Doomsday preppers. Cybersecurity. “Keeping America safe”. What does it all mean? As herbalists and holistic health practitioners, or those who care about community health and holistic health, we need to REdefine what homeland security means to US. The idea that there is currently one idea throughout the entire country of what security looks like is an absurdity. We have seen that many don’t really know what security means to them. The recent increase in destructive storms is an excellent catalyst for this discussion.
Because it is not unreasonable to ask–
“What is yor plan?”
” What will you do when your lights go out?”
I have previously discussed the false binary between herbalists and survivalists and suggested that there is a wide spectrum of people out there combining weaponry, Berberine and mad skillz into a force to be reckoned with. And now we need to move ahead on that concept–in what tangible do-able ways can we form alliances in our communities? How do we plan to work together in disaster situations to provide for our basic needs? Can we look past political party affiliations, religion,race, gender, class to give mutual aid, to distribute care, knowledge and supplies as needed?
For example, currently many people fear wild water. Though we have no idea where bottles of water come from we seem to trust them implicitly. We often fear fire and prefer to heat our homes with oil products from a bajillion miles away. Though we have seen over and over recalls of industrial food products we often trust them more than a plant with dirt on it. Though significantly more people die from pharmaceuticals than herbs (yes, I know this is a skewed statistic due to usage) we trust them more than our own handmade medicines. Cause, ya know, some government inspector stamped it. We spend a lot of money protecting our food supply from “terorists” while poisoning it ourselves. We guard our water supply from terrorists then dump pharmaceuticals, oil, poisonous roundup runoff and hogshit into it.
Up until recent history most people felt that they had a role to play in their family, in their community, in their country. Land to love and protect. Service to a higher good. Now our “role to play” is in Farmville. In service to what? I believe that we should re-embrace the acknowledgement of positive roles in our culture. We can see this concept at work in first-responders, firefighters, medics, some teachers, leaders, knife sharpeners and of course herbalists. Who are the real rockstars in our culture? Where are our priorities?
When the storm came I had my herbal first aid bag ready to go by the door, with flashlights, extra batteries, natural and not-so-natural first aid supplies, water purification supplies, sturdy shoes and a chainsaw. Visualize a world in which all who are able have provided for their own basic needs and are then able to go out and help those in need. A world of service, preparedness and basic knowledge about safety and health. Imagine how we would be happy if the National Guard came by to help us dig out, but would be OK for a bit if they are otherwise occupied. How a power outage doesn’t make us scramble for a generator to run our TV but gives us the opportunity to TALK, to dance, to build a fire, to reconnect.
Achieving this world would require forethought, talking to others, building skills, valuing humans and the earth and a can-do attitude–all of which happen to make great herbalists and first responders anyway! What if, instead of teaching our kids how to download apps, we taught them how to build a fire? What if, instead of teaching our kids how to microwave macaroni and cheese we showed them how to ID plants? What if instead of strong thumbs we had strong bodies and sound minds, connected hearts and a willingness to help others…..and a shovel. Cause we are going to need one to dig ourselves out of this hole.