on what sustainability is not: holding on to something

maine woods

One might notice it's clear and cold in midcoast Maine, where Chris Cooper "takes to his woods and improves the land as he gains firewood against the inevitability of a winter yet to come."

(Cooper should know it's cold, too, in Kapaa-- a record-low 54F yesterday! heh)

Especially upon savoring Cooper's 'cabin door' essay, one notices who's talkin' from where (via commondreams).

(Or mebbe that's an impulse born in the Juneau woods of my small-kid times.)

For I, too, am remembering that "even at our lowest, most forlorn, most desperate, we lived better than millions do", as Cooper puts it.

Says Cooper, "if you lost a pile in the stock slide, if Bernie Madoff fleeced you, at least you had it to lose."

And when it is half gone, or even all gone, says Cooper, "you're still better off than the man or woman who has worked a lifetime for wages only-no pension, no insurance, probably no sick days, definitely no "personal" (tend your sick kid on your own time, lady!) days."

Cooper reminds us that "this world, this country, this community is full of persons who have raised their families and paid their bills and found joy and humor and hope and satisfaction in life on a fraction of the income and with none of the security recommended and enjoyed by the (all well-paid, well-protected) politicians and pollsters and publicists for the modern, Western lifestyle."

"If we are lucky, we will relearn what once we all knew.

There could be a great falling-away of the useless and the harmful and that which demeans our lives and purpose. We might emerge from the coming months poorer in money and things money brings, but richer in understanding and able to function in proportion to our neighbors and our world."

Or, notes Cooper, "some of us might eat the smaller and weaker and seize their land and drive their kind, their race into obscurity or extinction. We have proved well enough we can go either way."

In this sense, sustainability is less about fixing our financials and more about a falling-away of our fateful fetishes.

Published by Ken on January 19th, 2009 tagged Community Initiatives, Systems Thinking

One Response to “on what sustainability is not: holding on to something”

  1. supak Says:

    It's good advice. It certainly helps if you've seized some land. A lot of us are just going to get evicted.