And forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair. ~ Kahlil Gibran

Friday, April 11, 2008

It's Really Kind of Sad

I have been thinking about my last few posts, and how things will be as our way of life here in the good old U.S. of A. changes. Somehow, in my head I had a romantic vision of life slowing down. I kind of thought that folks would realise (finally) that the pursuit of the newest, biggest, and best toy really didn't fulfill them in the way they hoped. I imagined (especially now with "Go Green" plastered all over the TV and the news) that everyone would wake up from the consumerist fantasy they have all been living in and learn to live in a new way peacefully.

Ummm, yeah. Hi, my name is Barefoot and I am naive.

I have pulled my head out of the sand just a little bit, and I am not liking what I see. I am seeing folks in total denial, folks who get angry if you even say that things need to change.

Now, I am not going to sit and tell you all that we are in for an apocalypse. I am not going to say that someday we will just wake up to find that the lights won't go on no matter how many times we flip the switch or that the gas stations will all just close down overnight.

There are other folks who say that better than I.

It's not that those things (along with a few that are a lot worse) aren't possible, it's that that isn't my point.

My point is that I wish folks could be more dignified about this whole thing. There is that word again. If you all knew me in person you would laugh out loud at the idea of me using such a word, but I can't think of a better one for what I mean.

I see folks desperately clinging to a way of life that is not healthy for them, the environment, or society as a whole. Folks who can't (and won't) look past the way they have lived all their lives to see that there are alternatives.

On the other hand, I see folks who have made "being green" a status symbol. Something that (if it were practical) they would tattoo on their foreheads to show how much better they are than the rest of us poor saps.

I guess I am just seeing that mankind is still ugly and selfish, and no amount of climate change or economic breakdown is going to change that. No matter what comes, I am afraid that those who have are going to continue to look down on (rather than help) those who have not. I am afraid that those who have not are going to choose to steal and cheat rather than learn to have.

The reality is that there is enough for us all. Really. Sure there would have to be lots of changes about what was considered enough, but it can happen. If everyone had a garden, if everyone used what they had until they couldn't get anymore use out of it, if everyone realised that buying something new would not make their lives complete, if everyone stopped trying to out-consume their neighbors and focused more on completely satisfying their needs......but there I go again, being naive.


jenny said...

Instead of naive, let's call it wishful thinking, shall we??

I do know how you feel, and if I let myself see how hopeless some people are about it, I would start to feel hopeless too. SO instead, I focus on what I can do for myself and my family and if anyone wants to know what I'm doing, I'll gladly share and welcome the questions. I do not hide the way that I am or how I live so it's not like I slink around unnoticed.. If people took a good look at me, they would see that we don't drive the hottest SUV or buy the latest styles and I don't give a flying f*$k what other people think.

COntinue to share how much better fresh fruits and veggies taste and maybe someone will overhear and ask a question. COntinue to take your stuff down to the recycling area and maybe someone going by will see you with your bag of plastic and be inspired to do the same. All it takes is one little action sometimes to inspire someone else.

Kati said...

I've gotta agree with Jenny, though. Yeah, anger is ok. But keep in mind the cliche of "you'll catch more flies with honey than with vinegar." Not saying the vinegar isn't called for, and it may even be too late for the honey to be truly effective, but still.... As folks see you enjoying your home-grown veggies, while they're cutting back on what they can buy at the grocery store (much less plastic junk from big W), they'll hopefully start thinking about how you do it, and will start working toward it themselves.

Something to be said, too, for the cliche "walk softly but carry a big stick." While it's great to be a shining example of producing for oneself & one's family, doesn't mean you have to let your neighbours in on EVERYTHING you know or do. It never hurts to keep a LITTLE bit in reserve, either for trade or for protection.

(Oh, "Funny" little bit, my neighbours across the street just left for a Mexican cruise at midnight last night. How's that for clueless. And yet, I find myself envious that they're getting in one more vacation. I wish I'd gotten a chance to show Tay more of our world than this small corner we reside in. That may never be possible again.)

Gina said...

The irony in the situation of our world is not lost on me: for decades being self-sufficient or self-sustaining (however, you want ot label it) was thought of as a "poor folks" thing. In came the HOA covenants banning veggie gardens, livestock and clothes lines and in came the dependency on stores and machinery that could be hidden (e.g. dryers). In my mom's youth (50's) her family raised chickens and rabbits for food right in town until the town banned such practices in the 70-80's. Now, we have come full circle back to the need for local foods and alternative means to save the planet and it's become the thing that the "well-off folks" do.

Around here (meaning Indiana where change is synonymous with impossible) the change from a "do-it-yourself" mentality occurred slower than the rest of the country (IMO anyway) and the modern way of life (e.g. Walmart providing our food and no clothes lines) has just taken hold. All of this means that now that a shift has occurred in the newer direction, a shift back to the "old ways" will be slow and painful. My example is my evil neighbors who live in an agricultural area and use a lawn mower and a rolling pin to keep their lawn flat. And believe me they don't hang their clothes on a clothes line!!

Yikes I have veered way off track here...

What I am saying is that IMO this change that we are going through is going to shift to the elite looking down on the poor who can't afford solar panels or have the time or means to garden and it is sad. I agree with what you are saying.

And, I think Kati has a good point about holding some reserves back for the societal issues that will probably be inevitable in the coming years.