24 March 2011

Nothing to do with me

I don't know if I've ever felt so disconnected from the world at large as I do now. The news is filled with stories that highlight the limits we're starting to butt up against with increasing frequency. One thing that seems to have no limit is our ability to convince ourselves that it's ok to place entire ecosystems in peril so that every form of consumption, no matter how frivolous, can continue unquestioned and unimpeded. Witness deep water drilling, nuclear plants on fault lines (or anywhere else for that matter), tar sands development, gas fracking, and mountain top removal coal-mining. Meanwhile, I take my daily walk in the woods with my dog and plant seeds, secure in the knowledge that none of this has anything to do with me. Somehow, it doesn't even seem to have anything to do with me when I make yet another trip to the big box hardware store to pick up something else for a home improvement project. We seem to have finished all the absolutely-necessary-for-health-and-safety repairs at our new house, and have moved onto far more satisfying bathroom updating and painting and lighting improvements. All of which generate a surprising amount of waste and shopping.

I was able to have a serious discussion about emergency preparedness with my husband as a result of all the news this week, including a local story about a neighbourhood we once lived in where the residents were being advised to stay inside with all doors, windows and ventilation closed because of plumes of toxic smoke from a hardware store fire. Likely the city's tiniest hardware store, but crammed with paints and chemicals and a fresh delivery of self-lighting barbecue briquets (the fire has been deemed accidental). So we talked about what measures we should take to protect ourselves in case of some natural or other disaster. And we even talked a bit about living in a world with too many people, using too much stuff, with margins that are just too thin. Then we went to Home Depot.

1 comment:

  1. Your thoughts are so very similar to those of my wife and I. We see the news and all of the terrible things going on in the world and wonder how long before they directly affect us. We were also at Home Depot recently looking at FRP paneling for a bathroom project, and as I was looking at it I wondered what environmental injustices went into the making of this sheet of plastic...and in a couple of days we will go back and purchase a few sheets of it. We find ourselves so far removed from the things of man in some aspects of our life and yet so intertwined in others.



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