Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Tirade No 1 - MONEY and Stuff

Chatting to people and watching what's happening around here on the UK South Coast it seems that the implications of Peak Oil etc etc etc and Impending Big Change are beginning to sink in, we're all noticing fuel and food prices rising ...

I hope my posts here show a simpler and more self-sufficient future may also be a lot of fun and more soul-satisfying too.

A FEW THOUGHTS ABOUT MONEY AND STUFF: Still the whole consumer-materialist-government machine is pounding relentlessly away at us apparently still wanting us to consume more and yet more - have you seen an advert telling you to STOP buying more stuff yet? Pretty much everything we buy/use/consume has an energy component - maybe it's making, buying, using, throwing away all the STUFF that has got us into the mess into the first place, maybe we shouldn't be thinking about Growth but about Shrink ??

Get a job! - that's a message that's thrust upon us by everyone - even Sponge Bob Squarepants - and not just get a job but get a mortgage, buy insurance, buy a car, get a pension ... and lets not forget about having a nice comfy velvet lined funeral plan ... and you need a job to get the money to get all that stuff.
I think Claire Moore's 1937 picture above "Factory/Industry" sums up the whole thing - look at the mother offering her baby up to the captains of industry - how much have we all sacrificed to the whole ghastly business? How much of it do we actually need? When did we buy into all this stuff? And who exactly is benefiting from it?
Maybe it's time to start working towards a world that doesn't centre around Money but to something else eg Cooperation? Simplicity? Pursuit of Happiness? Quality? Relocalisation? Self-sufficiency? Also let's think about what "success" might be in the future - maybe it won't be so much about high incomes and owning lots of stuff.

I've recently met people living very simply and cheaply in the UK with rents as low as £40 per week, living in the middle of gardens or rolling hills, not going to those ghastly supermarkets, not stressed up to the eyeballs, doing a few days work here and there, with plenty of time for gardening etc etc, eating plenty of their own fresh food - and all the happier and healthier for it. That seems like New Success to me.

ACCESS to LAND - I have a gut feeling that part of the key to a survivable future lies in allowing change in the way we use land - here is an extract from an inspirational article by a landowner, Sue Burke, who hopes to sell land to the Lammas organisation for their eco village:

....(I) saw in the local paper that a group called Lammas was looking for 200 acres which was exactly the acreage I needed to shift. And they had this truly eco friendly plan and lots of people to help make it happen. I’d felt a bit like a lone voice in the wilderness in the local farming scene preaching organics to people who saw the whole things as some insane hippie pipe dream. Especially when the local system is mostly based on one and a half men and large amounts of expensive machinery and fertiliser and chemical treatments for the resultant overcrowding of animals required to make such an expensive system financially viable.

The pain of watching the suffering of the dairy animals overfed so their feet hurt [something like gout] from a high protein diet to maximise milk production and the way the calves had to make do with a bucket of either milk powder or even at one point pre BSE, pig’s blood for a milk substitute, and then go on to a life like their mother producing milk at an udder- busting rate on a precarious health basis. How could the milk from that process be good food for anyone?

...anyone who has been farming “traditionally” goes into shock at the idea that a whole family could live on as few as ten acres when their methods don’t produce a living for their families off under three hundred acres. It’s unbelievable for them, but what they don’t understand is how radically the eco-life style differs from their own...


more ranting from me soon...

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