Sunday, April 24, 2005

homesickness and how to save the planet

Reading Dave Pollard's recent post had me feeling homesick. Dave lives on the Oak Ridge morraine which is very close to Newmarket, where I grew up in Southern Ontario. The photos posted were like having memories pulled out of my head and pasted up on the screen--especially the sunsets and those remarkable wild turkeys.

The post was about a neighbourhood getting together to learn more about the ecosystem in which they lived, how it had been damaged and what it might take to start repairing and renaturalizing it. A worthy endeavour.

Dave recounts well the kind of resistance that we encounter when we try to make even minor concessions/accomodations to the other inhabitants of the biospere. Concern for property values. Judgement about beauty/ugliness. Loss of status. Which made me wonder yet again how we are ever going to get on with the work of saving the planet and ourselves.

I'm feeling the pressure...the pressure of someone who's airtank is showing three minutes and who is still one hundred feet down...not feeling any pain right now, but when those three minutes are up a whole lot of bad things are going to start happening.

I guess Dave was feeling kind of the same, because a day later he posted this interesting creative piece...

I think maybe we all just need to start thinking about consumer culture as an addiction...I mean a real addiction...like booze or drugs or smoking. What if we took it that seriously? What if we created warning labels...like the surgeon general puts on cigarette packs? Imagine a trip to the store...you reach for a chocolate bar and see the faces of children forced or sold into slave labour camps in Ivory Coast who picked the beans...You go to a fast-food restaurant and find the food wrappers covered with pictures of species driven to extinction because of clear-cutting in the Brazilian rainforest...you go to gas up and see pictures of oil spills in Alaska or of broken and bleeding bodies, casualties of (take your pick) the Gulf War, Afghanistan, Iraq, Nigeria....

I don't know...do you think we would take it seriously then? Do you think we would get it and start making some real efforts at change? Or would we just get more numb and start using them as trading cards?....

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