J'ai passe la derniere semaine avec un groupe des jeunes canadiens inspirante... les environmentalists avec plein de talent et joie de vivre. Nous sommes un groupe de 19 personnes en totale... on a reste sur un ferme pas loin d'Ottawa pendant un semaine pour notre formation. We've been praticing a play together which we'll be performing for high schools across Ontario, about the way in which individuals can make a difference in the world. Since we'll be traveling by bicycle, we aren't able to bring any props with us, so the theatre piece is done entirely with human props. I've been cast as a lamp, a turbomatic-smoothinator, a bird, and the back half of a car. Yahoo! Our first performance is in Ottawa this afternoon.
Life is going well (perhaps because I haven't had to ride a bike much during the past week). I'm becoming reacquainted with nature, sleeping and waking with the sun. The sheer number of spiders on my tent and in my shoes led me to the conclusion that my tent was on a spider's nest. After moving it to another location and still finding a plethora of jumping spiders each time I reached my tent, I realized that spiders are simply a part of southern Ontario's natural landscape. Guess I never saw it before in the cities.
Highlight of the week: one of the other Otesha members dreamt that I was her permaculture spirit guide. I showed up in her dream, dressed in a tacky ghost costume, and showed her the way toward permaculture. Fantastic.
Second highlight of the week: I've been trying for a few months to translate "decroissance conviviale" into English. Basically, "decroissance" (ungrowth) is a word that represents the alternatives to our society's growth model of progess... "decroissance conviviale" represents a convivial acceptance that society will begin to change in the coming decades, and the embracing of the new lifestyle that will come about in a post-carbon era. It's like voluntary simplicity, though extending it from a personal framework to a larger social framework. I've been struggling with an appropriate term in English, as "convivial ungrowth" just doesn't quite cut it. I had previously come up with "Embrace the great slowdown", which I'm fairly happy with as a translation, though I wondered if I could find a way to shorten it. We had two lovely folk come to talk to us this week about permaculture and humanure. During the presentation, when talking about the transition that our society will face, the woman used the words "compassionate descent". I think this could be a decent translation to get the idea across to the English-speaking world in two words :) I was thrilled to find it. If anyone else has ideas for a translation, let me know :)
I just spent six days outdoors... I don't think I've ever done that in my life. For six days straight, I was either outside, in a tent, in an outhouse, or in an open drafty barn, during rainstorms and coldsnaps, without a warm location for relief. I filled stainless steel waterbottles with hot water and put them under my sweater as a miniature space heater. I had the luxury of spending last night in an apartment. It made me appreciate the comforts that we take for granted... like doors and insulation.
Quote of the week, from another Otesha member: "No complaining when you're saving the world." It's meant as a joke, but it does help keep us centered on the over-arching aims of what we're doing when the hail is falling.