Monday, January 24, 2011

The Height of Arrogance

Warning:  TWBAR (This will be a rant.)  And many, if not most, of you probably won't agree with me.  In fact, I may just get your hackles up.  I apologize ahead of time, but invite you to comment.

I've been stewing about an article ever since I read  it in the January 9, 2011 issue of The New York Times  It sticks in my craw.  To me, (even allowing for a little forgiveness for embedded hyperbole), I found the article to be totally appalling, disgusting, and unbelievably abusive of Mother Earth.  And, believe me, my ire wasn't because I--a poor country bumpkin--could not afford what was being sold.  No.  Even if I could, even given a free opportunity to do so, I would never, never, never, patronize any of the places listed,. 

The title of the article was "Ten Restaurants Worth a Plane Ride."  It was on the far right side (pun intended) of the Goggle News (which I only lightly patronize, not wanting to listen to any "news" which is not.(news)  Destinations included Spain, Lummi Island (in Washington State), Australia, London, France...and more.

I think what really gets to me is that anyone could even joke about using resources like this!  But this wasn't a joke and I find this to be not just remotely "off color," it's vile.  

You can read all the Wiki answers you want and be convinced that the airliner is "actually very fuel-efficient when you distribute the 36,000 gallons used per international flight distributed over the 500+ people  in the plane who are flying," Airline Fuel "Efficiency" but that's not the point. 

When are we going to start asking the question, "How can we justify such frivolous expenditures of  fuel?" Where did the word "conservation" go?  To patronize ten restaurants with a plane-ride, each?  Come on!

Even the "earth-friendly" among us seem to have developed permanent blind spots when it comes to burning fuel, driving long distances to visit relatives, flying long distances, without a hint of a thought for the importance of the mission, and the goudge that is being wrought on the earth as a result.  Does anyone question the need for dashing coast to coast for the weekend?  You know, we used to embrace a concept called "extended families."  Elders were a part of the family.  Children got the benefit of knowing grandma and grandpa....they were close.  

So, where are the jobs that would sustain a closeknit, extended family and keep them nearby?  What have we done?  Shouldn't we be asking these types of questions instead of accepting a mantra that chants "There aren't any jobs here"?  It used to be you could drive out into the flat country land not far from here, just over the mountain, and see lots of little, clean factories making all manner of products.  Cabinets, appliances, clothing... These provided jobs for the local people here in rural America.  You know where these jobs have gone?  Mexico, Viet Nam, China....and children now travel away to get a "meaningful" job. Comes the holidays and everyone wants to get home all at the same time.  Add a weather event to that and chaos ensues.

And then there are the business people who patently refuse to take full advantage of current technologies to exchange information, favoring "face-to-face" over saving energy, flaunting one's ability to do so, just because they can...justifying it by saying that seeing people "in person" is so much more "effective" than doing business via video conferencing.  And this is "progress?" 

Nowadays, people aren't "into" questioning the meaning of "progress" and "growth."  When they hear these terms daily as being something we're in pursuit OF, they automatically assume "progress" and "growth" to be a good thing.  But, it's not.  We've grown and "progressed"  and "competed" about as much as this planet can stand.  It's time to explore ways NOT to grow and to change the definition of the word "progress."  And "competitive" at what?  

If you take my book recommendation and go ahead and read Mike Nickerson's wonderful treatise, you will be surprised at the forces that are working "under the table" to thwart all efforts toward  sustainability, conservation, environmental protection... 

Remember the blizzard a few weeks back, right at Christmas?  Sure, naturally, flights were cancelled, schedules screwed up...It was a real mess.  I suspect some of you were caught up in it.  And people complained loudly that the airlines were somehow at fault.  You know who was at fault?  Everyone who chose to fly someplace all at the same time. Like trying to jam a tennis ball down a garden hose.   I know, I know...!  I'm going to take a hit for this....but people, we can't keep doing this stuff.  We need to live closer to our relatives, start putting together communities, finding/making work close to home,  and stop flying and driving like maniacs, spending fuel wantonly, just to get to some destination at the screaming last minute before some market-made holiday.  It's really, really stupid.  And it's all part of the same psyche that never stops to ask the question, "Why am I doing this?"  and more importantly, "What could I do instead?"

"Ten Restaurants Worth a Plane Ride?"  Oh, come on! 

Call me a  Scrooge, but get the book entitled Life, Money and Illusion, subtitled, "Living on earth as if we want to stay"  and start your read that will take you on a journey of discovering wonderful alternatives to this madness.  It's by a Canadian, Mike Nickerson.  It's his second edition, so somebody's read it!  You can buy it off of Amazon for $8.85 new (or $8.50 used).  Once you've read it, pass it on to your library.  And spread the world.  It's incredibly revealing, covering multiple perspectives on sustainability, politics, economics, and all manner of issues connected with whether or not we can ever grow a "sustainable" future.  MM and I have been reading it aloud, discussing as we go....and I haven't found a more far-reaching (and interesting to read--lively, throught-provoking, ambitious) work on this vital topic.

And one last thought for the day:  if you missed the  PBS program "Nature" last night, try to catch it today or this evening if you can.  It featured Birds of you still another reason to contemplate what life would (will?) be like, without them....and to compare the ten restaurants that are "worth a plane ride" to the irridescent feathers and the exotic dances of the Birds of Paradise.

From the restaurant (worth every penny of a walk to the oven) of Chez MM JOTOLR


  1. I only came upon this blog because I have a "google alert" on Mike Nickerson and his book.
    His book is the best explanation on where we are going and why and how we are manipulated, yet he never rants, rages, name calls or denigrates anyone...His book has been read by many..I consider it to be one of the few that has changed my life.
    To the author above (ya you the ranter) you are 100% correct.
    Read the book, think for yourself, change your habits and become a matriarch or patriarch overnight and guide your family through a very interesting future.Respect the seven generations back and the seven generations forward.
    Thank you for your blog, I'm glad I've found it.
    Mary Jane

  2. Ordering the book now, Elora. Good rant.

  3. Hi Elora:

    Well said...and thanks for the book tip. I will definitely check it out. You hit on many important points in your post, all of which I agree with. I think one thing that more people need to do is to pursue and enjoy activities that are not part of the marketplace, activities such as reading a book aloud and discussing it (like you and MM), gardening, photography, walking, family time, writing, relaxing, etc. Instead, folks are marketed to and manipulated into thinking that they have to travel somewhere else to have a good time, the height of arrogance being a plane ride to a restaurant in another state or country as you pointed out. Sadly, there are many people who think this is the good life.

  4. Elora -- I found the key words on your post was, "NOT TO GROW." I feel this is the most important factor to saving our planet. And at the top of this list of what "not to grow" is the population. This is fundamental. -- barbara

  5. Thank you so much, Anonymous, for your comment. We are just now finishing up the last fifteen pages. The scope of Mike Nickerson's exploration on this topic is nothing short of phenomenal. As you say, he's very gentle in his assessments and takes you "by the hand" to get us beyond the same-old, same-old methodologies of the past. He's kind, but nonetheless is sounding the alarm. Again, thank you, and welcome! Hope you come back to visit again!

    So glad you are getting the book, Vicki. Please keep us updated as you read!

    Witch of Stitches, thank you! And thank you, too, for stopping by!

    Thomas, thanks for the thumbs up! In response to your blogpost a couple days back, I wanted to say: Carpooling is a great topic and a great way to shrink your carbon footprint! Way back when I was a young 'un, my Dad was carpooling with a bunch of guys who lived in our neighborhood and all worked at the Bremerton Naval Shipyard. A few of the faces changed from time to time if circumstances for individuals changed. But the group remained largely the same for years. The car was always full, with three in the back and two (including driver) in the front. It saved fuel and money. Great way to go!

    Regarding finding entertainment at home, I guess MM and I have turned what most people call "work" (ugh!) into "entertainment" in, "work is its own reward!" Truly, we never lack for something to do here on the farm, but what keeps us busy is what most would deem (disdainfully) "work." Of course, we have our "toys" as mentioned. Right now,, I could ennumerate all the items that entertain me, right here: I have a puzzle going, I am writing a novel; my accordion and piano give me lots of pleasure; I have the blog, which demands both writing and photography; hand-spinning, knitting and general fiber arts; ...the beat goes on! MM's passion is exploring topics on the Internet, reading, managing the livestock over winter, ordering garden seeds...I can't imagine wanting to leave to find "happiness." And I LOVE winter. Thanks so much for visiting!

    Barbara, You're so right! We can't keep doing what we're doing without severe consequences! It's past time that we need to consider and act upon the ramifications of advocating continual growth. Completely outmoded in today's world of shrinking resources that are vital to life on earth, including water. Thank you for your input!

    Again, everyone, I so appreciate your taking time to share your thoughts.