9. recovery


It may be a long and bumpy road to recovery from the addictions – we are not sure exactly what our new world will look like, but many people are working hard to build alternatives right now.

A first step to overcoming dependence on extraction and the violent colonial pyramid scheme that necessitates it, is to work toward autonomous communities, self-determination.

Recovery will surely involve sometimes painful withdrawals – we need to build communities of support, learning how to connect with our neighbors and watch each others backs. These bonds may be all we have when times get tough. This is where our true wealth lies, in our relationships and abilities to work together.


Like these reptiles, standing together despite their different sizes and abilities.


Or these snails and insects, who are recording the meeting and taking notes so that they can share with others who couldnt make it.


This monkey is recording the meeting as well, maybe to be broadcast on the radio to inspire other nearby communities!


And here we see birds who try to include the voices of their ancestors in these conversations as well, practicing gratitude and respect for all who came before.

fruit bat

Many people all over the world are getting creative in the search for viable new technology, not continuing to rely on false solutions proposed by the very people who got us into this mess in the first place. It may be difficult to undo the technological tolerance we have built up – we have lost many traditional skills and strengths as we have wrapped our lives in layers of technology, many of which we dont even see. We dont think that everyone should just become a primitivist and move back to the land and eat mud and make their house out of a deer – with a population of 7 billion, that is also a false solution. 🙂

But we can scale down, creating human-scale technologies made from all the stuff we already have. Here is a fruit bat using a bicycle-powered blender to make smoothies at the local farmers market!


And here is a pirate radio station powered by a water wheel! They are maintaining old transmitter equipment because it still works perfectly well, and re-purposing materials to convert old structures and tools into new ones.

farmers mkt

This bustling farmers market is full of local foods, the pollinator vendors and seed-disburser customers support their local food systems in many ways! 🙂

culture spiral

This spiraling scene includes several different examples of teaching and learning traditional cultural skills, across generations. An adult fern teaches a little fiddle-head fern how to play the flute, while other plants make weavings, murals, and pottery. Monarch caterpillars paint scenes of butterflies, looking forward to transformation.


Here is a scene of a bat giving birth. There is a midwife and several friends are giving her support as well. They are holding hands, sort of, except bats dont actually have hands so they are holding thumbs 🙂

The cave is surrounded by herbs traditionally used in pregnancy. These bats remember that they know how to take care of themselves, and do not need to rely on a parasitic health-care system that prioritizes profits over our well-being.


In front-line communities, survival is resistance, and every affirmation of life is an opportunity to build community power and unity. In this scene of a fiesta, diverse species celebrate their culture, their blessings, and each other.


Musicians make music from the four elements of air, water, earth and fire,


as elders tell stories of hard times, good times, and the journey in between, making meaning of our shared experiences and histories.


There is a huge beehive scene on the far side of Mesoamerica Resiste, showing the many roles that go into maintaining a cooperative local economy, a “Solidarity Economy.” Here bees are engaged in design, mapping out permaculture plans to grow food on their land while also benefiting neighbors and the land itself, and considering the pros and cons of different types of housing.


In the next scene, we see bees building housing for other pollinators like bats and various species of solitary bees – they know that we cant have a truly democratic society if not everyone has their basic needs met.


Here bees are making a variety of local products like beeswax candles, herbal home-brew, and this one is cooking up some tortillas on this little bio-gas powered comal!


They have invited their neighbors over, sharing a meal while they explain the concept of “cutting out the middleman” by creating local cooperative businesses like this one.

distro coop

Here these dutiful bees are studying their maps and lists, making sure that resources get distributed to those who need them and make best use of them, not just those who have the most money.

queen bee

We see the flowers support the queen bee as she lays eggs that will become the next generation, to symbolize the symbiotic relationship between flowers and bees. Below, bees are winnowing and saving seeds from the many flowers they pollinate, practicing the ancient tradition of selectively breeding diverse varieties of crops (diversity that makes them collectively stronger and better than any genetically-modified variety).


At the top of this pyramid-shaped beehive, we see that the bees have very different concepts of social organization. Bees operate by true democracy, workers making decisions together. The queen just lays all the eggs. And those eggs are at the top. The young larvae are learning by playing as the elder bee astronomers watch over them. They study the phases of the moon and discuss the best time to plant. They know that in the economy of life, seeds and soil are the true wealth. These two larvae are flying kites…

kites in spst

up in the spirit-stream, taking joy in the abundance around them.

blockade women

Here is a scene depicting women characters linking arms and forming a blockade, to keep military aggression and other forms of violence out of their communities. Protecting each other from harm is vital, but colonial institutions like armies and police only cause more harm and violence. In some communities, people are refusing to tolerate or participate in violence, and are working to repair harms by learning from them and transcending past them together – “transformative justice.”


It is important that each one of us recognize our place in the pyramid scheme, and recognize that if we have relatively more privilege we also have relatively more power to change it. These parachuting animals represent outsider activists who use their privileges like access to education, media, social networks and safety nets to act in solidarity with front-line communities. The snow-shoe hare has a graduation cap because it just got out of college, its bringing climbing gear and a u-lock, maybe its planning to risk arrest to do a lock-down to shut down mining equipment for a day… it also has a sign with a fist, which is a required to appear at least once in all leftist propaganda 🙂

The painted turtle brings a back-pack, maybe its going to stay a while, and of course its got its nalgene bottle because turtles need to stay hydrated, and its bicycle helmet because turtles are very safe, its got a fancy new video camera and a carrot-brand laptop that its going to use to make a dope documentary. 🙂

But there is also this hare already on the ground. This character is very important, it has air traffic control wands that it uses to direct the parachuters where to land. It knows where they should land because its listening with its big ears to this monarch butterfly, who represents an elder from the community who understands the complicated local politics, the history of struggle, and the most important immediate needs of the community.

turtle scientist

So maybe when this turtle lands on the ground it realizes that there are plenty of good documentaries already, but it can use its education and resources to help test the water to make sure everyone knows whats in it and how to protect their health.

7 gens

This is a scene of seven generations of women salamanders, who are teaching and learning locally relevant knowledge.

gens 1

Here the expectant mother learns about herbs for womens health from the great-grandmother.

gens 2

Here the adolescent salamander helps the grandmother plan bioremediating plants like cattails, water-lilies, and watercress, which slowly but surely clean toxins out of the soil and water.

gens 3

Here is a new mother bathing her baby in clean water.

gens 4

And here is a menopausal-aged salamander who is weaving a tapestry that connects all of them and flows on into the future. This scene reminds us that it is so important to have respect for those that came before us, and care for all of those who will come after. In every choice that we make, every path that we take, we should be thinking very seriously about the long-term consequences of our actions and not only instant gratification.

trillium oysters

All along the foreground in The True Cost of Coal we see wild medicinal and food plants, reminding us that what we need is, or can be, right here around us. I would like to take some time to ask you all – what kinds of interventions and recoveries are happening around here?




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