I’m not supposed to be here. Well, I’m supposed to be here, at my desk. But I’m supposed to be over there, in my word processor, working on my proposal for a radio documentary on E.F. Schumacher and appropriate technologies. But man. Demoralized. Here I am, reading a book that was published the year I turned 1. The first chapter is about the economics of the industrial system, which treats all natural capital as income, externalizes its costs and claims them as profit, and perpetuates systems of poverty and oppression. 37 years on, what have we learned? I’m tired just thinking about this work, even though it’s what I’ve been working towards for the last 8 years of my life. I just want to lie down and take a nap. Possibly with a romance novel and a large scotch.
Most of the time, I try to steer clear of the structures in my writing. It is not that I don’t know that they are there; it is that I find them monolithic and overwhelming. “What can I do?” is a much easier question than, “What can we do to get all these other people to do something?” It feels like trying to gnaw down an oak tree. No. It is more like trying to gnaw down a whomping willow. Yet where would we be if George Monbiot, Paul Hawken, Vandana Shiva, Maude Barlow, and their colleagues had all taken to bed with hard spirits these last 20 years? (Well, probably in the same place, but we wouldn’t have to cover our ears and scream, “La la la la! I can’t hear you!” Wait… Maybe that would be better?)
When I catch myself wanting to keep hiding out, I have to remind myself: I don’t want David Suzuki standing out there on the front lines with his butt hanging out and nobody at his back (sorry for that image. Especially if you happen to be David Suzuki.) He’s been telling us for years that he can’t save us, only we can.
So. Here I go. Once more into the breach. Guess four years in the corner is long enough. Somebody give me some water and ring the bell…