Seeking a Community for the End of the World

The community I want to be a part of would agree on the following as a starting point:

1. The end of the world as we know it (TEOTWAWKI, i.e., collapse of the global industrial capitalist civilization) will probably happen sooner rather than later. The specifics of when and how, the exact degree of probability, etc., while interesting, don’t really matter and should not get in the way of building communities.

2. None of the standard responses to this predicament will change the outcome: not technology (solar, nuclear, carbon sequestration, etc.), not electoral politics (voting Democrat, Democratic Socialists, etc.) or policy reform (Green New Deal, carbon tax, etc.), not public demonstrations (Extinction Rebellion, Greta Thunberg, etc.) or direct action, not changing our consumption habits (electric cars, veganism, etc.), and not a worker’s revolution. (That’s not to say that efforts to mitigate the harm shouldn’t be engaged in.)

3. What is required is a whole new way of life, and that is unlikely to happen on the necessary scale (global) or timeline (in our lifetimes) to save the world as we know it (even if we wanted to save it).

4. Knowing these things (#1-#3) is not enough. We are not content to sit back and enjoy the company of the “enlightened” (read smug).

5. Fighting to the bitter end, while noble, is not the best use of our energy. We reject the notion of doing something for the sake of doing something.

6. We must find ways to live meaningfully and honorably with this knowledge (#1-#3) and be of service to the other beings (human and other-than) with whom we share the places where we live. This is worth doing. What this looks like will be different for different communities in different places.

7. Virtual (online) “community” is no substitute for in-the-flesh community grounded in a place. (Which means, if you’re reading this, you probably need to look elsewhere for your community.)

Published by John Halstead

John Halstead is the author of *Another End of the World is Possible*, in which he explores what it would really mean for our relationship with the natural world if we were to admit that we are doomed. John is a native of the southern Laurentian bioregion and lives in Northwest Indiana, near Chicago. He is a co-founder of 350 Indiana-Calumet, which worked to organize resistance to the fossil fuel industry in the Region. John was the principal facilitator of “A Pagan Community Statement on the Environment.” He strives to live up to the challenge posed by the Statement through his writing and activism. John has written for numerous online platforms, including Patheos, Huffington Post, PrayWithYourFeet.org, and Gods & Radicals. He is Editor-at-Large of HumanisticPaganism.com. John also facilitates climate grief support groups climate grief support groups affiliated with the Good Grief Network.

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