Sunday, January 22, 2006

Doing what needs to be done, regardless...

So, the point of this thread is to make a running list of stuff that just ought to happen, despite whatever scenario plays out over the coming years and decades.

Wait, let me back up.

The Earth is facing ecological catastrophe. It's not coming--it's
here. What can we expect to happen, when is it going to take place, and what do we do about it?

Those are real hard questions, and I don't have the answers. This thread is an attempt to identify activities, endeavors, forms of knowledge, behavior, etc. that are valuable and worthwhile no matter what happens. For example...

Permaculture. No matter what, fossil fuels will run out and we are going to have to figure out how to poduce food in an ecologically sustainable manner. (I am indebted to my workmate Justin for pointing out this example, which initiated the thread.)

Folk arts. We want more than just subsistence--something better than just scraping by. We'll depend on the folk arts to produce not just necessary and utilitarian artifacts, but things of innate and creative
beauty. Beautiful and well-made things are essential in my opinion--not just a luxury. They make life worth living, not just possible for living.

Community. "We're here to help each other get through this thing, whatever it is." Gotta learn to live together, love each other.

And some counter-examples (things we don't need, and probably ought to get rid of)...

Hummers and other decadent, extravagant and wasteful status symbols. I pick on Hummers a lot--they're just a convenient target. There are so many ridiculous, anti-social, anti-environmental, wasteful objects of conspicuous consumption. I encourage you to subsitute your own favorite symbol for these if you don't want to pick on Hummers.

War and war-making devices. No room for this in a world organized around principles of ecological sanity. No purpose for them, and no one should want them. So work we do now to resist war and diminish the stockpiling of armaments is right on.

An economic mandate to
grow--to grow exponentially for an undefined (infinite?) time into the future. This mandate comes out of the idea that more is better, that bigger is better. That richer is better. Totally not true. We don't get better of as we get materially richer beyond a pretty basic subsistence level. Development and growth are not the same thing. We gotta work out how to develop (get better) without the contniual increase in demands on Earth's ecosystems (growth).

Fundamentalism, of any sort. I've yet to meet a fundamentalism I like. They're all nuts as far as I can tell--three sheets in the wind. (I guess I am just an anti-fundamentalist fundamentalist.)

OK, I'll leave it there. Let's add to the list-- maybe it will give us some insights about what to do
now, in anticipation of an uncetain but likely difficult future.

1 comment:

Justin K said...

JK -

I'd also add mechanics and other 'sustainable ag' (agro-forestry) with maybe some eco-centric philosophy and rediscovery of pre-Western knowledge system for good measure.