While I normally don’t think much of Earth Day any given year, I decided to put fingers to buttons and give it a good considering. This is free form writing. Much of it has been formed in the last 5 or 6 years after I started my health journey.
These are just my opinions, so you are free to disagree in part or in full. Constructive discussion is appreciated though if anyone reads this babble, I would be surprised. Let us start the ranting.
Table of Contents
Population and its Detractors
It is heralded as the beginning of the modern environmental movement. A movement, that like any other, has flaws and detractors though, in general, very many of those that walk the Earth consider it a great thing.
I am definitely one of them though I have some very big issues with it.
Prehistory and history are about Humankind’s progress thru civilization, what some might call its “uplifting” from the primitive state. Civilization is a loose term these days but original comes from the Latin civilis (“civil”), related to civis (“citizen”) and civitas (“city”). It basically means, person of the city.
Cities in one form or another on this planet almost always have a impact on the environment around it, regardless of how sustainable they actually are. This is because they are stationary and cannot move to greener pastures once the grass is all consumed. That grass being a large multitude of resources that seem to be easily under-managed over the centuries as one generation passes its’ wants and needs to the next.
Personally, I do not believe civilized sustainability can exist in a world that promotes unhindered reproduction as a RIGHT of mankind.
This is where many people would begin to stop reading or listening to me. Advising people that I do not believe they necessarily should have the right to have children is like shooting yourself in the foot before running a marathon. It really gets you nowhere. Once a person thinks you hate children (not what I said) and that you would prevent them from having them if you could, everything else becomes null and void.
This is partly (though I would say the main reason) why we are in the predicament we are in concerning the degradation of our home world.
All I will say is that population must be considered if you wish to counter what is being done.
Currently, it is not viewed as something that has to be changed. It is simple tolerated.
We know it is not going to get any easier as it climbs but very little in the way of population control is espoused by ANYONE. Instead, we just watch the population clock as it steadily climbs to 9 billion humans in 2050 hoping that one day it will level out.
Since we already have too many people at over 7 billion, leveling out above that becomes a mote point when you want to reduce the human impact on the planet.
Western societies belief that our culture should spread and be embraced in every corner of the world is a fallacy. Why we would want that is beyond me! The repercussions of such action is clear; billions of people that currently still offset our huge amount of resource use will now be joining us in that use. Hooray!
Clearly we all win when everyone wins…except not.
Who cares about Earth Day anyway?
Earth Day was never something I celebrated or even really noticed in the past.
As a child, the call for recycling and beach cleanups and what have you seemed like a good thing at first. Then I started to realize even with all the children celebrating Earth Day once a year, it was only building a tiny wall of sand in front of a very big wave.
To me, it become a gesture of the lamest sort because no one truly cared. If they did, wouldn’t Earth Day be a daily thing? I mean one day out of the year to care about your impact on the ecology you live surrounded by seems a bit ridiculous.
Now I am older, more foolish yet more experienced then ever. I can now speak to its major limitations that are hard to reckon with.
Being as it grew out of a society that uses the most resources on the planet, it will forever hold many of that societies views. This will ultimately limit what can be achieved thru it and its offshoot, modern environmentalism.
My problem with modern environmentalism is that it wants to save the planet while still promoting the lifestyle we all enjoy.
Yes, I enjoy a life-style I do not particular look fondly on. Hypocritical, certainly, however knowing how slow and difficult it can be to even change your health for the better, I am just glad I am trying to switch things up where I can concerning this area.
Living in the city or depending on the city means we are slaves to civilization of a sort. We are domesticated humans, the cattle at the feedlot where our conglomerated Western Societies fatten us up for our capitol (work), to keep themselves sustained and growing.
Always reminds me of cancer for some reason (Matrix anyone?)…
Sure, there are those that cut off ties and abandon everything for wild living, but they are very few and far between. Would I love to do it? Absofuckinglutely…for a short time that is. Long term? No, not at all.
Why? Because that life is difficult, mostly because none of us are born into it. If we had been, it would be different. I am now thinking of the many whites kidnapped as children by Native Americans who were raised as such that vehemently opposed reintegration back into white society.
Was life rough for them with the Natives? Yeah, but it had a joy and meaning we cannot even comprehend while we reside in the long shadow cast by civilizations mighty being.
Even for those that are born into cultures that enjoy a balanced relationship with the natural world around it, solo life is pretty much none-existent. In fact, solo life seems to be a modern phenomenon all its own.
We are social animals after all.
It’s in our vary DNA to want to be around others. Living solo can be achieved and life enjoyed, sure, but for most people it would be anything but enjoyable over the long-term, simple because they are without human companionship of any kind.
In fact, it was a death sentence back in the day and is still used as one of the most terrible punishments we can inflect on each other in the form of solitary confinement.
So no, that is not a viable option, even for some hypocritical complainer like me…
How to Change Things for Real
Recycling and taking less showers can only do so much per individual. While I practice both and the other similar small things we can do as individuals, it simple does not make a big enough difference.
In fact, these acts can give us a false sense that we as individuals are doing enough to protect the environment! This is the real danger that is modern environmentalism.
Driving an electric car does not allow you to wash your hands of guilt. You still pollute and the creation of that car is heinous in what it took to make it energy wise. Certainly all that stuff helps to a degree but it is too little for a worldwide problem that has developed so far.
What can be Done?
One thing I really despise is when people alert us to a problem and then provide no solutions. Complainers these…
So what CAN you do to change things for the better environmentally that might have a much larger impact?
I’ve thought about this long and hard and over the course of a career learning how to be the healthiest person one can be, you begin to see where human health and ecosystem health have roots stretching deep into each other.
For me, the more I’ve studied health, the more self-sufficiency became the key to getting back to a deeper level of ancestral health. In this, I mean that cooking and growing your own foods, making your own ferments, hunting or raising your own meat or seafood, using your own human power for transportation, becoming adapted to your climate, etc., seems to produce the healthiest humans.
And you may have guessed it, many of these things mean you produce less waste, use less energy (in the form of transportation for food and refrigeration, etc.), drive less, use less western pharmaceuticals (a pollution in its own right), and on and on.
Being a healthy human also means your mental state is much sounder, meaning you are more likely to care about those around you and probably the broader world at large. That’s right, a healthier human is a more caring human. At least it seems that way to me in my travels through life.
If someone is depressed they don’t give a care where their food might come from or how much energy was used to get it to the market they buy from or even the fact that much of that produce at said market will be thrown out as waste (another huge topic to consider).
But if you are mentally sound, those landscape sunsets that are mind-blowingly beautiful and fill you with all kinds of fuzziness tend to make you care about the worlds ecosystems at large. After all, you want to see more of those don’t you?
So my Earth Day message to whoever has made it this far is to get cracking at that self-sufficiency game.
If anything, just do it for your own health and longevity. You don’t have to care that you will end up being a better model of sustainability. But having that goal in mind can certainly help your health game as well.
It can keep you on track even if you don’t feel like being good somedays.
And if we are serious for a minute, it does make you a better person. Whatever society you come from, caring about what you call your home, whether it be all the lands you can touch under the blue sky or a tiny apartment in Tokyo, is a universal human ethic. The land or water you live on is your only home and the only one you have ever lived in.
Fixing your health game and your Earth-honoring game takes work. To do this we all must take back sovereign control in as many areas of our lives as we sanely can.
Some areas to consider:
- Water – finding and sourcing your own water so you do not have to create waste buying water or hurting your health by drinking tap water. I don’t just mean from the water vending machine either. Even if its just a water store it supports the local economy, builds community and limits material waste.
- Growing Veggies and Fruits – Even a herb garden limits what has to be purchased at the store though growing your own food saves you so much more besides being the best way to get the most nutrition from vegetables and fruits.
- Hunting – Limits on hunting actually help many of the ecosystems where it is practiced. Seriously, its good for the environment, read up on it. Also, the healthiest meats on the planet are wild ones so obviously if you are going to eat meat, eat sustainably wild where possible.
- Fishing and other Sea-Harvesting – The only “hunting” our society does much of anymore. There is huge opportunities for acquiring food (with limits) by harvesting other things then fish though. Usually an easier thing to get into then hunting as well. Just be careful, our seas are running out of fish for real.
- Self-transportation; walking, biking, skateboards, scooters, etc. – Just move because we all sit longer then we should! Saves money and slows life down too.
- Getting clean air and sun – Nature makes you a better person in general and forces you to recognize that you do not own this place. You are not the center of it but you are a part of it.
- Climate-adaptation – By this I mean get use to hot, endure cold, play in the rain. All this stuff will make you not use air conditioners as much, heaters, etc…it also means you will shock your system and grow its ability to live in a compromised ecosystem. Hmmmm, whats going on in the news these days and for the foreseeable future that could benefit from that? Hint, hint…things are getting pretty hot lately.
- Growing edible insects – Hunting them too is very smart but moving yourself to a insect based diet helps EVERYBODY including your health.
- Raising Animals – Probably the hardest thing on here to do in my opinion. I am talking about raising animals for their byproducts or for food themselves. I own some rabbits (not for eating) and that can take a bunch of work but I think it pays off in an appreciation of the natural world. It also makes me watch wild rabbits like no other except perhaps a hunter.
- Learning practices like blacksmithing, ale making, butchering, herbalism, etc. – This is a big one and really makes life enjoyable. Call them what you will, these hobbies make you less dependent on corporations for all things material. Pick some, master them then learn more.
- Reading – This is probably the best way to self-sufficiency in my opinion. Definitely, it is a staple of civilization but since we have become dumb downed by our switch to agriculture dependence and lost our rich old oral traditions, this is what we have to work with. If you don’t read as a hobby (and I mean actual books!), it is going to be a lot harder to become sustainable in this life.
If I missed any, let me know. Certainly there is other options to becoming a self-sustaining responsible person.
For those wondering about technology as a savior to environment issues, it just is not sustainable too me. I mentioned it briefly already. Clearly, right now it IS the problem with why things are the way things are in a degraded world. People will wash their hands of dirt with it yet it is the cause and continues to be the cause of much of the pollution in the world.
Certainly it is not the devil. It is a tool and we humans have used tools to create some amazing things and save our butts in many situations.
But to rely on it in the face of great tragedy…that is where I see our potential downfall.
Happy Earth Day to you all my fellow planet destroyers! 😉