I’m frequently told how easy life is for me. Always by people who think life is difficult for them, as they go on to explain.
According to these tortured souls, life is hard because they haven’t made the necessary psychological commitment to the notion of a world economic collapse. And I have, so I have it easy.
I am certain of only one thing: Living rationally may have its rewards, but an “easy” life is not one of them. Yes, I made the psychological commitment to the obvious. And that part — arguably the most important part of this whole affair — was relatively easy, I suppose because life-long education in ecology makes me understand the limits of growth. The Ph.D. minor in economics helped a little, if only to pull back the curtain to expose the flawed arguments of neo-classical economists.
But let’s start with the bigger, more important issue, the one that actually threatens our species with extinction: I mourned for six full months when I realized our species was likely to cause its own extinction via global climate change by 2100.
Imagine my elation when I discovered there is one potential, viable solution to this predicament. But when I point out that solution, I am not exactly hailed as the savior of our species. We studiously avoid even discussing that option, thereby committing ourselves to the aforementioned extinction. This is absurd and obscene, to me and nearly a dozen other people on the planet.
But, back to my elation, and the ease of my life in these economically challenging times.
Cheerleaders for empire (hence, to our own extinction) go on to explain another source of my ease: I have no children, and they do, so they have so much more to worry about than simple-living me. As if I didn’t make the choice about procreation, on my own. As did they. It was obvious to me, from the time I was twenty, that bringing more people into the world was not going to help the planet and its occupants. I decided not to contribute to planetary overshoot. Somehow, that makes me the self-absorbed bad guy.
And on they go, about the dreams they have for their children. Their children should be allowed to travel, as they did. The children should be allowed to experience the world’s cultures (and
run fly safely back to the comforts of the empire). As if there are no costs to our addiction to fossil fuels. As if I don’t have dreams of my own, which I’m unable to pursue. Through an entire career, I did what I was “supposed” to do: Nose to the grindstone, saving a majority of my earnings, I put my dreams on hold until after retirement. In other words, I threw it away, down the rat-hole of imperial dreams.
At some point, our dreams must match reality. Most people hate that. Sometimes, I’m among them.
Never mind the hard work, physical, mental, and emotional, I’ve invested in my post-carbon future. That’s actually been fun and rewarding (and it’ll be a lot more rewarding in the near future).
There’s more. (Isn’t there always?)
I love my family. But I doubt I’ll know when my parents die. And I’m certain I’ll not know when my siblings and their family members die.
When there’s no food on the shelves, no gas at the convenience store, and no water coming out the taps, it’s safe to conclude the empire has abandoned you. But if you think an economic recovery is right around the corner, you still will not abandon the empire. By that time, it’s too late to start thinking about other arrangements. Hell, it’s too late to pack the car and hit the road.
With apologies for the self-indulgent nature of this posting, I have to ask: Easy? Compared to what, exactly?