Spring is a wonderful time of the year. The colours, fresh aromas, sounds of birds, and longer daylight hours awaken me and invite me to connect with the planet and my friends.

I need the spring-time, not only in the physical sense, but also in the spiritual and emotional sense. It is too easy to get stuck in the snow banks and winter-mud of gloom about the state of our planet, government decisions that seem backward and defeating, a relationship that seems to have soured, the sorry state of my finances, etc. If I do not allow spring to pull me out of such potential ruts, then I become grey and boring and worse.

Indeed, for those who strive for better wages and working conditions (think of the original May Day), or those who yearn for a healed planet, or military budgets being spent on feeding the poor, it is all too easy to complain, be negative, and get stuck in the winter doldrums. This is why so many worthy causes fail to capture our imagination.

Of course the problems mentioned above are real. Wages and other income for most of us have been losing ground to inflation. The planet is headed toward unspeakable problems. Fossil fuel prices are headed toward the stratosphere. The world’s banking system is precarious. There are a lot of serious problems that do need addressing.

Yet complaining and whining (as though we were children) fails to attract much respect or positive attention. As it turns out, two things do lead to positive changes:

  • Identifying the problem in a way that involves both intellect and emotion,
  • Involving others in arriving at hopeful, positive, and workable solutions that appeal to both reason and emotion.

Here’s a recent example. Transportation accounts for about 2/3’s of our local pollution and greenhouse gases simply because most of us are dependent on the automobile. For sure, this was not a mistake of history. It seemed that the railway was doomed and the single occupancy vehicle would bankrupt us individually and collectively.

Yet the desire to see it rise from the ashes — provide commuter service to Victoria, take some of the heaviest traffic off of our highways, and provide excellent tourist travel — cuts across all political lines. Why? Not only because we get a far greater return on our investment (as compared to highways) and because it helps us to reduce pollution, congestion, GHG emissions, accidents and more. But even more importantly it’s because travel by train provides an undeniable, romantic and nostalgic attraction!

Growing food locally has even more logic and emotional pull to it, since we all eat food, and we are realising that locally grown food is better for us—nutritionally and financially.

So when you find yourself playing the victim, decide what you need to think, feel, and do to bring yourself into the spring-time. You owe this to yourself, your relationships and to the world.

Ian Gartshore is a local social entrepreneur, therapist, and energy guy.