I always enjoy the transition from one year to the next as I settle satisfied into the heady early days of January, the new year spread out in front of me full of possibility and promise. I take time to reflect, I read quite a bit, I often conduct some newly-inspired journaling, and I try to imagine where I want to nudge and steer my life over the next twelve months. I most often avoid predictions, but I’m a sucker for resolutions. Sometimes they’re specific and sometimes more general—often a mix of both—and I try to make both internal and external goals, shaping the way I hope to impact and alter myself on an internal level as well as how I hope to interact and impact the world at large.
This year has been no different (though perhaps the process is taking longer than usual) and it’s likely that I will write about some of these goals either in the fourth issue of Into the Ruins or in an upcoming Litterfall blog post—or both. In the meantime, though, I want to turn to you, dear readers, and ask for your insights. Yes, that’s right, it’s time again for me to prompt you all for some new letters to the editor. My last effort at this proved quite fruitful and, to my mind, led to a fascinating letters section in the third issue. I hope to duplicate that success here. Now, before we get the question at hand, I want to note that I always encourage letters focused on feedback on the previously-published issues, as well as musings and considerations brought to mind by the stories and editorial content contained within. I also encourage recommendations of good deindustrial science fiction. But to get the conversation moving here in the new year, I also want to introduce a specific subject appropriate to the moment. Therefore, I want to know what your new year’s resolutions (or just general intentions) are to mitigate the impact of decline and consequence in 2017.
Most all of you reading this should understand by now the philosophy behind Into the Ruins, and I think most all of us who are willing to can see the (not always) slow unraveling of industrial civilization and the American empire taking place around us: the continuing climate chaos and record-breaking high temperatures in the arctic, the shifting and destabilizing political scene both in the United States and abroad, fast-changing geopolitical alignments, continuing economic countercurrents that suggest a very troubled near future, the ongoing worldwide collapse of ecological stability, ever-increasing income and wealth inequality, and growing cultural divides cleaving to much of our population into increasingly bitter and brittle alcoves of mutual resentment.
There are, of course, no easy solutions for these troubles. In many cases, there are no solutions at all. But there are a range of actions we can take at the individual and collective levels to help mitigate the pain, suffering, and destruction that so consistently rises out of these sort of civilizational cycles—and which may help create a somewhat brighter future on both the near and far side of our civilization’s collapse: years, decades, and centuries from now. With that reality in mind, I’m putting out a request for a conversation here about what you are planning to do in the new year to help mitigate the decline taking place around us.
Responses to the troubles of our time may be personal or political, within yourself or projected out in the world. It may be a new way of living lightly, or an attempt to strengthen your community and create new connections. It could be the starting of new organizations or institutions, work toward political or economic change, rebellion against the system or soft nudgings of it in better directions. It may be new connections: to other humans, to non-humans, plants or animals, the natural world, the ecological cycles that swirl all around us. It may be study, meditation, personal explorations. It may be new limits, fewer screens, more thrift, less energy and resources. It may be denying yourself something and observing the internal impacts of that decision. Maybe it’s learning a new skill, finding a way to make a part of your living outside the money economy, or reducing your dependence on the industrial economy. Or one of a thousand other decisions, all of which have the potential to make the world a slightly better place and the future a bit less harsh.
Ready to join the conversation? There are two ways you can make your voice heard. The first option is to email it to me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. The second option is to post it as a comment on this blog post. However, if your comment is meant for consideration as a published letter in Into the Ruins, please note that at the beginning. Otherwise, everyone is also welcome to post a comment of general discussion, not meant for the letters section.
While this is likely less fraught a subject than the previous political one, I want to note as always to keep your comments kind and considerate. You’re welcome and encouraged to be controversial and challenge the conventional wisdom of our time—just do it with respect and keep it free of undue personal attacks. As before, comments will be moderated, so be patient if yours doesn’t show up immediately. It shouldn’t take long, and should always be up within a day (and generally much sooner) so long as it doesn’t violate the above considerations and doesn’t contain profanity or insults.
On another note, I want to announce a few specials going on right now in the Figuration Press Store. Through the end of January, I’m offering free domestic shipping on all issues of Into the Ruins. In addition, I’m offering Introductory Packages available to new readers or old readers who want to introduce someone to the magazine. Aside from the free shipping (i.e. any issue of the magazine sent anywhere in the U.S. for $12) I’m also offering two other options of either the first and second issues sent anywhere in the U.S. for just $23 or the first three issues sent anywhere for just $33, with free shipping on both options. This is a great way to discover a good number of great stories yourself if you don’t already have all three issues, or to share them as a gift with a friend, family member, or random stranger on the street. You’ll find all options available at the store. You may also contact me directly if you’d like to mail in your payment instead of using PayPal.
Happy New Year, everyone!