Thursday, December 26, 2013

Annual Report of the Red Mountain Pilgrimage

Well, I’ve survived yet another trip around the sun, and I hope you have, too.  It’s been an interesting year, and a good one.  I’m busy doing the work I was meant to do, and it’s finding an audience that appreciates it, and respects me.  It’s a bit sad that I spent so many years hauling stone blocks up the latest pyramid, but I was always learning, too.  It takes time to make sense of this world.  I never imagined that, at this point in my life, there would still be so many fascinating new things to learn.

I’ve been living in the hermitage for four and a half years now, on a wee budget, exploring the myriad ways of preparing bean soup and oatmeal.  I did suffer a brief relapse of consumer fever, and bought a one-speed bicycle.  My elderly high-tech bike was becoming a persistent headache.  This year, I rode my scooter 1,050 miles (1690 km), which was 50 percent less than the year before.  This burned up 20 gallons (76 l) of gas, the smallest amount since I got my drivers license in 1968.

On a whim, I rented a car to take a much-needed vacation.  I haven’t driven a car since 2009.  The karma of it all immediately gave me a swift boot in the posterior — every campground was jam-packed with people, dogs, skateboards, mountain bikes, and loud music.  Horror! 

On previous trips, I had apparently been lucky to visit during off-peak times.  There had been no crowds, it was easy to find blissful tranquility, and enjoy a quiet campfire with the spirits of the ancestors.  But this time, it was mid-August, the weekend, perfect weather, and everyone had the same idea.  In sadness and amusement, I turned around and took the car back to Hertz, an expensive seven-hour misadventure.  Sigh!

This year, I read and reviewed a number of important books.  I enjoy exploring the work of inspiring minds, and sharing my discoveries with others.  The reviews are posted on my blog, where pilgrims on the path of learning can easily find them via Google searches.  At the beginning of 2013, my blog had 11,000 page views in total.  Today, it’s over 41,000.  This is satisfying.  My devious plan is working!

Social networking has provided a broad gateway into a fascinating realm of stories, opinions, and discussions that the mainstream world never sees, unfortunately.  It pulls back the McNews curtain, revealing many behind the scenes issues.  I now have connections with allies in Belize, Ireland, Scotland, Netherlands, Germany, France, Hungary, Canada, Poland, Australia, Croatia, Sweden, Belgium, Brazil, Indonesia, and America.

The big highlight for the year was that I published my second book, Sustainable or Bust.  It’s a collection of 64 book reviews and 16 rants — a toolbox for seekers who want to learn more about human ecology and genuine sustainability.

After I send this letter, my next project is a months-long marketing process.  Writing is less than half of the job.  The plan is to visit university websites, find their course catalogs, and identify instructors who teach ecology, environmental ethics, or sustainability.  Then, I’ll find their email addresses, and send them a nice note.

I think that a fair number of students would find my work to be interesting, since many of them are starting to grasp the dire state of the ecosystem they’re inheriting, and the perplexing indifference of the elders.  Deep ecology has never been a mainstream subject, and I’m not sure how many professors are interested in it now.  It’s not where the money and prestige are these days.  All I can do is try.  If you have any suggestions for contacts, let me know.

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