My recent absence is understandable. I am the proud father of a four week old girl. As well as this, I, almost single-handedly moved us from Adelaide to Melbourne two weeks ago. My wife unfortunately had a difficult labour, “ending” in with a caesarean. Ending being of course inaccurate as she is still recovering.
Sending them away by plane only to return home to pack it entirely up into the back of a truck and the following day, drive nine hours only to unload it, rebuild a house before starting a new role is a lot to do, but for the two of them, I would do it again and again.
More importantly, while it’s not beneficial to writing, it was for thinking. The last month has given me so much fuel for thought that I find it hard to articulate one thought concisely through a tangle of others. The joys, the strain, the despair as well as the glowing horizon of new adventure, experience and development have all greeted me.
A tiny little face, emotionless in the deepest of sleeps in the security of her father’s arms. A beautiful woman whom recently endured unimaginable pain and confusion looking upon you with nothing but love and gratitude for all you are and do (which, conversely, seems so insignificant when compared to all you have witnessed her overcome in the recent weeks). Three lives, shared and independent, packaged and stuffed into a truck. Familiarity replaced with opportunity. My head is full.
However, what returns to me time and time again is nothing unique or even an idea I formulated myself, yet it is one of the initial points that originally drew me to blogging in the first place.
Growth economies are unsustainable with finite resources or where resources have a limited regeneration rate. It isn’t rocket science.
Yet we persist endless towards this delusion, unquestioning as so many are about any given faith. “Consumer confidence” is surely mentioned in any dedicated news broadcast as it’s so essential for local and global markets. If we don’t spend, we all will fall into the chasm of recession.
What hits me harder than ever before is the fact that we have no right to greedily take up all available resources. If you were stuck on a remote island with a handful of people with enough food and water to support the team for a week, you would have no right to gorge on that supply with the view that, perhaps that will increase yours odds of survival over the others. Equally, it would be unethical to cut down the last fruit baring tree for fire wood or to consume all the eggs laid by a sea faring bird species.
Sure, history has many examples of such events, but this does not excuse them anymore than repeating war crimes. We all want the best of ourselves. We praise those whom stand up against a tyrant, the communities that band together in times of hardship and the purely altruistic acts that go above and beyond general human behaviour.
If anything, we should want to strive to mirror such people and acts and not the short-sighted selfishness of the greedy few. They don’t make for good role models.
Wealth is currently the result of converting resources into waste. The faster, the better. However, simple examples such as plastic, aluminium and paper recycling present a face smacking argument against such a mantra. Wealth comes really from creation. As we wear out easily acquired resources, we will become increasingly aware of another cheap supply of raw material; our own waste.
Will we acts like any given star which has no choice but to turn on the bigger atoms – the product of former fusion – when its primary supply of hydrogen and helium are depleted? Would we then learn from the current age of gluttony and attempt to achieve a stable and sustainable state or would we continue on, much like the star, and burn ourselves out of existence?
It disgusts me that my little baby girl is very likely to live in the age of rubbish mining. Perhaps I will too. The meagre wealth acquired from the first run through from our age will look as pitiful to them as the fuel guzzling machines of the mid-to-late twentieth century do to anyone whom cares to look into it.
Not only has the per capita rate of emissions increased over time, but so has the far more obvious waste production – just look at the size of the bins today for an average sized family compared to the tins of a couple generations ago. This, so we are told, is necessary or else it all goes bust.
This is demonstrably untrue. The truth is, we’re lazy. While we have the finest technology the world has even seen, we’re slowly losing the ability to prepare food, count in our heads or even write legibly. This isn’t simply because we’re dumber – but because certain systems and technologies have taken over these roles for us. The same can be said about the entire production line. We see only a small part of the production line from resource collection to the eventual rubbish heap. Making it cheaper also increases consumer interest and the turnover rate; feeding the economy.
We are a few generations divorced from patience. Instant gratification is the demand. Coupled with an unsustainable economic structure, this is a recipe for disaster.
Heading away from Adelaide, I had a moment just passed the first exist from the freeway into Murray Bridge where the road bends and you are rewarded with a grand sweeping view of the Murray flood plain, where I wanted to get out of the truck and leave it. This stuff that I was moving over 800km was, for the most part, a burden.
Sure, much of it is essential for comfortable exists, such as beds, clothes and crockery and my wife and I are fairly minimalistic, however, much of the stuff wouldn’t last long enough to be passed down. Not more than what I could have fit into my own car was of sentimental value. The rest will be wasted in some way, at some time, within my life time. While we both tend to sell or give away unwanted items, rather than wasting them, that only opens up the door for others to waste them into landfill on our behalf. Maybe when they are fairly decomposed and more difficult to work with, my grandchildren maybe old enough to happen upon them in a future mining site.
This is the legacy I am leaving that beautiful little person, asleep within my arms, as a parting gift in the making. I’m horrified with myself. We do not have the right to accelerate production, to increase turnover rate of goods solely for a quick dollar, for it was never our dollar to begin with (and, it’s very likely to go towards the next item for landfill anyway).