Hello! My name is Lucas Berard. I was born in 1981 in Sapulpa, OK.
My childhood saw a lot of bouncing around, but my brother and I were primarily raised by our grandmother in Tennessee.
I joined the military in 2002 after realizing that low-income was going to be my only option otherwise. It was the first time I felt like my life was a contribution rather than a drag, and I quickly absorbed the military mindset. I was all in.
Starting with my first deployment in 2004, I found myself becoming disillusioned with the military, as well as the climate of nationalist pride (which still persists today). The more I watched, and participated in the destruction of lives and homes, I found I could no longer view the Iraqi people as sub-human, deserving of less respect or rights. I saw that the use of the titles “insurgents” and “terrorists” largely just meant “anyone that doesn’t agree with and support US interests”. I could see that, by and large, the vast majority of us- ALL of us-want the same thing: to live our lives in relative peace and freedom. It’s the governments that want the wars- not the people themselves.
I felt most of it was over oil- which is a finite resource. I was well aware of the fact that if we continued our dependence on fossil fuels, it would inevitably lead to more wars, more destruction, and on larger scales. Why would we continue to murder each other over oil when there are real, viable alternatives?!
…because it makes a select few a LOT of money. And that money is then used to contort our media and political structures towards the desires of the elite. Our “news” networks are purposefully polarized, ensuring that the general population stays focused on fighting each other rather than the REAL enemies; the selfishness and irresponsibility in Washington.
Then, in 2006 I saw “An Inconvenient Truth”. Before that, climate change was completely off my radar. It added an entirely new dimension to my disdain of fossil fuels and media misinformation. I began looking deeper into the issues, and I found being overseas was, in many ways, a blessing; the media bubble in the US is very tight, and very committed to keeping the capitalist wheels turning- whatever the cost.
The few times I came back to the U.S., I found myself appalled with the level of willful ignorance the public displayed; they cared nothing for non-US lives, which was the bulk of lives being lost. The media hype had, over the 8 years I was gone, changed the population to a blood-lustful, holier-than-thou, violence accepting machine; by the end of my second deployment in 2008, I was ready to leave the military behind.
I ended my military service in 2010, and went to work for the Department of Veteran’s Affairs. I hoped that perhaps through helping vets, I could begin to feel that sense of social contribution again. And for a while, I did. I was fairly happy with my job (and especially the pay), but still felt as though I was pumping my money and time into the same unethical system. I began looking for a way to break from mainstream life.
For the first couple of years, I had planned on purchasing an RV. It would reduce my carbon footprint (as long as I didn’t drive it often), and it was smaller than most apartments, which would allow for more efficient heating and cooling. Large homes “need” to be filled up with nick-nacks, pictures, furniture, ect…a small home doesn’t create a need for any of that excess. But, as time went on, I began to realize that even in an RV, I would still have to meet my needs by contributing to the system I have such a problem with. I would still be buying processed/packaged foods, and would still be living a more-or-less transient life. I began looking for alternatives.
In July 2014 I came across the Dancing Rabbit website, and was immediately interested. I signed up for the September visitor program. It took me about two weeks before I knew that this was the place I wanted to be; a place where I could “plant my flag” so to speak- to begin the process of leading by a positive example. I was honored to be accepted as a Resident in October 2014, and am looking forward to many years of fighting a good fight, a just fight, and for good reasons!