Say farewell to life as we know it. I mean, let’s face it: The world that our children and grandchildren are fated to inherit is not the world in which we grew up. Whether humans caused it or not, our climate is changing rapidly. And even if we drill, baby, drill for every drop of oil on the planet, petroleum production has probably already passed its peak. Hydrofracking may buy us a few more years of living large, but at what cost? Over the coming decades, we are going to have to get used to making do with less, in terms of using up the Earth’s dwindling resources.
Sound like gloom and doom? Maybe not, if we all go in for a bit of attitude adjustment (and I don’t mean the kind that you can buy by the pint at Happy Hour). Visionary, proactive towns across the state, the nation and the planet are getting on board what’s called the Transition Movement: a purposeful, organized approach toward smoothing the rocky road to more modest consumption. Sustainability, suggest the movement’s theoreticians, does not have to mean misery and deprivation if we get there in a way that is well-planned, working together as communities instead of embracing the every-man-for-himself mindset that is becoming so alarmingly popular in these tough times.
Of the 12 towns in New York State that are already in the process of becoming “Transition Towns,” 11 are in the Hudson Valley: Marbletown, Woodstock, Saugerties, New Paltz, Kingston, Poughkeepsie, Rhinebeck, Bedford, Albany, Troy and Schenectady. Surprised? In the mid-Hudson region we have long seen events being organized on a regular basis that promote basic sustainability tactics like recycling and eating locally grown food.
Such practical tips and tricks are welcome, and helpful up to a point; but perhaps the biggest change needed to face our future is internal – even, to use a loaded term, spiritual. The Karma Triyana Dharmachakra (KTD) Monastery in Woodstock is hosting a full weekend’s worth of what it calls “Environmental Training for Transition” from October 5 through 7, with an eye toward empowering participants to change themselves as well as their behavior as consumers.
The dynamic, interactive training is intended to prepare participants to move their local communities from fossil fuel dependency to resilient sustainability against the backdrop of peak oil and climate change. The evening of Friday, October 5 from 7 to 9 p.m. will feature an interactive “Inner Worlds Transition Workshop” offering the public practical tools for introspection in the context of troubling times. During the two-day “Training for Transition,” which will run from 9 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, October 6 and 7, participants will receive tools for environmental education, community outreach and collaboration, and learn to describe the challenges of our times in ways that bring people together and inspire action.
So if you’re concerned about the scary legacy that we’re leaving to our offspring and want to do your part in shaping it in a positive way, you might want to take advantage of this opportunity to meet neighbors and others in our region who share the same goals of community-building as we safeguard the Earth. Appropriately, considering that the leaders of New York State’s indigenous people traditionally took an action’s impacts on the next seven generations into account before sanctioning it, a First Nations Celebration will be featured during the weekend event.
The “Environmental Training for Transition” weekend is made possible by a collaboration between the Karma Triyana Dharmachakra Green Monastery Sustainable Initiative, and the Sky Lake Shambhala Contemplative Center’s Touching the Earth Initiative. The KTD Monastery is located at 335 Meads Mountain Road in Woodstock. Tuition for the full weekend program costs $144, with an advance deposit of $70 required.
For more information about the event, call (845) 679-5906, extension 1121. To register, visit www.kagyu.org/transition/index.php. To find out more about the Transition Movement, e-mail email@example.com or visit http://transitionus.org.