It’s kind of interesting watching the world begin to adjust to what has been obvious and inevitable for decades. We knew things were all messed up. Is this the adjustment period?
We knew climate was changing, pollution was poisoning, species were dying and things were just generally ‘getting out of whack’. We knew about the environmental side in our heads ever since Silent Spring (Rachel Carson) in the 60’s. But, environmental degradation is slow. It was business as usual for 99.99% of us and complete and total denial for the so-called leaders. Oddly, poisoned environments didn’t alert us.
Climate and environment is NOT as big as their job or the stock market to many urban people. It just isn’t. Out of sight, out of their ever-lovin’ minds. Things are changing on that score, however. Even Gordon Gekko and Bubba think Green sometimes now.
I remember distinctly when my first conscious thought of the environment occurred to me (although there must have been many hints and clear messages previous to that, they simply did not ‘click’ until then.) It was back in the 80’s for me. I was in school. They did a diagram on the amount of water in the Ogallala aquifer, the underground body of water that serves and supports a large portion of the US. The news item reported that it was being depleted. Seems the depletion rate has only increased since then. The Ogallala is drying up. Takes 6000 years to fill up.
But that wasn’t news for most people. Not real OJ Simpson-in-a-Bronco NEWS. There were also the threats of species extinction from the Vancouver Island marmot to the spotted owl, from the Monarch butterfly to wild salmon, herring, sea weed and the list is now endless…..but….that WASN’T news, either. NOT REALLY. We had TV. Soon we would have the Kardashians. Pop news was becoming celebrity. Real news was becoming cerebral. They are different.
And, back then, Sally and I moved next door to Bob Hunter and watched GreenPeace hatch in real time.
‘Course, I do not measure my life by the amount of water underground or the number of owls in the trees either but it was all a bit of a starting point for me. A slightly different consciousness started back then. I started to watch for ‘indicators’, ‘trends’, ‘signs’. I looked for other sources of information. All of them, of course, had to have some ‘personal perspective’ component otherwise I wouldn’t have noticed. I was busy, too.
I also read, of course. I listened, too. But, to be honest, it kind of has to hit me personally to really sink in. Learning is good – but experiencing, feeling, seeing at a visceral level is better. I am ‘getting a message’ now and it is not just regurgitated hysteria from amphibian watchers or butterfly counters or pollution measurers. But, of course, they are absolutely right. Things are dying. In great numbers.
I won’t bore you with a litany of natural disasters that have been observed just from living out here but, suffice to say, nature is suffering. There is less and less of more and more. And what is left is out of whack.
But it isn’t just about birds, bees and bull kelp. Some of it is obvious and of interest to all but the naturally disengaged and the truly stupid. YOU know this. YOU saw it, too. Economics went weird over the last fifteen years or so…..
I remember driving to Mexico in the fall of 2006. We drove through California and saw great swathes of houses (ticky-tacky) spreading like a blight across the inhospitable dessert. In itself, that is not any more insane than building anywhere inhospitable but the prices were also INSANE!!! They were being advertised in 2006 for ‘starting at’ $499,000 (Californian minimum wage was, I believe, five dollars an hour). Close to one hundred miles from any town, crap houses in the dessert were (presumably) selling for way, way more than anyone could possibly afford – especially in the numbers being built. I did the math in my head. I did the amortization in my head. I did the driving to and from work in my head. “Sal. This is insane. Mark my words. THIS IS INSANE. Something is wrong with the system. This does not compute. This is a housing boom destined to fail BIG time.”
And, of course, the bank’s sub-prime debacle of 2007/2008 played out and almost brought that ‘which was too big to fail’ to it’s knees. But it was plain to see. It was right in front of us as we drove past. Okay, okay . . . I did not know sub-prime from tranches, credit default swaps from CDOs. I didn’t know the details, the jargon, the industry and the big government LIES but ………..that it was all adding up to a BIGGER LIE – that was clear to anyone.
BIG LIES show up if you open your eyes wide enough.
Here’s another one…..and this is the main one (personal level) for me, really…..a few years ago, I could buy an inverter generator for less than a nice dinner out with Sally at a fancy place (almost still can). THAT was truly crazy. Hard, metal, complicated, high tech stuff for the same price as a dinner? STUFF was coming in from CHINA so cheap that it seemed like a huge ‘proportional value’ mistake was being made on their part.
Hell, you could get crap from China shipped free that cost one-fifth what a similar North American made product cost and the shipping itself, within our continent, was more than the price of the Chinese product! My sense of value was turned on it’s head. ‘How does that make any sense?’
The system was broke.
The system is broke.
AND (it finally caught up with us) we broke the environment. We broke the climate. We broke the economy and, unless I am guessing wrong, we broke democracy a long time ago, too. In many ways, it is currently a free-fall free-for-all, dystopian system that, while it is all still connected, is also currently rapidly disconnecting. See Trump dissemble. See Trump dismantle. See Trump destroy.
See the confused and angry masses………….
We’re in a serious adjustment phase.