Hi from a wet and windy Shetland, way up at the top of the world.
As if this year hasn’t been crazy enough, we now have the festive season upon us (though it actually began back in July). I don’t think I can take much more, not without venting a rant, this one about social pressure, how it blinds us to what really matters.
2020 saw my first full year in Shetland, a good sign apparently, though to the locals I’ll always be a soft sooth-moother (southerner – ie, from anywhere south of Shetland). While back in Spain EL POCITO still remains stubbornly unsold, despite plenty of interest. Lots of dreamers (tyre-kickers, time-wasters, those who feel they deserve everything for nothing), but not a digger amongst them (are there any?). The good news is the work of healing the land continues without human interference.
Covid-19 had little impact, thanks to living on an island in the middle of nowhere, and taking zero interest in anything the Ministry of Fear (tv/ radio/ newspapers/ internet) had to peddle. What couldn’t be ignored though was the tragic decision by a group of local zealots, in cahoots with their brown-envelope Scottish parliament pals, to turn what until now has been a unique, beautiful, and relatively unspoilt archipelago, into yet another of their poisoned wastelands. For no better reason than personal profit. As if their earlier foray into ecocide, Sullom Voe oil and gas terminal, wasn’t a big enough sacrifice, now they’re hell bent on exploiting everything and anything. This is currently constructing Europe’s biggest wind farm on precious peat beds which have remained undisturbed for thousands of years. Followed by a Cape Canaveral for launching satellites so we can have improved mobile phone coverage. Just for starters.
Deciding to move to here from rural Spain was meant to be an escape from this kind of madness, to a place where nature was so vast the elements ruled, not people. But it seems nowhere is safe from The Church of the Blessed Economy now, with their insatiable lust to exploit for power and profit.
This includes the collective memory. Have you noticed how nobody remembers what their world used to be like, how much has changed (for the worse), not only from their youth, but even 20 years ago? When I returned to the UK last year, the shock for me was profound. I couldn’t recognise anywhere in England, Edinburgh was awful, so many people and cars everywhere, so much crap for sale. Compared to Spain the impression is that there is no past here, only the now and the promised land of the future. That’s the magic of social pressure, getting us to believe whatever they want, as if it was our own. Even when deep down (I hope) we know it is all lies. Organic agriculture doesn’t preserve nature, only destroys more and more of it just to feed more and more of us. Renewable energy isn’t and never will be renewable, because the manufacture of the hardware, the locating of the infrastructure, and the effect it has thereafter on the surrounding landscape, all require the mass destruction of our precious ecology. All this to produce energy we don’t actually need (only want), the majority of which is wasted before it even reaches the consumer. Recycling doesn’t restore anything, just uses up more of the planet’s fragile resources in the processing, while encouraging us to consume even more. Sustainable and money simply can’t co-exist. Permaculture (a pyramid scam selling courses to qualify to sell courses) is solely about growing food for us, at the expense of all other species. Ethical means human-centric.
Then there’s what’s happening right now in the Arctic, with the melting icecaps which in turn are allowing lethal methane (a warming gas, 80 times more effective than CO2) to escape into the atmosphere. This is news, real news, this is what everybody should be focussing on, nothing else. The rest is simply lies and deflection.
Which leads to me to what they obviously aren’t teaching in schools these days, stuff like the basics:
How our world works. That planet Earth is the same as an island, a very small space on which everything we need (apart from gravity and the Sun) has to be found from what exists there. Precious resources which are limited and finite. Therefore the last thing you do in a situation like this, is behave in a way which uses any of them up.
That life is not about us, but everything else. We exist only because over billions of years a random combination of events created this unique ecology. An organism so complex we will never be able to understand how it works. How countless species work together to provide life for everything. That through a mutual dependency and self-regulation of populations, all built around the dynamic process of life and death, the feeding of each other, is perfect recycling, ensuring none of our precious resources are ever depleted. This is what is meant by the concept of sustainability.
The Church of the Blessed Economy however doesn’t want us to know any of this. The Church of the Blessed Economy is like a parasite, solely interested in consuming its host, plundering and poisoning the planet, to acquire money and power. Words fail me. Surely anyone can appreciate that following this path is only going to end in tears?
Or if you can’t, let’s try and put this into some kind of perspective. We’ve been around for a long time now. Nobody knows how long, but it’s probably around a million years, 97% of which we behaved nothing like we do now. For starters The Church of the Blessed Economy didn’t exist, so there was no money or ownership, nothing to buy nothing to sell. Instead we were like any other species, treading lightly on the planet, and never letting our numbers exceed what the natural resources around us could sustain. Our total population for all that time probably numbered no more than a million. Yes, for most of our existence there were no more than exist in a typical english city today.
Then something happened. We invented religion. Which dragged us kicking and screaming away from the natural order of things, down a different path, one where we were no longer allowed to act sustainably, where the ecology for the first time began to suffer from our existence.
This behaviour continued until 300 years ago, when there was another major shift. The Church of the Blessed Economy was born, with its programme for making us work harder, spend more, and breed faster.
At that point in time our numbers in the UK alone had reached a staggering 6.5 million.
We had already destroyed enough of Britain’s indigenous ecology to build (approximately) 2 million houses, feed ourselves artificially, keep warm and clothe us.
The use of money had grown so that average household earnings were approximately £2000 a year (at today’s value).
There still weren’t any internal combustion engines, tarmac roads, motorways, motorcars, air travel, railways, supermarkets, electricity, gas, or phones.
Then we went truly mad. The next 300 years saw The Church of the Blessed Economy carry out an unprecedented rampage of killing and breeding which wiped out every remaining square inch of natural habitat in the UK, along with pretty much the same throughout the rest of the world. All for no other reason than to make them even richer and more powerful.
And now it’s payback time. Having done the one thing you should never do on an island, we and every other species (the ones that are left) are going the same way as those on Easter Island. We are about to become extinct.
I’d like to say there is hope. That somehow all the Arctic methane could be captured and contained, that Science can save us. But that’s another gross misconception, Science is just another face of The Church of the Blessed Economy, its purpose to design ever more products for us to buy. Whatever they come up with will only hasten the end. Also methane is one of many issues facing us right now. Global oxygen levels are dropping too, thanks to our treatment of the oceans as a dumping ground. 70% of oxygen is produced not by trees but plankton. The remaining 30%, that part which would have come from the land, has already been destroyed to use for agriculture. Drinking water is disappearing as well. All for the same selfish reasons, so we can have whatever we want, now. No thought for the future.
To be fair, The Church for a Blessed Economy isn’t solely to blame. We, with our willingness to believe in others instead of what we know instinctively to be right, bear an equal responsibility for the selfish wanting, spending, killing and procreation.
We do not appreciate what happens when we spend money, but it’s not hard. Imagine buying a cup of coffee, for example. Follow its journey from start to finish. Starting with growing the beans. Long gone are the days when food was foraged, when all we needed to do was pick it, no other effort required. Gone too are the days when our food was farmed locally. Today, all that nature has gone to house people, food now has to be grown elsewhere, in a place big enough to feed the (nearly) nine billion (9,000 times our sustainable number) of us. That’s a big farm. In fact it would cover an area as far as you could see in any direction. Land that originally had been our ecology, primeval forest, rich in diversity, trees, plants, and other species, all living together sustainably. Home also to those of us (the indigenous ones) who escaped enslavement.
After all the forest has been removed, what is left is bare fragile soil which requires machines to work it. All of which have to be manufactured and bought, requiring money (£), which in itself destroys yet more forest (NR – natural resources) elsewhere. They will also need fuel (£/NR), and labour to operate (£/NR). Fresh fertility (£/NR) has to be applied each year to grow the plants. Other chemicals (£/NR) to fight new pests/ diseases. Then when the beans have been successfully grown and harvested, they are processed (£/NR), packaged (£/NR), transported (£/NR) to wholesalers (£/NR), who sell them to the cafes (£/NR), so finally you get that simple cup of coffee. In total a knock-on effect which has destroyed countless numbers of species, made many others extinct, used up natural resources that can never be replaced, and poisoned many others. Just for a coffee.
Now multiply that up by everything we spend.
None of this need happen of course. We could have behaved like our indigenous selves and ignored religion, stayed on the sustainable path, trod lightly, heeded natural population levels. Or we could have even gone back later, at any time. There are many examples of those who have, either through fate or choice. Daniel Suelo (THE MAN WHO QUIT MONEY by Mark Sundeen) is one today. We did too, to some extent. For us it was a positive choice, to gain back our freedom from having to work, time to explore our creativity, and enjoy a healthiness that only comes from a natural way of life.
I know I have written about all this before, but how many who read these blogs changed one thing about their lives? No-one wants to hear, especially the bit about dying, that children and grandchildren will never become adults. Perhaps they feel powerless. But this is the wrong attitude. We can each make a difference. Starting with this festive season. By not celebrating yet more pointless consumption. By not pressurising friends and family into having children and grandchildren. By being brave enough to defy religion, by fighting the fear they feed us each day, and instead living simply, treading as lightly as possible, celebrating being childfree, enjoying only what is truly sustainable.