Okay, this is one of those blog entries which I will file in the „worldsaving“ category, a rather self-ironic label I have given to my do-gooder talks about what is wrong with our world and why. The label „worldsaving“ is in this case even more ironic than usual, though, because frankly, I don’t think we can … save the world that is.
There is no doubt in my mind (and actually hasn’t been for quite a few years now) that industrial civilisation has run its course and is about to end. I am not sure if it will fade out over a couple of decades or if it will just collapse spectacularily due to one or several major blows, but it is so crazy and unsustainable that the earth just cannot support it much longer.
Knowing that leaves me with a personal dilemma. Even though I don’t follow a specific religion and am also very suspicious about any kind of dogma or political agenda, I consider myself a person with high moral values. I really, honestly want to do the right thing. Supporting a system that is killint the planet is just something I don’t want to do. Not in the least.
During the past ten years or so I gradually downsized my life, step by step: smaller apartment, then flat sharing, getting rid of my car, changing from fulltime to part time job, consumind and travelling less etc. The main motivation behind this was (and still is) to do as little harm as possible. Because as much as I love modern electronic gadgets for example, I also know how much damage is done to the earth by digging up rare metals in open pit mining, how gruesome the working conditions in the Asian production facilities are and how much high toxic waste we are producing since those stupid things don’t last longer than a couple of years anyway. But I still have a computer, a netbook, a mobile phone, several mp3 players, a video camera, even an ebook reader. What on earth am I thinking?
Same goes for food, for clothing, for all my stuff. I work in a little store that sells sportswear and outdoor clothing. And I kind of like that job, even though it can be exhausting and doesn’t pay very well. But I like the customers, I like to sell stuff that, at least for a short while, seems to make them happy. So of course I don’t tell them about the sweatshops and the toxic chemicals … I even bought one of those stupid jackets myself, because it does keep off the rain quite nicely on my bike commute to work. I feel like such a hypocrit.
We do grow some food in our garden and at the moment it is a great joy to go out there every day and harvest a few sweet peas or some herbs or some swiss chart and add it to our meal. But it is more for adding flavor than for getting any real calories out of it. Our main source of sustenance is still the supermarket.
A short time before I went to Canada, I watched the movie „Into the Wild“ about that young man who, after having finished college, went on a soul searching trip around the US and seeing more and more clearly how fucked up the world is, wants to escape it all by trying a hunter-gatherer lifestyle in Alaska. He starved. I can so much relate to his motives. I have had similar thoughts about escape all my life. But hey, starving in Alaska is not really how I want to end up, either.
In one of my (unfinished an unpublished) novels, „Linda’s visions“, the young heroine starts to have visions about the end of the world as we know it and sets out to learn about the many problems our civilisation is facing today, from climate change to peak energy and mass extinction. Finally, she is so frustrated and angry that she herself brings the civilisation down in a massive terrorist attack, and in that way causing herself the situation she has seen in her vision at the beginning of her journey. It’s an option, but I am afraid, in real life I lack the leadership qualities one needs as a global terrorist. And I am still a bit fuzzy on the details of how to bring civilisation down in a single blow. Though I think attacking high voltage transformes could be a good start.
I am in a „one foot on the platform, one foot on the train“ kind of situation and it is tearing me apart.