As my family and I were stuck in Denver traffic the other day (nothing new) and I gazed out upon the wasteland of chain stores and restaurants, shopping malls, asphalt-encased surfaces and buttloads of vehicles, I couldn’t help but observe an emerging inkling of relief about this whole impending multi-crisis doom thing. So if the shit really does hit the fan and global warming combined with peak oil, lack of a sustainable food system, and our government’s adamant refusal to seek alternatives for the future basically end most of civilization, at least all of this ugliness will disappear as well. Hell, I may not be here to see it, but my soul will rest easy. God, I’ll be glad to see it all gone.
This is a new feeling for me. Mostly, I just walk around with a tinge of sadness about the planet going on without us and the possibility that my family and those I love will possibly be some of the ones who don’t make it because I can’t for the life of me figure out how to knit socks and my canning skills aren’t up to snuff.
What kind of society have we become where our whole existence is based upon buying things and living nearer to the places where we go to buy more things? Where we actually like everything the same – same restaurants in every town, same big box stores, same crap food on the shelf of every grocery store? The economy is in the pooper, but hey, I just gotta have that 102nd pair of shoes. Sorry, little sweat shop workers, but at least that 8 cents you made for the day is better than nothing. Hell, we may not have a planet to live on, but at least I’ll have enough clothes to make it through to armageddon.
Yet I have trouble reconciling this whole dichotomy of the evil shopper/consumer and the nice neighbor next door. So allow me to include myself with the rest of the wicked consumers. I’m no eco-saint. Sure, I try, but my efforts are mostly along the lines of “10 Great Things You Can Do to Save the Planet!” Reduce, Reuse, Recycle!. Use baking soda to clean your sink! Limit showers to 5 minutes! Hang your laundry on the clothesline! You get the idea. I’ve made a bit more effort than most of my neighbors with our “urban farm” and in keeping some food and water in storage, but in the end, we all buy our underwear at Target, folks.
After all I’ve learned, even if we green our lifestyles, trim back consumption and raise enough food to feed ourselves, the dark days are coming anyway. We’re just biding time and making some attempts at a smidge of a possibility of having a future, but unless there’s a cooperative government and a back-up infrastructure in place, things are likely to get pretty ugly.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m so depressed, I think I’ll go shopping…
I wish…I wish that we could have greener, more self-reliant, self-sustaining communities with local food systems in place and greener energy. I wish we could be more cooperative and willing to share resources and skills. I wish we had a community center where we could gather to sew and preserve food. I read about communities that do. There are even small groups here in Denver but they’re such a tiny segment that their outlook seems unlikely to infect the entire population. I guess everyone else must be too busy hanging out at Walmart.