The thick and thin of my quandary is that consumption is still consumption whether it has a green label on it or it’s black. Buying is buying, money is money, things are things.
If I use a vehicle that’s only spewing 10L of gasoline fumes into the air instead of 15L, does this make my effort worth while? Am I saving this world? The fact is that I’m still using and spewing and contributing.
I feel it needs to stop.
The root of my question is how do I move forward knowing this. Bare with me a while as I try and make some sense of this overwhelming feeling.
As my dad says: “There’s no clean end to pick up the shit from.”
90% of our fish by mass in the ocean have been pulled out of it. I hear statistics saying that the cod have a 1% in the last 10 years, but if they’re down 99.9% in the last 50 years, this isn’t much to be happy about. Imagine being faced with the idea that 90% of my human body will be taken from me: “Ned, by the end of tomorrow you’re only going to have your left foot. The rest of your body will be taken and eaten.” This will damn well alarm me and I’m going to fight back.
99% of our forests have been taken off the earth. North Africa, Iraq, Greece, Persia, England… only a few thousand years ago these regions were lush forests like the rare ones we’re fighting to protect in Canada. These forests were systematically massacred to fuel armies in the name of progress. Now they’re deserts. At what point should I be alarmed by the fact that we’re taking more trees off of earth then we can afford to?
Should I be happy in Canada we have a reforestation policy on all logging?
Well, almost all logging operations today wait about 60 years from the time of planting to cut the trees down again, quoting that that’s enough time for the ecosystem to balancing back out again, and it’s a safe time to cut. But these trees should be living for thousands of years! THOUSANDS!! A 60 year old tree that we’re cutting down to use to build our houses is like chopping down babies. How can we be confused into thinking that any kind of logging is good for the earth?
In order for forests and our earth to become the fertile places they are, they need hundreds of years of growth with trees naturally falling down and decaying in a natural cycle to support the mycelia and countless other insects and creatures of the woodlands.
I’m chopping apart the earth to provide me luxuries that I’m not even sure I’ve understood if I want or the real repercussions to my consuming it.
Is my smartphone worth the loss of a thousand year cycle? This little plastic electronic thing that takes over 1000 years to decompose that I’ll be replacing in two years.
I guess I’m confused. Is there a balancing point?
I recently watched a video documenting the Inuit who are losing their way of life. The fish they survive on, the snow they depend on, the migration patterns they rely on… these fellow animals of the planet are losing their way of life not because man is reforming them, but because man has systematically caused their life sources to go extinct, to be no more.
And we know we’re doing this!
I justify this progress to (read: pacify) myself looking on eBay for solar cells or second hand camera gear thinking I’m going sustainable. Am I though? Isn’t it still the same rage of consumption just with a different sticker on it? Why do I need my solar powered pocket warmers, and USB reading lamp?
I guess what’s most confusing me about the whole situation is that if I do acknowledge that this is a very urgent problem I need to face, how do I face it?
Is the answer to just walk away? Walk into a forest with a piece of rope and a mushroom identification book? Or do I try and shift human thought like a digital buddha?
I don’t like the idea of giving up. I do like the idea of a plan.
The most overwhelming thought for me right now is that too much change is still not enough.