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Watts Happening?

by Don Pettit
for Peace Energy Renewable Energy Cooperative ph 250-782-3882

The Power of Pessimism

eve all heard of the power
of positive thinking, but we
hear a lot less about the power
of negative thinking. When it comes to
our fate upon this planet, its knee-jerk
pessimism that really worries me.
What is the human race according
to the pessimists? (and the on-line world,
not to mention general conversation, is
filled to overflowing with this) Humanity
is a cancer, a virus, a murderer, a killer
destroying everything in its path. There can
be no bright future as long as were around,
and the world would be better off without
us. End of story.
Sorry, I dont buy it. Its too easy.
Pessimism just gets us off the hook. This
almost gleeful trashing of the human race
seems to make us feel better, as if by hating
ourselves and what we are doing to the
planet we are somehow separate from it,
allowing us to rise above it and wash our
hands of it.
This reflexive negativity is not only
contagious, it is, in my opinion, destructive
and disempowering. NOT what we need
right now. Not what weve ever needed.
Sure, theres a tonne of evidence to
support global pessimism. I have a whole
library of books that explain in great detail
exactly the mess we have gotten ourselves
into on our finite little ball of rock, and most Its easy to be pessimistic about our future on this fragile little
media (both conventional and social) feed planet. But if the human race is a planetary cancer, were a very
new kind of cancer, one thats saying Hey, Im a cancer! I am
on negativity, catastrophe, problems, strife
killing my host! Maybe I should change. And were changing.
and death. Lots of pessimistic evidence
Some pessimism is dutiful alarm-
ringing: shock people into action positive alternatives, and how control the worst of acid rain and
before its too late! I fear (and some of our greatest thinkers ozone depletion. Were waking up
the evidence supports) that (much brighter than me!) were to problems of biodiversity and
instead, these well-meaning folks seeing a way through our troubles climate change and beginning to
are numbing people to sleep. and how we actually COULD take real action on a global scale.
Catastrophe fatigue is real and build a better world. And my favourite we
rampant. From this viewpoint, our know how to make clean energy on
problems are all opportunities. a cost-effective and massive scale
A PERSONAL STORY We actually KNOW WHAT TO by using the renewable powers of
nature, the infinite powers of

For the first twenty years of sun and wind, from the heat
my life as an environmental of the earth and the tidal pull
activist, I was driven by a sense of the moon. Driven by both
of impending doom. Certainly
pessimism can be a motivator theres evil, economics and necessity, our
civilization is in its biggest,

to action: I wrote letters, started fastest and healthiest energy
grassroots environmental groups, transition ever.
organized picket lines and media No, we are not inherently
events. Overall, I believe my
efforts were beneficial, and conspiracy evil. We are not committing
pre-mediated planetary

and hatred in
there continues to be a huge and murder. We are not
essential role for protest and intentionally melting the polar
alarm sounding. ice caps. We have stumbled,
But I slowly but surely
burned out. Too much negativity, the world. half asleep, into a bad situation
that we dont want, that were

So what?
too much sadness, too much not prepared for and poorly
frustration. Bummer. equipped to handle. But we are
So about 20 years ago I beginning to handle it.
flipped 180 degrees. Instead of Sure, theres evil,
putting my energy into tearing corruption, conspiracy and
down what I saw as bad and DO, and we are waking up and hatred in the world. There always
destructive, I would put my energy beginning to do it! Global poverty has been and there always will be.
into building up the world I wanted and hunger are in rapid decline, So what? Were going to build a
to see instead. while levels of global education better world anyway. . . and weve
Rather than piling up are rapidly rising. These combined already begun.
evidence of our imminent doom, will stabilize population over the
I began to collect evidence of next few decades and then cause it
progress, information about to fall.
We have figured out how to