“Living simply is a good thing to do. Sadly, it in no way stops this culture from killing the planet. In no way is it a sufficient response to this culture’s destructiveness. In no way is it substitute for actively and effectively resisting actions and policies that harm our(and others) habitat.” Derrick Jensen and Aric McBay~What We Leave Behind — 2009
Sunday — The Individual Things We can Do
Simple Things To Save Earth
I want to kick off Earth Week today with some things each of us can do, our small part, to help our ailing Mother, Earth and all her children, including, of course, us.
Thursday April 22nd, 2021, is the 51st anniversary of the first Earth Day way back in 1970. I was in the 10th grade in high school. On that special day class was suspended for the first teach-in ever, as far as I know, and maybe the last one too. So on that day instead of class we had a number of speakers at the school, environmentalists, to give talks on various aspects imperiling Earth. We had to attend at least four to get credit for that day.
I paid attention. I went to one on overpopulation, what is stressing all systems the most is humanity itself, living in the midst of industrial civilization. Since 1970 the population has more than doubled with it at 3.7B in ’70. Since I was born in 1954, pop, 2.7B, the population has almost tripled. And if I make it three more years it will have tripled in my lifetime. This to me is the biggest threat facing our existence. There are simply too many people on Earth to be sustainable. It’s called overshoot in biological terms. A crash is sure to come. How bad is the only question.
Limit the number of children you produce. If you don’t have any that’s the single biggest personal thing one can do to help mitigate the damage this industrial culture is doing to Earth. Or have just one per two people. We do need a few. I made the choice in about 1973 to not have any children, I didn’t ever want any anyway so the decision was easy. I’ve seen others within five years, give or take, of my generation, that got vasectomies in their early twenties. I’m almost certain there was narrow window that were educated about the ecological perils of overpopulation, global warming — now termed climate change — pollution, and toxification. I’m almost certain the energy corporations worked hard to change the public, and most likely, the private, school’s curricula. Hence the controversy we’ve all head about for over 10 years. There was no controversy back in 1970, in fact there was no controversy after the First World War. Energy corporations hired the same PR firms that spread the controversy about cigarettes in the 60’s and beyond.They did a good job too. I got lung cancer and we have idiotic politicians carrying snowballs into Congress and asking, “what global warming?”, as asked by Senator James Inhofe.
People will scream about this but the numbers don’t lie. By best estimates the Earth was overpopulated when I was born. If world population is held under 2B, humans can live for a long while into the future. Unfortunately we don’t have a wayback machine to go back to 1900 and change the way industrial civilization is carried out. That ship sailed about the same time as the Titanic. And civilization now is headed towards a huge iceberg. How many lifeboats that work and how many people saved, if any, is the main question we face on the 51st Earth Day this week.
Limit your travel. Last year during the lock downs air in major cities was clearer that it had been for years. Many citizens had never seen air so clear. Instead of flying somewhere stay closer to home on vacations or holiday. Plan you trips in your car. Use strategy. When shopping or marketing plan ahead. Maybe go to Target for needed items 1st, then stop at the supermarket on your way home. Actually pledge to park your car(s) for one day a week and stick to it. I haven’t had a car since I totaled mine in 2010. I may get one soon, when my Dad’s house sells, but I’ll use it very sparingly. You’ll save some money along the way as well. Save it for when times get tough as they most assuredly will.
Ride a bicycle. I had several back in the 90’s. I’d had ridden it to work if there was a way to clean up before getting back into a hot kitchen after a sweaty. I did ride it to kitchen meetings if it was on my day off. I was a professional cook my whole career. Walk. I used to hike in the mountains before smoking got the best of me. I’d walk all the time, especially if my truck was broken down back in the early 2000’s. I could walk to work in about 40 minutes, a hill both ways, to and fro, a big one at that.
OMG! I’m a single man with a kitty in a small pad. I generate a tremendous amount of trash. Most of it is from the food I buy and the other odd boxes I get every month mostly from my Amazon purchases. Books, cat food, a tapestry for my new recliner, etc. It overwhelms me. I’m now disabled from years of heavily smoking cigarettes; COPD, and a partial removal of my left lung from lung cancer leaves me breathless just walking with my O2 tank over my shoulder.. So I have trouble getting it all to the dumpster. I now have a man that will help me with it. One man, me, my cat, and tons of trash.
Just remember this, if we can save just a little waste today it will pay dividends in the future. Lastly. We don’t throw trash away, we pay to have it moved to a landfill, as here in Albuquerque, or incinerated elsewhere. It still stays here on Earth, somewhere.
Find ways to reduce your power consumption. Most things I use today consume far less electric power that even 50 years ago as I was finishing high school in ’72. My TV is 22 volts, and uses, incredibly,17 watts(an hour). Back in 1970 as solid state TV’s were first coming into to being they used about 500–600 watts. The all tube TV’s used even more. I now have all LED’s in my personal lights. The stupid kitchen ones, as included with the pad, are halogen. They must use a lot of juice because I burned the shit out of my fingers when adjusting one when it was on. My tough fingers from cooking days have reverted back to soft, easily burned skin. Just beware of what you do use. Find a few ways to reduce. Save some bread along the way, tough times coming, ya know.
I was up early so I’m getting tired. I wanted to kick off Earth Week with a few individual things we, as individuals, can do to give Earth a break. If I had my way I’d ban all private jets. They use an incredible amount of fuel to move a few rich assholes to wherever. I’d do away with cruise ships entirely. A barbaric abomination. They are toxic to the oceans. They burn some of the dirtiest fuel called bunker fuel. They kill whales, my oceanic friends. Hotels on water? Go to one on land instead and walk around some. Meet the locals, most are very nice if you’re kind as well.
I’ll have another essay tomorrow. It will be another aspect of what this culture’s industrial civilization is doing to Earth and her children. And trust me, there’s a whole lot that’s murdering life on our only, beautiful home. Our culture is toxic. Murderous.
I was going to write about violence after watching some of the morning news shows. They were all about gun violence. The question Chuck Todd failed to ask? Is what prompts someone to resort to such measures as killing fellow humans in the first place? Guns are just the tools used to carry out their suicidal mission. That’s my #1 question, why? That’s never answered. They just want to remove one of the tools used to do so. The murders will continue regardless. Albuquerque murder rate is higher this year than the last ten, for example.
There’s a movie; “We Need to Talk About Kevin”, 2011. A sociopathic teen, named Kevin, goes to a school, chains the doors shut to a gym, and uses a bow and arrows to murder some fellow students. Same violence, different tool. So if one’s bent on mass murder there are other ways to accomplish the mission besides guns. It’s a good movie if your streaming service has it in the rotation. A slow boil type of thriller.
Maybe it’s the overpopulation with which I opened up this essay with. In school we learned what overpopulated animals do. They get aggressive. They stop caring. They become overly competitive. It’s just what I see happening out in the world today. Road rage. Cops killing unarmed citizens, mostly of color. Bribing colleges to get privileged kids with lousy grades into school. Debt from birth on. Really? When one is born now they owe the government over a 100G’s. On and on. It’s time to scale it all back.
Lastly. Be kind to one another. It’s tough sometimes on overcrowded streets, or in supermarkets filled with squalling kids. Step back and relax a bit, You just might enjoy a beautiful day after all. We live on the best planet planet in Universe, Earth. Respect her and she will provide for all. Peace, The Ol’ Hippy
Edit: Since I started writing the world population has increased by 23,000 people.