It’s that time again, when I get a pleasant shiver running down my spine telling me a rant is due (yes, I actually enjoying it). This one inspired by several seemingly unconnected events recently, yet all neatly linking up.
The first, an email from THE LAND magazine, arrived on one of the rare moments I was actually on-line (regular readers will know I don’t have internet) last Sunday. I took it to be important, because after my recent run-in with Simon Fairlie, there was no way they would ever get in touch again. And lo, the editorial team has been revamped. So did this mean my earlier offer of an article might be reconsidered? I replied immediately. And the response was almost as quick (have these people not got homes to go to?). Almost an essay, full of the same old tired stuff SF had thrown at me before. Had I bothered to read it properly, I would have seen it was just a circular. However it got me thinking about the magazine again.
Next was FISH TAILS. This is the title of the latest SF novel by eco-writer Sheri S Tepper. You should know that to be able to read (as opposed to watching tv/ listening to the radio), is like breathing/ eating/ & drinking for me, essential to life and for keeping me sane/ centred. In fact ever since I saw the film FARENHEIT 451 (as a teenager), then read Ray Bradbury’s book which inspired it, a library has always accompanied me, especially hardy perennials that can be read over and over again. FISH TAILS contains a literary reference to F451, with a sect which rescues and protects books for a more enlightened future. They are called VOLUMETRIANS. And it made me think how few people now actually want to and make time to read good literature, that is work by artists/ thinkers, those who have to express themselves, as opposed to the hacks who simply churn it out for the money. From which came the sudden realisation that actually society is already separated into two distinct camps, just as in F451. Or as another brilliant writer/ philosopher, Ronald Wright, proposed, that it is in our DNA, we are descendants of two totally different species, one foragers and passive, the other carnivores and aggressive.
Take that all one (giant) step further, and I propose that the likes of Simon Fairlie and his ilk (all the other alternative/ ecology publications), plus probably most of the ecology movement, are actually on the side of the book burners, ie the majority, if the truth be known. Because while they peddle ecology solutions (products/ courses/ services etc), what they actually believe in is having life both ways, doing so by making their living out of it. Just like the pharmaceutical industry doesn’t really want there to be a cure for cancer, or they’d be out of a job, so they don’t allow the real solutions to be aired and instead focus on creating seemingly reassuring and positive diversions, stuff that brings people together and makes them feel good (fun runs comes to mind), even if it isn’t going to make any difference. Which brings me onto VIVA LEWES.
I doubt if anyone has ever heard of this publication, unless of course they live in Lewes (East Sussex). It’s not alternative/ ecological in the sense of those above, yet still manages to offer and embrace all the same values, albeit from a different perspective, that of the conventional person/ majority. It’s a monthly what’s-on magazine, totally free, running to over 100 full-colour pages, providing a quintessential mix of great graphics/ excellent journalism/ and quirky advertising. All in a brilliant format that somehow manages to make the readers feel they are the lucky ones. Which of course is what all the other magazines hope for too, to make you feel part of their exclusive club (everyone dreams of winning the lottery/ living in their own version of Lewes). A friend sends me copies, and I can’t lie, it is like a drug. A modern version of P G Wodehouse (you have to be rich to live in Lewes), but reflecting not just Lewes, society as a whole, as the majority it seems really do seem to be ready to believe that anything is possible if only you have enough money to throw at it. For me of course I just like VL for the irony (and graphics), which is something you could never say about THE LAND et al, where else could you find a cycling seamstress/ silent hairdresser (who will also de-clutter your wardrobe as well)/ a food-delivery service that uses a Silver Cross pram/ or holistic osteopath who treats dogs? What tickled me this month though, relevant to this theme, was the surfeit of mentions for mindfulness (even more than the usual adverts for private schools), and a feature entitled CIRCLE OF LIFE RE-DISCOVERY. The latter being where for between £7 and £890 (yes this is correct) this registered charity will provide you with a unique access to nature and the outdoors. Call me old-fashioned, but when did we need to be told/ shown how to appreciate this? Mindfulness is a new one to me, apparently it has something to do with Buddhism, feeling good by doing nothing/ avoiding responsibility/ and living in the moment. Sounds like more of the same, repackaged.
Which leaves those of us in the other camp, those who really want to do something to save the planet, in a very tiny minority. We who believe there are only two issues that we should all be focussing on. That of reducing population to sustainable levels, and the banishment of money.
Because no matter how many permaculture projects or ecological innovations could be created, the reality is there are already far too many people occupying the space/ resources that should exist solely for all the other species. Too many houses/ roads/ shops/ services/ etc, covering the precious land. As some kind of illustration, using the UK for an example (but it could be any industrialised country), the human population was just 800,000 in the year 0AD (2017 years ago). At which point you could probably say our ecological footprint then was so minimal, so biodegradeable, it was a more-or-less sustainable existence. However after that, those who rule over us (this is not a natural thing), decided to increase our number, solely to serve their needs, and by 1750 it had risen to 6.5 million. No longer biodegradeable/ sustainable, and now taking land/ resources from other species or just killing them for sport/ food. Then coming up with an even better idea, for making their life more comfortable still, the Industrial Revolution. Which they achieved by forcing the people to increase their numbers even quicker. By 1956 (the year I was born) reaching an incredible 51.4 million. This year, 65.1 million. Currently increasing at a rate of more than half a million a year. Each of which will need to take their own piece of the planet for homes/ roads/ shops/ services/ waste/ etc. Leaving what for the rest of the species?
This doesn’t include how much each person spends every day. Money being an equally destructive force on the precious ecology, one that indiscriminately robs and poisons in other parts of the world (land and oceans) as well, just so we can carry on this with this crazy overpopulation and stuff ourselves senseless with things we don’t actually need.
To me it is obvious what we have to do, why is everyone else burying their heads?
At least in El Pocito no-one can hear my screams (of frustration), except of course all that nature, which I am fortunate to be surrounded by and so far has escaped being concreted over for yet more unnecessary people.
As the Cree saying goes:
When the last tree has been cut down, the last fish caught, the last river poisoned, only then will we realize that one cannot eat money.