Sunday, July 13, 2014

The Greenie's Not (For) Dozing

One day, back in the early 1990s when we were homesteading in the Australian bush, we went to town for supplies. Just before we headed into the hardware store for our latest unglamorous purchase of whatever it was we currently needed in our build-your-own-self-sufficient-mudbrick-house project, I noticed that we had parked immediately behind a very large and very full logging truck, to the back of which was affixed a sticker that said: "Fertilize the bush: 'doze in a greenie."

I remember hoping the cowardly hope that when the logger came back to his truck he would walk around the front of it rather than around the back of ours where the Greenpeace sticker was, in all its rainbow glory. Both vehicles were on a very steep hill, after all, and ours was an awful lot smaller than his.

I made light of it at the time but I do remember well the frisson of fear that I felt when I saw that sticker. Australia is a land of rough humour, to be sure, but there was some real hostility in that message. In fact even more of it than I had suspected, and steadily growing – as witness this blog post from a decade later:

Fortunately for us, the morning passed without incident. But I found myself remembering it  again today, when several friends posted a story on Facebook about ‘coal rolling’—a particularly unpleasant tactic the Neanderthal inhabitants of some nether regions of the USA are now using to intimidate anyone they suspect of being a ‘greenie,’ which they seem to think includes anyone whose politics might be significantly to the left of theirs.

Back then, when our dreams were new and shiny and we really did believe we could head off total environmental disaster by reducing the size of our own eco-footprint and encouraging others to do likewise, an incident like that one with the log truck caused only a small, temporary shadow over the day. Once we had driven out of town again we could even enjoy the humour of it. For deep down we still believed that commonsense and eco-awareness would eventually triumph over small-minded self-interest. After all, we could empathize with the plight of the loggers who felt their livelihood being threatened. Many of them had families, some with young children. We realized how hard it must be for them to see beyond that to the bigger picture and to understand that the health and welfare of any individual life form in an ecosystem, whether it be a logger’s newborn son or a newly-hatched sparrow, is only ever as good as the health and welfare of the whole ecosystem.

But back then we still believed that governments would see sense eventually, even if it took a while longer than we would have liked. In our naïveté we still believed they had the power to change things and that once the truth dawned on them and the laws of the land starting coming into line with the inexorable laws of Nature, as they surely would, everyone would rally round and work for the wellbeing of our planet and all would be well.


I wish I could still believe that. But the shadows that fall over my mornings nowadays –like this morning’s coal-rolling story—are darker and gloomier and last longer.

My way of dealing with them is no longer to rely on a bright dream of a revolution in human consciousness but to face firmly into a future that is adapted to deal with—and somehow to survive—a collapsing economy, a collapsing civilization. And to help save seeds for whatever post-industrial future there might be. And meanwhile, to keep loving and honouring this beautiful Earth. Because we don’t stop loving those we love, even when they are ailing. In fact, when they are ailing, our hearts open to them even wider than before. That can only ever be a Good Thing.

Even an elderly greenie is not willing to be 'dozed in. Neither is this one dozing. Her eyes are wide open and so is her heart. Her sleeves are still rolled up. Whatever the future is—and however much or little of it is left to her—she intends to be fully there for it.


Unknown said...

I like this post as it speaks from the heart and with elder wisdom!

Betty said...

I feel the same way, Marian. Just finished watching Fracknation, a very pro-fracking piece of propaganda that I'm afraid will make most people even more complacent about the future of the planet. Like you, I no longer believe I can change the world, but I can try to live in a way so not to make it worse for future generations.
My son has an interesting if tongue-in-cheek way of looking at things. "Aren't we lucky to be alive at a time when we can still experience some of the good stuff before it all ends?" Hmmm…

Pseko said...

I am always heartened by reading your posts Marian - especially this one - the subject has caused me much anxiety lately ... trying to balance idealism with reality.25283

Bob Rich said...

I am with you!
Found your post because I am looking for a pic to illustrate "Fertilise the bush: bulldoze a Greenie" because, believe it or not, East Gippsland Shire is switching to all renewables. Maybe the 2019 fires have burnt some sense into them?

Also, I see your name often on Greens Facebook pages. Keep up the good work!

Bob Rich