Glacier National Park ahead: From the train in Montana….

Here I am 3 hours away from the town of East Glacier Park, named for its location near the entrance to The Glacier National Park. I’ll be getting off the train there, and planning about a 400 mile (680 km) bicycle exploration through the park and then down to the university town of Missoula. The ride should be spectacular and I’m looking forward to exploring this West Montana country, wildlife and culture.

I’ve only been in South Montana when visiting Yellowstone just across the border, back in 1984, and have just listened to a semi local tell some fellow passenger Park visitors that Yellowstone is much bigger and better than  Glacier, and they must go there ‘next time’! ! So there we go, a real sensitive fellow passenger ‘inspiring’ us in telling us that we have made the wrong choice!  Ha-ha, I’m confident that Glacier National Park will be fantastic, and being a little off the main tourist track, hopefully won’t be as crowded.

It’s been 18 hours since leaving the city of St Paul, MN, yesterday, and after miles and miles of the flat northern mid-west farmlands from Minnesota through North Dakota, the mountains that divide Montana are just appearing on the front horizon: The amazing Rockies that divide this huge country into the west and mid and changes landscape, weather, peoples, places and cultures: A true divide.

Whether it was the whole change of getting back to full on civilisation or saying goodbye to Imi, I’m today going through a One Point Zero low patch today. These hours on the rain have been useful for reflecting on my One Point Zero objectives and how things are going? This feeling of hopelessness with the cause comes up from time to time, and is normally followed with renewed inspiration as I reflect on what has been achieved and the barely 3 months that the initiative is been going now. This low patch is related to the huge awareness gap I’m seeing in the USA, and then adding to the gap is what seems like a total disregard for the One Point Zero case. Here we are travelling through an area of pretty open nature, in that there are no big cities just lots of open space and a few rural towns, yet as I explore with people on the train the concept of Nature and how we humans fit in / relate to Nature appears to be something they haven’t even thought about. Those going to Glacier National Park say they love Nature and can’t wait to get to the Park seemingly like they are going for their annual ‘dose of Nature’.  When I explore with them that Nature is with us everywhere and not just in National Parks, they seem a bit confused. I explore further by saying I believe we humans are truly part of Nature and ‘Without Nature we are Nothing’, the huge gap in our human belonging context is exposed. Discussions around One Point Zero usually get met with an almost fobbing off comment of “I yes, I know about Global Warming, but I read somewhere that it’s not true, so I don’t know if there is a problem?”  I always say that One Point Zero is not about Global Warming, it’s about how we are using up the Planet’s resources and overloading Nature’s regenerative systems. The fact that if everyone on this earth lived like the average USA consumer we would needs almost 3 plus planets seems to just pass through their thoughts without any guilt, shock, or tell me more reaction.

To add to my low, I’m reading for a second time a great book: Sustainable Consumption and The Good Life, Interdisciplinary Perspectives, published by Rutledge).  They quote French philosopher Michel Serres as saying:  Individual activism through walking the talk (as I am doing), “has as much effect on the world as a butterfly in the Australian desert, except for the rarest exceptions….”  Hah-ha, I hope I am one of those rare exceptions!  I knew this would be a difficult path, and over the years of being the challenging outsider, I have experienced these same low patches, and so had prepared myself for these lows, and I am standing back and taking on all the information seeing what needs to change?  This ‘Trumped by Nature’ expedition still has 35 days to go and I gave myself the 3 months to check the lay of the land and then go back to plotting the next steps. I only mention all this as you the follower maybe going through your own One Point Zero challenge, and it would be great to hear more from those that are having strange things happen within them….

From my own experience this whole journey has been as if the iconic tiger has bolted and I just have it by the tail and am hanging on for dear life…..! I move between my own life and what I need to be doing to follow my One Point Zero goals, to then exploring all the many areas of society and how things need to change, or will or could evolve?  I sometimes go through a bad patch when I think why I am one of the few (maybe only) one of my socio-economic class trying to live a One Point Zero life?

I can see why those still needing to work for a living have more of a survival focus, and can almost be ‘excused’, but I’m trying to understand the mind set of those who have enough, and yet still continue making more to consume more and more, rather than look at become explorers, for a new One Point Zero life?

Maybe they are cleverer than me and know that butterflies don’t survive in the Australian desert! In the past week I have been surprised at the deviation my thinking has sometimes tried to take: I never doubted that I should stand next to all other humans on this planet and only take my equal share of Nature’s very scarce bio capacity as my One Point Zero goal, but I had some doubts come up: I started asking myself why care, you didn’t decide to be born, and you haven’t had kids, so the whole population problem has nothing to do with you ‘boy’, just live the life you think is ethical and morally right for YOU, that’s all you have to do.”

That led me to asking what that ethical and morally right would be, and I went straight back to the One Point Zero goal I have already got and was very peaceful confirming that that is the only ethical and moral goal concluding: “So just get on and do it, your soul needs it….!”  It is just difficult sometimes when it seems like all around me I see nobody really cares, and is even trying! I know that’s not true, there are a whole bunch of Amish people on this train too, and they don’t even discuss these issues, they are lucky as they just live it every day without question…  It’s us ‘contaminated people’ who struggle! “Contaminated” because we have tasted the Good Life, the way over One Point Zero one, and don’t know how ‘we’ could be ‘happy’ with any other one, and see the Amish as “Not a life I remotely want to live…!” This is all tough stuff because somehow ‘we’ the average westerner ‘has to’ move much closer to that ‘simple Good Life’.

Yeah, going solo with my customised One Point Zero life solution is ‘easy’ when you don’t have all these new life purpose / community issues to think about and change to fit into… The first stage is ‘Acceptance’; Accepting ‘The Chasm’ has to be crossed for one’s soul and then plotting your own Chasm crossing is the easiest and most liberating! (Read my article on The Chasm, between Western Society and Nature All interesting thoughts hey!here.)

I do realise that it is much easier to be a solo One Point Zero-er than getting a whole family, or community to buy into change. This is where the challenge lies, to take my personal learning of living a One Point Zero life and applying it to smaller groups, communities, nations and then the whole of humanity. I don’t know if you have worked through all those levels, but as one moves higher up to bigger communities that change that is needed becomes monumental and radical.

As I ponder life once I get back to New Zealand in mid-September I have choices that involve belonging with a community in Nelson, South Island that is very One Point Zero enlightened but still a 2.0 or more society, OR staying as a solo One Point Zero-er and living outside any Planet over user Earth society? Do I accept the society’s goodwill and ecological footprint intent and try becoming involved in the change? Do I just cop out that Nelson is as good as it gets, and accept that this is just the world, and One Point Zero is just an idealists dream? Or do I continue to try and live where One Point Zero is a real possibility. What do I do?  The next five weeks will bring the answer?

Many of you may be making or going to make significant life decisions in the future, and I wonder how much trying to get to a One Point Zero lifestyle will come into the thinking. If like me, you let One Point Zero become a non-negotiable, it is amazing how one is then led to decisions one had never dreamed about….  The time of making big life decisions is the perfect time to include a radical move towards One Point Zero, and become a leader of evolving New fashion.

Anyway, I wanted to share with you my inner journey, and all the stuff I go through not just the positives! I know I have to move beyond these thoughts, and that they are very necessary for keeping me on track even if the track has to change, they provide input to the change.

Thanks for listening to me on this ‘vent off’…. Tomorrow is another day and Glacier Park will no doubt bring unplanned inspirations!