Thursday, June 16, 2011

:: This Modern Life ::

Having some down-time in the last week since my operation, I've been thinking about big issues (trying not to, but you know my brain doesn't listen to me!), and reading articles like this one, and blog posts like this one. Sometimes with all the scary stuff going on, my husband and I just get to the point of thinking 'stuff it all, let's bunker down and prepare to survive'! That's not where our lives are at... yet! And yes, I go into this post knowing that I am part of the problem, wishing to be all solution, but knowing there is plenty about my choices & our lifestyle that isn't helping. Is this a negative post, with ranting, blaming, questioning or hypocrisy? No, it's a positive one (and hopefully not too 'ra,ra, aren't we all great' either), because despite the seemingly misdirected path the world has taken, we do have the intelligence, the innovation, the ingenuity to sort out the situations that we face now, and in the near future. Human civilisation might seem to be so out of whack, and the imbalances going on with our planet seem doom & gloom, but if we work together and also do our individual parts, can there be a positive future for us and the other creatures that live on Earth?

It may seem so hard, so overwhelming, and if you've been in this game for a while, you might be cynical and depressed, feeling like it's too much work for us individuals to do by ourselves. Even taking it from an individual level, and forming groups, or joining groups that are already established, thinking & hoping that group action could have a bigger impact... but feeling like there is little point when there is so few taking action, and so many who don't know or don't care. When there is so much wrong in the world, so much crime and anger and injustice, so much disconnect and depression. Well, you know what, a lot of you reading this blog right now, are already making choices and changes to your lifestyles, even in small ways. It might seem like it won't have enough of an impact, and it's a constant struggle against 'modern society' but think of it like this... it is a challenge, it can be hard work, because we are the pioneers of the new future.

So, modern, makes you think advanced, better, evolving. You might think the future is more of the same, but bigger, better! Yes, we have made huge advancements, like in medicine and medical technology, but does this mean the worlds population have access to basic healthcare? We can treat and cure all sorts of weird diseases, keep people alive on machines, replace body parts, improve appearances, and save the lives of people's loved ones... yet we can't manage to prevent lifestyle diseases, and worse, we still have children dying of diseases that we are preventable. Modern medicine can keep people alive, and allow us to live longer, but how does that help if the place we all live is in ruins?

We have made advancements in food production and distribution, sending flavours and food around the world, growing the food & restaurant industries, creating a plethora of famous chefs, cook books, reality cooking shows, and the idea that we can be (should be?) Masterchefs whenever we like, or our friends and family deem that we should be. Yet people are still dying of malnutrition and starvation, while we have enough money and resources to put into making pet food, to wasting massive amounts of food, and stupidly, importing out of season, tasteless, energy sucking 'fresh' food! It doesn't matter how much you impressed your friends with your cooking, if we don't have enough to eat!

Modern life for those of us in the 'developed' worlds goes beyond survival, beyond thriving even, and can go to frivilous, indulgent, ridiculous. I mean, we can come up with amazing marketing concepts, advertising & even 'clever' ideas like planned obsolesence, but we can't work out how to produce things without waste and impact. We can create incredible technology and do amazing things, but we can't think of the consequences (or we don't care to, I guess). When I think about the 'future' I see us going back to ways of living and being that we supposedly have advanced from... but in many ways, this civilisation we have created is backwards, it makes no sense, and sadly, I think we'll be forced to realise, this ain't working for us! We don't have to go backwards in time (we can't, of course!!) but we need to work out what can we learn from these 'golden years' we've been living, what technology and ingenuity can we keep, what is worth saving, what is worth fighting for? Is it cheap goods, and tasteless food? Is it cosmetic surgery and celebrity gossip? At what point did our perspectives and priorities get so fucked up?

Does it have to be like this?

No. People have been questioning it, and fighting it, and trying to make changes for quite a while now. I've just come along recently and realised I need to do something positive about it too. I am trying. My family and I are trying. Sometimes it seems a bit hopeless and you want to just avoid reading and knowing the state of the world. So, instead I try to focus on the doing, on the everyday things that make myself, my family (and the planet) healthy and happy... you can do it too!

Every organic carrot you grow is saying, it's good to work without chemicals. Every loaf of bread you make, is empowering yourself to feed your family. Every local farmer or producer you support, is showing that you appreciate and acknowledge what they do. Every time you buy Fair Trade, you are saying that people count, and they mean more than money. Every time you choose sustainable seafood, or organic meat, or no meat, you are making a change. Every hand made present, handsewn clothing and made-from-scratch meal is a statement! Every plan you fail to fulfill, and every mistake you make, are opportunities to learn. Every challenge you take on, every word you spread, every step you take in the right direction... it is making a difference. We just have to keep on believing it will, otherwise, what's the point? You can't take it all on by yourself, and you are not responsible for saving the world, but I believe we are the people who are deciding right now, how the future will look.