Nothing will beat you faster than your own resignation that nothing can be done. The onset of hopelessness, a sense that you are powerless against forces you cannot even influence, becomes self-fulfilling prophecy.
I recently met some farmers from Australia that felt just such a sense of hopelessness where their very survival was being subjugated by the politically powerful cities virtually shutting off their irrigation water. During a prolonged draught, the political juggernaut they faced was so formidable that they had reconciled themselves that they and their crops would shrivel into oblivion so that city and suburban dwellers could take their long leisurely showers and water their lawns. They had convinced themselves that they were powerless to preserve their way of life…and so they were.
The following is the body of an email that I felt compelled to write them. I am sharing it with you because I feel there is a message here for all of us. It's about human nature. It's about people's propensity to see their own small issues and miss big ones that they perceive as only applying to someone else. It's about turning the tide of resistance by making your problem, their problem and elevating it in their awareness until they feel compelled to act on their own behalf. It's about thinking creatively and using leverage to overcome the hopelessness that holds you hostage. Read on and then take some time to think through how this may apply to you.
Dear (Australian Farmer):
I am very empathetic to your water challenge. I am especially concerned because I sense your possible resignation that there is nothing you can do except hang on as best you can and pray. So, here is an "out-of-the box" solution for you to contemplate. I am sharing it with you to inspire hope, and give you a sense that you are not powerless. That you can take control of the outcome. You just may need to get outside your comfort zone and enjoy the accompanying personal growth.
Since I suspect it involves things you have not done before, I went into a little more detail than I normally would to help you see the possibilities.
Get your neighbors and fellow farmers together.
Produce a video documentary with the following theme:
City dwellers face possible starvation from a global draught
* Restricted water doesn't just hurt the Australian farmer…
* Show how restricted water to farmers hurts city dwellers
* Show why it's vital for Australia to support survival of local farmers
* Worldwide draught means less food grown worldwide
* There will come a time when imported food is not readily available
* One good famine anywhere in the civilized world, could send food prices through the roof, and interrupt global supplies
* If local farmers can't survive and go out of business, city dwellers may starve during global food shortages
* Show how local farms are a tradition handed down over generations, that once gone, cannot be quickly reconstituted
* It's smart planning for Australia to maintain food independence as a hedge against an uncertain global environment and economic factors
* Show the farmer as not just an "endangered species," but a "key species," whose death heralds the death of the wider dependent population
* Show the farm as every city dwellers very own food garden
* Show how very little sacrifice by city dwellers preserves this vital farming resource that could mean life or death to them
* Paint a stark and graphic picture
* End with a call to action that invites viewers to a website where you capture their email address for further information to and from them
* Use autoresponder emails to them to systematically build support over time
* Ask them for some financial help to keep your cause on the minds of legislators and regulators
* Invite them to show the video to their friends to help rally support
* Use the proceeds to hire a lobbyist-advocate
* Use the documentary to build momentum, then take that momentum and use it to build your next step
* Since most people rarely take action for or against anything, it only takes about 4% or 5% of city and suburban dwellers, rallying to your cause, to turn the tide in your favor
* The documentary should create a sense of urgency, death of local farms are imminent and virtually irreversible once they have occurred
If you do not know anyone who could help you produce such a documentary, search the Internet using key words such as:
* "documentary" perhaps followed by "producers", "directors", "writers", "photographers", "ideas", "movies", "videos", "films", "channels", "grants", "topics", "distribution" or whatever other key words come to mind
* "documentaries" perhaps followed by "production" , "movies", "videos", "online", or whatever other key words come to mind
If you find a documentary video or movie that you like, scan the credits at the end for the names of those who wrote produced, photographed or directed it. These people will all have agents who you can find through trade resources. Once you tap into the production community, they all know each other and can refer you to the best candidates. You may find that some even resonate with your cause and are anxious to help champion it.
There may even be one or more Australian celebrities who grew up on a farm, who will be empathetic with your cause and who can be recruited as a spokesperson or narrator for the documentary.
In the US, these types of productions can sometime qualify for government grant money to assist in production and distribution. Try and find out if Australia has such programs. You could also do a fund raiser Bar-B-Q with your neighboring farmers to help get the ball rolling. As you share this solution with them, and they begin to see the possibilities, a wave of support may not be far behind.
This documentary should tie in with a lobbying campaign to government officials and office holders.
It could be promoted via television, YouTube, other social network websites and any other venues that you can think of. Create a movement spurred by fear of city dwellers that they could be isolated from none-local food supplies and starve unless the local farm infrastructure is preserved.
A website tied into the documentary could even be used to organize concerned city dwellers to stage protests. Be creative here, as soon as you get the city dwellers seeing that your problem is potentially catastrophic for them, you will get plenty of support.
Just taking action, getting some neighbors together to discuss the possibilities, will put unseen forces into motion. Before you know it, the wind will be at your back as you are overwhelmed by a sense of you own empowerment.