By Lisa Bland
The time has come to say, “So long, friends…” The winds of change and transformation are blowing.
This final issue of The Green Gazette is #58, and it marks ten years since publishing my first issue in the summer of 2012. The Green Gazette has no doubt been a labour of love, involving many friends, individuals, and organizations in communities across the Cariboo Region and beyond.
The core concept behind The Green Gazette has always been caring—caring about the natural world around us, our communities, and ourselves, and striving toward healthier and Greener ways of living that might offer solutions for moving forward collectively and taking action to help create a more sustainable world for future generations.
Over the past decade, The Green Gazette has published over a thousand articles, (all available on our website thegreengazette.ca), many written by or about locals participating in or living Green(er) lifestyles and creating or promoting a more sustainable world. It’s true that it’s not easy being Green, but when we come together to tackle challenges, or when we hear about what others are doing, we can be inspired to do things differently. At least this is the Green flame I carried in my heart to keep me moving forward, issue after issue, pushing through sleepless nights, and diving into the depths of some of the most daunting topics and challenges we face, hoping to help in balancing the scales toward sustainability. Finding others willing to wrestle with and write about complex issues, such as climate change, social injustice, racism, pollution, the consequences of capitalism, and the impacts of industrial practices on our communities and the environment, as well as efforts to live a Greener and simpler existence full of connection and enjoyment of the natural world, including our beautiful Cariboo region and greater BC, was not difficult. It seems that everywhere, and at every level, people care about something and are doing important work—and their stories are all around us.
Over the years, however, it became apparent that although many people care and are making efforts toward sustainability, the systems in place are often barriers to creating a Greener world. There are many challenges individually and at a societal level that remain unaddressed, such as social inequities and institutional and political forces that block progress and efforts toward meaningful change.
Most of our current systems in the modern world run counter to sustainable principles and are profit driven. In producing the magazine, I learned that in the “economic bottom line” business model, I could barely cover production costs, much less my time and energy. While I wanted to promote sustainability at a collective level, I could not live by sustainable principles personally and continue producing the magazine. Labours of love are often just that, and although the benefits of contributing are rich in terms of connection and purpose, eventually, as is often the case in the world of volunteering or working in social services, burnout results. Working for a cause because we identify strongly with it or caring too much about causes underrepresented or undervalued in society, we can inevitably experience a sense of isolation or carry an exhausting load, emotionally or financially.
In the fall of 2021, while facing the uncertainty of covid and contemplating the fate of The Green Gazette, I experienced a lightbulb moment. I was taking a UBC/Haida Gwaii Institute university course called Resilience Theory in Community from Indigenous Perspectives, and I knew that the time had come to transform. The course, which focused on concepts of social-ecological resilience, helped me to understand that many of the problems we engage with and try to overcome as individuals are persistent, systemic issues embedded in the contexts of where we live. Without the support of others within the system uncovering bias and privilege, and working collectively towards a common goal, and a general receptivity and willingness of the larger collective toward transformation, changes may not occur or be sustained over the long term. Change and transformation towards equity, compassion, and caring for our world and each other are truly collective efforts and require systemic change to last.
In understanding these concepts, I realized that in a similar way to the denial depicted in the recent film, “Don’t Look Up” starring Leonardo DiCaprio, where the collective is incapable of grappling with imminent disaster from a comet hurtling towards Earth, humans are unable to deal with large, nebulous issues such as climate change, especially if they can’t ground concepts and address them in a practical way. Similarly, when constantly being bombarded by the gloom of complex and daunting global issues, we naturally want to avoid or disengage and focus on something more tangible.
And so, the path forward became a shift in focus to food, farms, communities, and destinations in the region. I realized it was time to examine Green concepts and ideas at a more relatable and practical level, and Local Dirt Magazine was born. We can all agree that when it comes to good food and supporting local—whether we grow our own gardens, buy from local producers and businesses, or explore the area around us—when we feel like the sky is falling, getting back to the local dirt is always the answer. If you want to check it out, our first issue of Local Dirt Magazine (2022) is available in print throughout the Cariboo and online at localdirtmagazine.ca.
So, from all of us at The Green Gazette, thanks for all the love and support through the years, whether you’re a contributor, an advertiser, or a reader. We couldn’t have existed this long without you! Keep the Green flame burning and keep planting the seeds that will grow into a better future for all the life-forms with whom we share this Earth. When things get to be too much, don’t look up, but look down and dig in the dirt… and focus on the small and beautiful things in our midst. -GG