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Driving along Center Street of Anyburb USA, I find it easy to be revolted by our species. The sheer standardization of our corridors--Kentucky Fried, Maaco, Rent-a-Center, Wendy's, Aspen Dental, Burger King, Sunoco, Shop-and-Save, Dollar Store, Thrifty Car Lot, and on and on for dreary, repetitive, mind-numbing mile after mile--drives me to conclude we are living in a recurring nightmare. Knowing this street is repeated a hundred thousand times over across the continent and the globe starves my imagination and isolates my soul. Such is life in a domesticated, standardized culture.
Is The American Dream really a living hell from which we can't awaken? Then let it fall as it has risen, drugged by mindless greed and grinding servitude to impersonal corporate masters.
A monster has regurgitated all across the land. He has rolled up his windows and driven away in a BMW to his mansion with manicured, chemically poisoned lawn, leaving the rest of us to wallow in his filth.
Sitting in this line of traffic in my middle class Subaru, I am nothing but his doll-baby. My vehicle may be labeled an "Outback," but it is nothing but an outhouse full of sh*t. I am spam--Son of Sam. It becomes easy to think I'm the odd man out. If this is civilization, then I am the freak.
Excuse me! Did I just verbally vomit all over you? I am truly sorry. I was simply unable to digest frankenfood. Please, let me clean up my mess. Let me make amends.
Health, not sickness, is life's true Nature--my true nature and yours. I am not alone in my alienation from this manufactured illusion of "progress". Human beings live and breathe and love behind its facade. Others have come out of the imprisoning closet to envision and then realize a more creative, empowering, and connected way of living upon the Earth.
I arrive home to meet Stacey Murphy and Janell Kapoor. The "virtual reality" of our Internet interview rings truer to me than my drive down Center Street in Auburn, Me. They are true champions of diversity and thriving nature. Their sheer enthusiasm, compassion, and commitment to regeneration heal my sickened heart. They bring me the good tidings that I am not a voice crying in the wilderness; I am--they are--the voice of an evolving future.
Their love of our beautiful planet leaps across the distance between their sanctuary in Asheville, North Carolina and the sun porch from which I broadcast in Sabattus, Maine. It refills my heart just as truly as if they had travelled here just to hug me. Through their eyes, I can see the blossoming of spring that hasn't yet emerged here, but will, from beneath the dirty snow still melting away. No, I am not alone; I am not the odd man out.
So who are Stacey Murphy and Janell Kapoor anyway? Like my wife and me, they are facilitators of a united-in-its-diversity visionary voice. I discovered my affinity to them during the month of March, 2014, when they co-hosted the Whole Earth Summit live online. For three days, 42 global luminaries discussed their visions for the future of food, water, community, regenerative design, and social transformation.
Imagine being in the company of activists such as Vandana Shiva, the 13 Indigenous Grandmothers, Bill McKibben, Charles Eisenstein, Vicki Robin, Raj Patel, Joel Salatin, Terry Tempest Williams, Rob Hopkins, and Starhawk. These folks are not just visionaries; they are realizers. They are living out their vision, passion, and mission. And they are just the most visible of millions who, behind the fake façade of Center Street in Anyburb, USA. Janell and Stacey are among the many visionaries that are co-creating a thriving future now. Beauty and health become abundant when we look to a future that is beyond the mask of western "civilization".
The purpose of the Whole Earth Summit was to "Gain valuable insights and inspiration to be more dynamic, community-oriented and effective on the ground, where you are."
Stacey and Janell are passionate about local power. They explore and passionately believe that ""local projects ripple throughout the landscape and shake up the status quo" in the hopes that you will be "awesomely inspired so that you've got to take your next leap".