Monday, January 24, 2011

Going Global

I’ve noticed that in the conversations we have been having in New Zealand that they revolve around international and global issues more often than my conversations back in the states. Back home I find that our conversations are more insular, talk more about our own personal issues, our state’s issues and our country’s issues, but less about world issues. Maybe that is my own personal experience. But the Kiwis I have met have such a firm grasp on U.S. history and political structure as well as that of many other countries, and seem to understand the interplay and impact of different governments and economic systems on one another. I do not currently share this wisdom. My mind is being opened to all sorts of ideas I am almost ashamed I was not aware of.

Last night we watched an incredible documentary about this Slovenian man who has swum all of the longest and most polluted rivers in the world to raise awareness about global warming, rainforest deforestation, pollution, and other environmental issues. This movie captured his trek down the entire Amazon River from Peru to Brazil, which took him approximately 70 days. His goal was to raise awareness about the enormous amount of precious rainforest trees that have been cut down to make such things like guitars and high end furniture, as well as the sweeping deforestation to accommodate increasing cattle farms to meet the demand for beef in Western nations. He was willing to risk death for this cause (there were many ways he could have died in the Amazon!) and did very well, but started going mad towards the end, saying he was entering the 4th dimension, etc. When he was finished he was in a catatonic state and could not complete all of the interviews and media performances he was hoping to in order to raise awareness of his journey and mission. At the end of the film, he seemed a defeated and depleted man, and it was a powerful image on screen. All that he did, all that he had accomplished going virtually unnoticed… I feel compelled to share this with all of you, please check out Martin and his work, what a unique and incredible man.

Working on an organic farm with very bright and engaging farmers teaches you many things. But the more I learn, the more I see and understand the devastating environmental destruction that is going on all over the world: polluted waterways from irresponsible animal farming and mining; massive doses of toxins in our foods and products that we consume; abuse and misuse of natural resources….. It is very hard not to get discouraged.

Once our understanding increases from ignorance to awareness of what we have actually done to Mother Earth (the one who has no voice) what then? There are incredible movements that are finally gaining momentum now to change our consumeristic and irresponsible ways, but is it too little too late? Can we all stop consuming way more than we need? Can we all live with less? Can we all become educated about why our behaviors are destroying the planet that we inhabit, the soil that feeds us, the water that hydrates us? But most importantly, can we all get to the point where we CARE about the fact that we are indeed destroying the very home we live in, and decide to DO something about it?

I have only recently come to a heightened awareness of these issues myself through watching these movies and this film, and reading this book as well as this one. I am so grateful for these filmmakers and writers. They have opened my mind and are changing my life. And Martin is no exception. Maybe him most of all. He sacrificed so much for so little, an honorable and outrageous man that inspires me to believe in the human race. In our ability to shift, change, grow, learn and adapt. I’m trying.

The major question on my mind in the last year or so has been relentless: What will I do for work? How can I be most fulfilled? What can I do that makes the most money for the least amount of work so I have more free time to pursue my creative endeavors? Now these questions seem somewhat silly to me and so self-absorbed. Maybe it is a knee-jerk reaction to all that I am experiencing. But I feel like I want to help with this global problem, I don’t know how yet, but that seems like all there is for me to do sometimes. How to change my behavior, and help others to change theirs. And how to find peace along the way so that the weight of the possible future we are creating for ourselves doesn’t bear down too hard and prevent us from trying. I know this all sounds very doomsday but it’s not. It is just the state of things.

Brian and I transplanted a large rhubarb patch yesterday. We prepared the soil with sheep manure, gypsum, blood and bone, reactive phosphate rock, and calcium/magnesium. We turned over the soil. We saw lots of wriggling worms. We dug out carefully at least 40 strong rhubarb plants. We planted them in 4 rows. We admired our work. We learned a lot. We respected and admired the importance of complex and living soil. Maybe it's is a start.

1 comment:

  1. Katie and Brian,

    We're keeping track of you with great delight. Your mom and Aunt Peg and I are heading south tomorrow, but we'll be on line most of the time

    Uncle Bob