If success or failure of the planet and of human beings depended on how I am and what I do … How would I be? What would I do?
— Buckminster Fuller
Solutions are arising throughout the world, from people who have decided to take matters into their own hands. Perhaps the most effective way to fight the system is by choosing not to participate in it and not contribute your labor or money towards it. This is certainly a challenge, especially to those of us who know nothing else but this social, cultural, and economic way of life. Also, consciously choosing to change our psychology and values—to think and feel in more healthy and productive ways—is a powerful path towards change.
There are also still many institutional reforms worth fighting for and many people and organizations dedicated to doing so.
Vote with your dollars - do not financially support entities that are responsible for your oppression and the destruction of the environment. Do support organizations and businesses that are doing positive work.
Relocalize - find a community or start one. Unplug from the consumerist labor and agricultural markets. Start growing your own food and building your own local community.
Personal Responsibility - stop eating meat, recycle, conserve. Industrial farming of meat for human consumption is one of the most environmentally degrading practices on earth. We can all choose to eat less or no meat and to lessen our footprint of waste and energy use.
Disengage from corporate/institutional media and become the media - choose not to expose yourself to the propaganda of the forces of oppression. Take the media back into your own hands and support others who are doing the same.
Develop and utilize technology, engineering, architecture, agriculture to solve problems - while technology and agriculture may be responsible for our worst problems, we can still choose to use our ingenuity to make these tools serve us and the world in a positive way. Inventors and thinkers working on the environmental, energy, and agricultural crises are on the front lines of the battle for a sustainable and healthy society. The rest of us can support these efforts by adopting solution-based technologies.
Bring the current system down - putting an end to a system which is effectively killing life on earth is a moral imperative, no matter how disruptive or scary it sounds. Of course, this must be done in nonviolent, constructive ways, which do not create further chaos or exacerbate the problems we aim to solve. Exposing hypocrisy, deception, injustice, and irrationality are keys to subverting the empire of greed.
Psychological, Philosophical, and Spiritual Solutions
Reject conformity and societal pressure - do not follow blindly, instead seek out the truth for yourself and accept some measures of alienation from the mainstream of society. Of course, conformity is the ultimate alienation and efforts toward truth will be rewarded by true connection and purpose.
Foster new values which are not based on greed and domination - be very conscious about resisting destructive qualities, whether instilled through society or a part of “human nature.” Break the cycle of aggression and selfishness by cultivating compassion and selflessness in yourself and your children. Continue to question your own motivations and work towards an ego-less, objective mindstate.
Challenge the mental health industry and anti-depressants - while much important and progressive work is done within the mental health field, and pharmaceuticals are necessary for some, we should question the wisdom of trying to “cure” suffering and discontent by adjusting or socializing individuals to a perverse system. We can seek out more holistic psychological solutions that aim at deeper root causes of suffering and injustice. Some forms of Cognitive Therapy are pointing in this direction.
Explore the concepts of compassion, truth, fear, and suffering - these fundamental values have an extensive history throughout philosophy and religion. Buddhism in particular has much to teach in these areas. In a culture obsessed with happiness and thwarting suffering, we can learn a lot from the acceptance and appreciation of “negative states” such as sadness and alienation. Truth is the ultimate goal because it demands that we see things how they are, not how we or others want them to be. In the end, truth and compassion are the same thing.
Campaign finance reform - studies have shown that perhaps 70% of Americans support campaign finance reform, so why doesn’t it happen? This is certainly an issue worth fighting for from within the system.
Corporate and environmental regulation - millions are becoming aware of the corrupt and unsustainable nature of our corporate/industrial economy. Reforms in these areas could lead us toward a more decent society.