It seemed like all of the the world is going to end nonesense had cooled, but then, as we get closer to that day of days, the fervor seems to be growing. Deus Ex Machina and I joke about it - in half seriousness. Mostly the conversations go something like, "When the zombies come we can go and live [fill in the blank of the newest place we've decided would be defensible and livable]."
Having these sorts of conversations around our daughters, especially the youngest, is probably not so wise. She's very young - and as the "baby" of the family, she's even younger than her years. She tends to hold things very tightly, and while she knows about fantasy and reality, she still believes in the fantastic. The other day, she said something about Santa Claus.
So, when she said the other night, "I don't want the world to end!" it was with some nugget of belief that it was going to happen. It's a good reminder to us, as parents and adults, that we need to be very careful about what we say, and we need to be extra vigilant about and willing to explain things to our children in words they can understand.
After she said that, she and I had a conversation about astrological ages and stars and planet alignments and how the ancients marked the passing of time with where the celestial bodies lined up in the sky (the end of the Mayan Calendar is the end of a 2000 (or so) year astrological calendar, and marks the end of the Age of Pisces and the beginning of the Age of Aquarius - not the "end of the world"), and in the end, I said simply, "My calendar ends every year on December 31, and I get a new calendar for the next year."
Still, with shows like The Walking Dead and other post-apocalyptic tales, it's easy to get caught up in the when it happens, forgetting that the likelihood of an it is pretty slim, and what's more likely to happen is exactly what's happening - a lot of little somethings that change how we live here, on earth and in our respective pieces of it.
We're more likely to be dealing with the effects of population overshoot, resource depletion, economic collapse, political unrest, and climate change - bigger storms, crop failures due to drought, warming oceans, species migrations - gradually over the years with some things causing massive devastation and other things simple a ripple in the pond until it gets so big we can't ignore it ... or change it ... and, eventually, we just learn to deal with it.
That's the most likely scenario, in fact - over time, we will just learn to deal with it.
Obviously, I wouldn't tell my young daughter to just deal with it. Instead, I make it my job to help her learn the skills she might need to deal with a future that is very different from our present, in which dependence on today's tools would cause significant hardship. Doing so helps me, too, because trying to empower her to believe in her own strength and resilience helps me find mine.
For the last two and a half weeks, New Society Publishers has been posting articles from their authors about just that - learning resilience - ways to cope with the different than lifestyle we are likely heading toward.
I particularly enjoyed Oscar and Karen Will's article on fencing, because I need to fix our fences and install new gates, and doing so low cost is definitely appealing.
Day Thirteen: How to Make Your Own Fence and Gate for Free Oscar and Karen Wills
Day Fourteen: Taking the 'Burbs: Square Yard Gardening' Ellen LaConte
Day Fifteen: It's NOT all or Nothing Deborah Niemann
Day Sixteen: Tending the Fire Darrell Frey
Day Seventeen: Message from the Mayans to Us: Act Your Age, Not Your Shoe Size! Stephen Hren
Day Eighteen: 2012 Climate Change and Permaculture Starhawk