The Unnecessary Future Project

Hi guys,

In a theoretical scenario, that I sometimes play out in my head, I have this really cool conversation with future young people. I will be an old lady by then and I am staying around to answer their seriously awesome questions that I’m sure they will have for me. The questions are actually for all of us that lived during the big shift in the world that was the era of transformation for the climate.

“Lady, what did YOU do, to make a change while it was still possible, and so very obvious what was about to happen to the planet?” , they will probably ask of me. For your knowledge, the conversation with the kids is happening AFTER the big collapse, in post apocalyptic times if you will, caused by the global climate weirding and followed by the great wars about what should be shared resources, like clean water. There will have been movements of entire populations of countries…

And this is the answer I am preparing for them. I truly hope it is an unnecessary project. I just keep making these short films from my life during the transition to a more sustainable future, in the hopes that more of us will join in a simpler lifestyle that eventually might render this whole theoretical conversation in my mind completely obsolete:

I PICKED my bilberries instead of working to BUY them

 

I slowed my life right down as an act of rebellion

 

I went looking for wildlife in the mountains, making sure it hadn’t gone extinct yet

 

We didn’t spend our ONLY lifetime on a day job, but in a cottage, making cheap breakfast for hours by the fire

 

We decided to go enjoy life and breath ocean air while it’s still unpolluted

 

We took time to hang out in the (still thriving, but biodiversily struggeling) forests

 

“I wanted to film and capture my everyday life the way I conciusly chose to live it in 2016-2018, while the world and civilisation carried on with its destructive habits. This was my contibution to the lifestyle changes necessary to slow down our consumption and exhaustion of global resources in the early 2010s.”

 

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A letter to Earth

Dear Earth,

I know I have been a bit of a slow starter when it comes to understanding these things. It took me just about thirty years to grasp fully how truly magical the notion of life is, and how marvelous it is that it works in my favor almost every day.

So I want to thank you, Earth, for providing me with all of the ecosystems a human could possibly ever need to be able to thrive and live in abundance on this forest garden planet. It is truly an honor that I get to take part in this particular journey every day for my whole life.

Now that I do get it, I feel so very ready to honor it by living life to its fullest. To appreciate my body and practice self love, maybe to help others appreciate their experiences on Earth, and maybe to help explain in all ways that I can why this insight is so important, and why it is so important for all of us to honor life itself more.

We have gone a bit too far in our way of overusing natural resources. And we have done so to such extent that we don’t even seem to care what is left behind anymore. It is so sad to see that what we lose isn’t only biodiversity, good air quality, healthy food, chances for finding new medications and resilient global water systems. It seems we are leaving our own humanity behind, and with it our grasp of that what is unique is also what is important. We are losing our self respect, self love and love for our own mother. We ARE Earth, goddamnit..

So, I hereby declare to live life fully and to practice being my own unique self every day. To really honor the fact that I exist here on Earth in this lifetime out of all lifetimes in all of eternity. I am so very ready to appreciate that I live in abundance and to share the abundance. There is enough for everybody, without over usage of anything.

Thank you, Earth, for still providing me with fresh breathable air. For breathing is what’s moving us forward and what’s keeping us alive. Just imagine what would happen if we couldn’t breath anymore. That might be where we are going if we don’t change things from here.

This feeling of breathing through life inspires me to think: how can I use the knowing that breath moves us forward? Maybe I can take the fact into my life as a principle for living and a reminder to live fully. Where do I need to go next to take another revitalizing breath in life?

And where do we as a civilization need to go to take OUR next revitalizing breath, as a way for us to find ways to feel alive, without doing any harm?

Always a part of you,

Sincerely
Tove

 

Inner peace for a sustainable life

At the end of a yearlong sabbatical with my boyfriend, about year ago or so, I was completely certain that my health was in good condition, stress levels at an all time low and that my reading list was shorter than ever after a whole year of soul searching and climate studies. As it turned out there would still be much for me to learn about sustainability and health in the year to come…

Lake Dellen in Sweden

We traveled through Sweden to find sustainable alternatives to our hectic modern lifestyle.

Pecha kucha in Sundsvall

Lecturing about our sabbatical and how we made the necessary lifestyle changes for the planet. Photo: Henrik Muskos

After all of our massive research about alternative lifestyles, greener living, future of housing and sustainable food systems there was something left to ponder that I had completely missed out on during planning. The fact that all of those categories mentioned were external factors. It didn’t matter what green technology I used or however sustainable the material with which I was building our house was if I myself continued to be the same effective, productive, manager type person on the inside!

Winter in Medstugan

We spent the winter in the Swedish mountains to reflect on the learnings from the sabbatical. That was when my body decided I had been productive enough for a few years and sent me into a physical and psychological meltdown.

So, what happened was that after the sabbatical year my body and mind crashed as I had triggered an autoimmune decease due to my in fact quite unsustainable lifestyle. The physical reaction came as a respons to the big project our sabbatical had turned into, with a good amount of media exposure and people coming to ask our advice, adding to the previous years of intense work in projects – ironically, all of them concerning sustainable development.

The way that we put pressure on each other and our selves in modern western society is a mirroring of what we are doing with the planet. We expect production to increase every year and that our resources are ever growing. As I discovered that is not true. Not for the planet and not for ourselves…

It really doesn’t matter how conscious you are about the state of the world, what foods to avoid and that plastic is bad if you don’t consider what you are putting your body and mind through in the process. EVERYTHING has to be sustainable, including the way you treat yourself in the process of transitioning into a more sustainable external lifestyle.

Watching the sunset in Juniskär

Taking care of myself is equally important to taking care of the world!

Now another year has passed since the sabbatical and my health has slowly started to improve. My body seems to have taken matter into its own hands and shut down some critical functions in order for me to understand the importance of keeping my own internal ecosystems in good health. By the end of it all, this has been my realization:

“Being a good protector of this precious planet of ours really starts with taking good care of our selves, our bodies, our inner ecosystems, and truly respecting our own boundaries. Just like we need to respect the boundaries of the planet as a whole.”

Our thoughts go out to you

Our hearts are bleeding for our fellow travelers that are fleeing through Europe. It could have been you or me. It is hard to grasp the kind of reality out there, it is such a different journey. We are all just trying to find a safe enough place to live. I try to imagen that this is happening to me. And in the bigger sense – it is! We’re all part of this world.

Right now I am thinking of how I can prepare for a more long term solution in helping and making a better place for all of us. These thoughts are of course to be continued …

… A way of learning more about the situation and to maybe help in a small way is to read more at the websites of UNICEF, Doctors Without Borders, the Red Cross or any other big aid organization. Let’s try to make this world a place where everyone is welcome.

 

How traveling changes your understanding of the world

The people writing this blog all love to travel. We travel whenever we can and in all ways possible. Sometimes it means physically moving from a place to another, but it can also mean something as simple as listening to another persons story. To me traveling has the same meaning as learning and understanding the world and the people in it. By being brave enough to open new doors and stepping into other peoples lives as a humble visitor we can all discover the workings of the world right where we are.

Being a visitor at the Pantheon in Rome was a very humbling experience. Thinking of all the people that have been there through thousands of years.

This is me being a visitor at the Pantheon in Rome. Thinking of all the people that have been there through thousands of years.

This is why I think traveling in all its ways is so important for us to understand the world and the people in it:

  1. It opens your eyes to what’s different. It puts you in a natural state of curiosity instead of fear for the unknown.
  2. Makes you listen to the stories of others. This is of course crucial for understanding any other person than ourself. Somehow traveling makes it easier to listen.
  3. Puts you in the way of culture clashes. We even expect them to happen while traveling. Culture clashes can also be constructed at home. Once you realized the beauty of clashing for new ideas you will be looking for opportunities to clash with any interesting people you see. It could be your neighbor, a relative, someone from work or just going to an art gallery.
  4. To be the visitor is humbling. This is good for any learning situation. You will never be truly welcomed into a new culture if you come stomping in.
  5. You always learn something new. Even if it’s a short journey to the supermarket there is always something new to learn. Keep an open mind always.