I mean, every generation had its challenges – Great Depressions, wars (both the hot and cold varieties), industrial revolutions. Challenge is nothing new to our species.

At present, it’s the unrelenting stress that feels so inhuman. Trying to make mortgage payments, trying to feed your family healthy food, trying to raise your kids right – it seems like our culture is set up to make things harder for us, not easier. And all the while, in the backdrop lurks world-ending, climate catastrophe that we’re told we need to do something about. That we’re not changing fast enough.

But between the multiple jobs, lack of childcare, and general rushing around like a maniac, what can most of us do? We feel like we have been given a paddle on the deck of the Titanic. Not even a paddle – a toothpick.

In the past, when humans got stressed, we have always turned to the people around us for support. In every corner of this planet, our forebears knew that a person or a family was going to have a hard time making it work on their own – they needed their community to support them. Nowadays, however, with extended families scattered and sprawling suburbs, community can often seem like an abstract, wishful idea. We feel alone.

We weren’t meant to do things alone. Especially something as big as changing the way we live.

There is SO much knowledge and wisdom here in the West Shore – from multiple Indigenous nations and seniors who remember how to save seeds, to cutting edge PhD students and teens who know how to expertly tailor their thrift store finds. Folks from every walk of life hold their own unique bits of knowledge, their own little piece of the puzzle of how to live better.

This is why we’ve created ReImagine West Shore – to bring people together, to encourage them to connect with each other, to talk and learn about the ways we can make our lives more rich, more creative, and more livable.

Because the irony of our climate emergency is that it’s not just about cutting carbon emissions, or demanding governments and businesses make better choices. The real change comes from us – remembering that we are not isolated, greedy individuals who need to buy things to feel better. The changes we need to make to save the world are the same changes we need to make to heal our culture. It’s the same medicine.

When we come together with purpose and to share our knowledge, we are no longer alone and powerless. We remember how to be self-sufficient; we remember that we are not consumers. We remember that we are creators – and together, we have everything we need to reimagine the West Shore and make our community a vibrant, connected, and resilient place for all beings to live. – Shannon Carman