane Goodall's take on the way things are, and how we might change them. She gets it. She knows the power each of us has to make big changes through tiny, daily individual acts.

“If all of us would go through our lives thinking about the little choices we make each day as to what we buy, what we eat, what we wear – and how those choices might impact the environment, might impact child slave labor in other countries, might impact cruelty towards animals, we start making small changes. 
Billions of small changes around the world can lead to the kind of change we need if we care about future generations.” 

People who lie to us, and tell us that nothing we do in our own lives can make a difference, want to rob us of our power to change the world. They do not want us to know that if we make small changes individually, that are magnified when taken up collectively, we will see things change rapidly.

I wonder if we care enough about future generations to put our individual decision-making power into full effect. 

April 18, 2014

More Time vs. More Money

There is no time like the present - enjoy it by choosing
 more time over more money.

"Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you." 
- Carl Sandburg


Once a person's basic material needs are satisfied, additional income makes little to no difference in their level of happiness.

Considering this, about 12 years ago Linda and I sat down to figure out how much money we needed to meet our basic monthly material needs. At the time, I calculated that I needed to work one week a month to pay my share of the expenses. Linda earned less, but her share could still be gained in about 2 weeks of work.

Since that time we have worked to live rather than lived to work.

While we were engaged in paid work we would toil the required amount, then take the rest of the month off. If we wanted more money for something we would work more, but usually we chose more time over more money.

And as sure as the big hand follows the little one, once we changed our priorities, pleasant changes in our lives followed.

We are determining how to spend time, the coin of our lives, ourselves. With that coin we are buying a better, more satisfying and more independent life.

April 16, 2014

Advertising Avoidance

Advertising programs us to buy, buy, buy, whether we notice or not.

Many people report feeling that advertising doesn't work on them. That is understandable. No one wants to be led around, especially toward buying things they know they don't need.

But advertising is more insidious than many realize, and may be more effective than we want to believe.

Researcher Laurie Manwell outlines the mechanics involved in glancing at an advertisement:


“In fact, visual stimuli, transduced by the rods and cones in the eyes, and sent by electro-chemical signals to the central nervous system via the optic nerves does not go directly to the occipetal cortex which is the primary region responsible for processing information. 

Instead, it first goes to the lateral geniculate nucleus of the Thalamus, another region of the brain that is a part of the lymbic system and important to emotional arousal.

"To put this in simpler terms", she says, "this means that you can experience an emotional reaction to something before you are consciously aware that you have even seen it."


Knowing how your brain works can help guard against the mind parasites that advertising plants, often without you even being conscious of their burrowing. It is important to understand that we can react to something before we even are aware of it.

Armed with this knowledge, we can identify the initial emotional rush, then wait for the higher order thinking that will eventually come. It of course, will tell you not to buy anything you don't really want or need.

Those sneaky ads don't even have to worm into your consciousness in order to have an effect. Considering this, the frequency of advertising may have more of an effect than we know, whether we are paying attention to the ads or not.

If ad frequency is the problem, ad avoidance is the answer. The Centre for a new American Dream also proposes that we take a look at reforming advertising rules.

They say on their site:

"Advertising pervades every aspect of our lives and stimulates demand for junk we don’t need. We need to reform laws on advertising to better constrain it, to limit children’s exposure to it, and to stop mental pollution. 

The good news is there are ways we can do this, and some bold political leaders are working to do this."

You can read more on their website about places like Sao Paulo, Brazil where officials declared victory in their battle with billboards, effectively banning them from the barrio. It looks like freedom to me.

When the globe goes ad-free and ends the hyper-commercialization of everything, we will find out what we really want, and what we really need, not to mention what we can really afford.

In the meantime, avoid advertising at all costs.

April 14, 2014

Mental Madness Monday



Anyone who would claim rampant consumerism is good for the environment has a serious struggle with reality. Whether we want to admit it or not, we are committing ecocide, a tragically stupid thing to do that borders on mass mental illness.

Ecocide is the extensive damage to, destruction of or loss of ecosystems of a given territory, whether by human agency or by other causes, to such an extent that peaceful enjoyment by the inhabitants of that territory has been or will be severely diminished.

Since we are dependent on healthy and functioning ecosystems, committing ecocide is one step removed from committing suicide.

We are choosing self-harm, which indicates this madness runs rampant.

Many that are leading the destruction, not only suffer from delusions of grandeur, but also suicidal tendencies. They should be identified and be involuntarily committed, long term, until they can demonstrate they no longer desire to destroy themselves and everyone and everything around them.

April 11, 2014

Mini-size My Home

An adorable and affordable 400 sq. ft. home in Nova Scotia, Canada.

There are not many small houses where I live on the west coast of Canada. Houses here, based on a rough estimate, range from 1,500 to 3,500 sq. ft with the average being around 2,400.

In the upper range are homes of 5,000 to 9,000 square feet.

Prices range from about $350,000 up to several million, with the average house price in my immediate area being a resoundingly unaffordable $490,000.

The east coast of Canada is a different story.

Nova Scotia has a vast inventory of small houses at the bottom end of the size range, with many houses in the range of 300 to 1000 square feet. Prices range from $20,000 to $50,000, which often includes several acres of land.


The inside of the mini-sized home is very practical and functional.
I like the efficiency of living in small spaces. It must be attractive to others too - just look at the words realtors use to describe houses in the bottom end of the size range. I have seen small homes described as "cozy", or "quaint",  or "adorable".

Even better is "easy to heat".

But my favourite realtor adjective used to describe smaller homes is "affordable".

Smaller homes put the concept of enough into practice.

As has been pointed out in our "house size forum", a well-built large home may use less resources to run than its small, poorly built counterpart.

But by that same logic, it is also true that a small, well-built home would be even better yet.


One of these inside a tiny home and a woodlot out back can go a long way toward being prepared
for inevitable energy shortages and price increases.

I want my shelter to be Mini-sized. Smaller dwellings use less resources to build, heat or cool, and maintain. To me it feels like the nature-endorsed way to go.

Plus they are just so darn cozy.

April 9, 2014

Community Is Destroyed By Luxury

A community is made up of all sorts of people.
While communities exist everywhere in one form or another, it is a general, overall sense of community that is lacking in modern industrialized societies. Consumerism is based on individual need and greed rather than community health, and conspicuous consumption actively destroys community.

Community is defined as a group of people in a location with diverse characteristics who are linked by social ties, share common perspectives, and engage in action together.

The core elements of community, then, are:
  1. A sense of place - a community is something that can be located and described, denoting a sense of place, locale, or boundaries.
  2. Sharing - common interests and perspectives cause members to be "in tune" with each other.
  3. Joint action - is a source of cohesion and identity, and leads to the natural formation of communities with common goals. Trust develops.
  4. Social ties - interpersonal relationships form the foundation of the community.
  5. Diversity - a community reflects differences in interpersonal skills and  interactions among its members.
How important is community?

Arabic scholar Ibn Khaldun regarded "group solidarity" (community) as the primary requisite for civilization. 600 years ago, he was warning that:

"Civilization needs the tribal values to survive, but these very same values are destroyed by civilization. 
Specifically, urban civilization destroys tribal values with the luxuries that weaken kinship and community ties and with the artificial wants for new types of cuisine, new fashions in clothing, larger homes, and other novelties of urban life."

I wonder what Khaldun would think of the state of community life in 2014?

He might like the NBA community. I know I do, and I give thanks every day for the wonderful folks that visit and participate here.

The NBA community gives me a sense of belonging to something larger than myself, as well as providing a good dose of hope that even if civilization doesn't survive, small groups of hardy simple living people will.

April 7, 2014

Living Is My Work Monday

My office - this is where I like to work most.
"Maybe a person's time would be as well spent raising food as raising money to buy food." 
- Frank A. Clark

I have always thought that I would rather work at providing for myself directly rather than work at a "career" making money so I could pay someone else to help provide for my needs.

I'm not that interested in working for money, or in buying things with that money. Some people may interpret that as lazy or unmotivated, but they would be wrong.

Just because I am not motivated by paid work doesn't mean I don't like work. I enjoy expending effort, vigorously at times, but I want to do so while honouring my priorities and meeting my own needs in a more vital, nourishing manner.

I really enjoy hard work while building things, or growing food, or transporting myself around on my bike. Canning food for the winter, baking bread, cleaning my house, or fixing things - these are all work activities that I get excited about.

Living is my work, and I love it.

A day at the office? Not so much.

"Growing your own food is like printing your own money."
 - Ron Finley

April 5, 2014

Finding Freedom

"The man looks, the wolf waits."

Of Harry Haller, the outsider anti-hero in Steppenwolf, a novel by Hermann Hesse (1927):

"There was never a man with a deeper and more passionate craving for independence than he. 

In his youth when he was poor and had difficulty in earning his bread, he preferred to go hungry and in torn clothes rather than endanger his narrow limit of independence. 

He never sold himself for money or an easy life or to women or to those in power; and had thrown away a hundred times what in the world's eyes was his advantage and happiness in order to safeguard his liberty. 

No prospect was more hateful and distasteful to him then that he should have to go to an office and conform to daily and yearly routines and obey others. 

He hated all kinds of offices, governmental or commercial, as he hated death, and his worst nightmare was confinement in barracks. 

He contrived, often at great sacrifice, to avoid all such predicaments. 

It was here that his strength and virtue rested. On this point he could neither be bent nor bribed. Here his character was firm and indeflectable."


April 4, 2014

The Future Of Travel

Creative low-carbon, sustainable travel is the way.

When fossil fuel based recreational travel becomes as rare as smoking in a car full of kids with the windows rolled up, those with the urge to venture far from home will have to come up with sustainable alternatives. Undoubtedly bicycles will be part of the solution.


Another home made bike trailer that looks simple enough to build on a utility trailer.

I can't think of a more efficient and enjoyable mode of longer-distance travel than the bicycle. Once you add a funky trailer you have a method for getting places. A person could use such a set-up to get to a port in order to board a sailboat waiting to carry the traveler abroad, or to a train station to further their journey.


There are also businesses ready to get in on the future of travel.

I see this as both a sustainability and obesity mitigation project. The only losers would be the dinosaur-dependent, fossilized old energy order.


Sleep above, storage below.

Pedal power coupled with the energy of the wind will soon be the way for the conscientious recreational traveler. I can't think of a better or more enjoyable way to go.

April 2, 2014

Who Cares?

Apathy must be routed out wherever it exists. Or not.

A widespread and insidious problem that humanity is currently experiencing is apathy. People throw their hands in the air and ask, "What can I do about it?" Many have fallen even farther to, "whatever" and "who cares?"

Albert Einstein, for one, cared deeply. He thought that it would be the opposite of caring, or apathy, that would eventually be humanities undoing.

"The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything."

Sophie Scholl was a brave, non-violent activist in Munich, Germany at the time of Hitler. After risking her life daily on the streets while handing out anti-Nazi leaflets, she had no problem calling out those who mutely stood by while their world was being destroyed around them.

"The real damage is done by those millions who want to 'survive'. The honest people who just want to be left in peace. Those who don't want their little lives disturbed by anything bigger than themselves. Those with no sides and no causes. Those who don't like to make waves - or enemies."

Again, apathy, or a lack of interest, enthusiasm, or concern, is the problem.

But there is a solution.

According to author Dan Millman, the answer is willpower. Tapping in to our life source and overcoming by sheer will alone.

We are more powerful than we give ourselves credit for, as Millman points out.

"Willpower is the key. Successful people strive no matter what they feel by applying their will to overcome apathy, doubt, or fear."

And after our will has been revived and our apathy diffused by that jolt of life? What when the zest has returned?

Activist Arundhati Roy has some good ideas of how we can direct our will to stop the current round of destruction from continuing.

"The corporate revolution will collapse if we refuse to buy what they are selling - their ideas, their version of history, their wars, their weapons, their notion of inevitability. 

Remember this: We be many and they be few. They need us more than we need them."

We don't have much to lose, unlike Sophie Scholl who was executed for standing up to evil and being unafraid to point it out, scabs and all, to others. At this point we have a lot to gain by refusing to remain on the sidelines as passive, non-participatory blobs.

Our silence and inactivity is being taken for consent.

Do we really agree with the way things are going right now? Do enough of us care to stop the destruction of all that we love and cherish?

Can we rise above the collective apathy and change the world? Or shall we say, save the world?

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