No one likes the preacher except for the congregation. Even some of them aren’t thrilled by his message. They’re the ones in the back who fall asleep once the sermon begins. I hope my observations and critiques haven’t become sanctimonious or banal for the congregation. If anyone likes to doze off during the sermon, waking only to the sound of other members of the flock laughing, well, we have no need for your counterfeit faith. Only the true believers need to read on. By now, you’re probably wondering what the hell I’m talking about. Me too.
At its root, the sermon I’m talking about is the call to localism, sustainable agriculture, a total revamp of this consumer culture that corrupts so many. But I’d rather not put a label on it. Once you give something a name it is subject to abuse and misrepresentation.
The idea though, speaking in broad terms, is a return to a community we have traded for convenience of freeways, email and cheap food. Not that any of these are inherently bad, but they’ve been taken to an extreme that shows a complete lack of respect for nature, of which humans are a part. I guess it’s easy to separate ourselves from nature. We don’t see where our food is raised. Barely any of us get our milk from a cow we own or eggs from the hen house out back. Those things are just products for our consumption. We don’t see the piles of melting electronics children dig through for precious metals, the whole time inhaling toxic chemicals.
All of this comes from a disconnect. Who cares if we blow the tops off mountains to get to a thin seam of coal to fire power plants to enrich uranium to make bombs intended to whip unGodly numbers of people from the earth with the push of a button. Not my problem. It produces jobs. Hooray! Twenty more jobs for one generation, nuclear winter for six generations! Genius! Plus, you know, a war helps the economy, so really, we should be thankful we can screw mountains with the dick of capitalism before its impotent.
It doesn’t matter that “[a]dult hospitalizations for chronic pulmonary disorders and hypertension are elevated as a function of county-level coal production, as are rates of mortality; lung cancer; and chronic heart, lung, and kidney disease. Health problems are for women and men, so effects are not simply a result of direct occupational exposure of predominantly male coal miners.” (1)
Lung cancer, chronic heart, lung and kidney disease. Everyone wins! Health insurance companies can charge more for their policies, doctors will certainly be kept in business prescribing medicines from big pharmaceutical. Coal miners and their families die quickly, and so there are more jobs for everyone, from the high school graduate to the college educated! That’s not mentioning that mountain raping destroys watersheds nature has carved over millions of years. So hydrological engineers will certainly have job security trying to rebuild those masterpieces.
“Stream creation typically involves building channels with morphologies similar to unaffected streams; however, because they are on or near valley fills [the place where the mining companies dump the decapitated heads of the mountains], the surrounding topography, vegetation, soils, hydrology, and water chemistry are fundamentally altered from the premining state. U.S. rules have considered stream creation a valid form of mitigation while acknowledging the lack of science documenting its efficacy.”(1)
At the risk of sounding banal, it’s all very Faustian. No one loves consumerism more than Lucifer. There’s a rumor that he’s about to dump America, for a hotter, younger China. I’m not sure about that though, you can never really believe what you read on a geocities Web site.
And where does this stem from, a lack of connection to nature, a lack of community with the Earth. I don’t even know if I should a lack of connection to nature, because people automatically, and incorrectly assume a dichotomy between nature and humanity. News flash, humans are part of nature, subject to its laws.
How would community correct this error? If I depend on my farmer neighbor for food, and she on me for repair of his machines, I would be a lot less likely to dump toxic metals in the stream she uses to water her oxen.
Fortunately I am not the only one with this attitude, and it seems these sentiment is growing. There is a growing contingency, especially in my generation, that isn’t satisfied with eating factor farmed chickens or buying products whose production is harmful to nature. I mentioned Maverick Farms yesterday. Today’s group of choice is “The Greenhorns.” It is a non-profit who is working on promoting farming to the younger generations. Something desperately needed when only about .001 percent of the US population are farmers under 35. I’m not saying being a farmer automatically makes you a promoter of community or the idea of localism, but it is a step in the right direction after a long sprint the other way.
I doubt if there exist today a more complete regimentation of the human mind than that accomplished by our … dream of sudden economic affluence. The saving grace of democracy is that we fastened this yoke upon our own necks, and we can cast it off when we want to, without severing the neck – Aldo Leopold
(1) Palmer, et al, Mountaintop Mining Consequences.