Undoing the Race for More, More, More

Is Mother Nature’s recent activity–flooding,tornadoes, tsunamis, earthquakes, volcanoes–explainable? Are there cycles of change regardless of what we humans do? Or have we industrialized humans done so much damage to the balance of nature that our Mother has to shake things up to get our attention? I’ve always leaned toward the second answer, but with the Gulf of Mexico oil-flood, I’m certain now.

Before the process of drilling for oil was ‘tamed,’ people used oil from whales to light their homes and workplaces. Whales almost became extinct. Along came electricity and the means to generate it and industry was born. There was great celebration and the race for accumulating wealth was off. No one thought to ask, “How will this race affect the planet, nature and us humans, our health and state of mind?”

But real industrial success began with World War II, which was the most important of causes, but there was no going back. And who wanted to? The production of weapons of war created massive wealth. The Allies were celebrating and helped to rebuild bombed-out Europe. After the war, life was all about taming more land, modernizing assembly line and construction methods, selling effectively (ads on newly invented television broadcasts), and creating business growth. And still, no one thought to ask, “How will this affect the planet, nature and us humans, our health and state of mind?”

And here we are—aware of all the damage we’ve done and continue to do, thanks to electricity and electronic communication. One important question is, ‘Can our country’s cash-strapped cities, counties and states afford to re-create new, mutually-supportive, simpler communities, and mass transit systems where none exist, to replace cars ?’ Would they want to do these things? Would suburbs be demolished or abandoned? And, if people couldn’t sell those suburban homes, how could they buy another?

Yes, I would love to own a home again someday and my car is twelve years old and unreliable for trips over thirty minutes. Can I become part of the change to heal our planet? I hope so, but I have only enough physical stamina to shower and dress every other day, and though this blog and my online friends are near to my heart, I pull hard on the energy I have to write at Notes Along the Path. Would any mutually-supportive community want disabled people as members?

Some people understand where we, as a country, are broken and how to heal, and they are certain we can change who we are and how we live—simplify into smaller homes with less stuff, live within close, more self-sustaining communities, and stop trashing the earth. I like this idea. I guess the people who understand will start the circle-communities and the idea will grow from there.


5 thoughts on “Undoing the Race for More, More, More

  1. Pam, thanks for this very concise assessment of where we’re at. I think that if we lived simpler lives closer together we would also take better care of each other. After all, it’s easier to not care when we never really have to interact with our neighbors because we spend most of our lives in cars and isolated homes. We’d be more tuned in to what each individual’s gifts are and could barter more. For example, some of the neighborhood kids could help you out with getting you food from the market in exchange for you giving the community writing lessons. Kind of the way it used to be, but we don’t need extended traditional families, we can do this within our chosen communities.

    • Wow, Sven. Your description of ‘community’ sounds so wonderful, like the Shire, home of the Hobbits. How relieved all people would be to live in a community like that.
      And I hadn’t thought of being a writing teacher–I guess I could do that now. Thanks for the encouragement.

  2. Definitely some great ideas. Now I won’t feel so bad that most of my family and friends live in huge homes and I live in a co-op apartment for seniors. Shall continue to downsize but still need to get more organized.

    • We humans may be evolving toward simpler, more connected lives. I think it’s good. You and John live in a small apartment but I’ll bet you have a lot more fun than your friends! And we all need to be more organized. Moving from Comstock to Pinesprings to the apartment, we gave away or donated about 75% of our stuff. It is freeing –and life turns out not to be about stuff; it’s about the people we love. Thanks, Anita. Love you.

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