Friday, 14 May 2010

Gloom or green?

It's funny how clicking on a link on the Internet often brings you into a thought process or place that you wouldn't have discovered otherwise.

I've often been thought of as a rather left-wing hippy, a bit odd, with ideas that people just laugh at. In my youth I used to dream of being part of an eco-friendly community where we grew our own food, made our own clothes & needed little of the economies of the outside world to survive. A pipe dream that a few people followed, but many couldn't sustain ending up with infighting & disillusion. Many years ago when I said that the green movement was right, that we should all consider what we were doing to this planet we live on & think carefully about how we live our lives, some people thought I was more than a bit odd. Well now it seems that many other people also think much like me, that rampant consumerism & greed is just destroying the world around us & not putting anything like enough back to sustain the future. A ridiculous thought many of you might say, but when I look around at the way we simply discard so much in our lives, is it?

How many people, especially women, think that a good day out is one spent shopping at the big retail outlets, then throwing away very quickly the goods they've bought? They look at me as if I've got 2 heads when I say that this has to be one of the most mind numbing & boring things that I could do with my time, & can't understand that I'd rather be close to home or at home creating something, whether that's by my own hands or being taught a skill by someone with more knowledge than I have. The ancient ways of passing on knowledge in a local arena of some sort, is something that brings far more joy to my heart than sitting drinking coffee in a soulless coffee shop that belongs to a chain of such around the world, even if they do expound their 'Faitrade' products. OK some of the clothes end up in the local charity shop & they do their bit for the recycling of goods, but the amount of it that gets thrown away is criminal.

All the recycling that I used to do & got laughed at for doing is, I'm pleased to say, now taken as far nearer the norm than it was even 5 years ago & family & friends who just didn't bother at all, are now doing it mostly without a second thought, sorting household waste into it's correct disposal bins & boxes.

So I was delighted to read about The Dark Mountain Project. Many people will say it's a load of nonsense & much too far fetched & of course mankind will find ways of getting round losing natural resources, but how long will that take? Yes I enjoy living in the modern world, having heat & light that are relatively easy to come by, modern drugs which will certainly give me as an individual a healthier and probably longer life, the Internet, a car & all the other things that we modern humans living in a Westernised society regard as the norm, but I do wonder at the cost of these things. Will ancient skills be totally lost, will there be enough people interested in keeping them alive so that when we no longer have the oil, coal or any other form of power to drive the mighty engines of consumerism around the world. Will there be people who are interested enough to try the old skills that were used for centuries up until the Industrial Revolution, when we moved from relying on our own skills and the power of humans & animals, to the slow destruction of our world around us?

So I'll carry on learning old skills & hopefully will at some point be able to pass them on to others to sustain the circle. So that when the huge economies of the manufacturing world break down, there'll still be people who have the skill & knowledge to produce the yarn to make their own clothing, grown their own food & herbs and be able to live in some sort of comfort and aren't driven by a continuous need for ever higher profit.

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