September 27, 2008

Crude Awakening

"It's the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine."

My wife doesn’t like it when I talk about the future. In fact we just had an argument, because I was brooding around the house, griping about the 700 Billion dollar bailout for the criminals on Wall Street, and contemplating our future in a post-apocalyptic landscape in which we find a plot of land where we can feed and take care of our family.

I am sure every generation feels that their future is in peril and that the world is coming to an end. But something about the where we stand on the brink of the 21st century, feels too real. My wife, rightfully although I don’t want to admit it that, if the future is a s grim as I predict then why have another baby as we are planning on doing. If the population of the planet is already staggeringly unsustainable, if the world could realistically only support about one billion people, then how or why would one even consider procreating. Isn’t it cruel to bring another life into a world that you are certain will be filled with doom and gloom and war?

I don’t have an answer. I have a hard time articulate my views to her in person, so I have decided to try my hand here in text. As much as I gripe about the human condition, I believe in humanity. Despite the near suicidal decisions we have made as a species, I still think that when the smoke clears, human beings will be able to regroup and restart. Being the eternal optimist, I guess I just hope that my family and I will be resourceful enough to make it through what ever the future has to offer.

Why am I arguing with my wife about trying to find a piece of land on a connected landmass away from major urban centers where we can raise our kids along side our own food? I have watched another film that has scared the shit of me.

As documentary films go, Crude Awakening: The Oil Clash is only as good as its title, and that is not very. Cinematically, artistically, and in terms of craft the movie is average at best and riddle with clichés that make some scenes laughable. But the message is there and worth considering. I feel that every high school student in the world should watch this filmed!

I am not sure if it is best to run blindly into the future hoping that things stay the same or get better, or if it is better to look to the future with fear, but I cannot simply look the other way. This movie is a only one item on a list of material that I have been ingesting lately that makes a pretty strong case that the world is changing and not for the better.

Despite of this, contrary to what my wife thinks about my attitude, I think that we have a stake in living. We may not be as “green” as we can be; my recent trip to Shanghai was the second or third major trip of four I will take this year. Who am I kidding? Air travel is one of the worst uses of fossil fuels out there. But we can continue to live our lives, not as normal, but as aware.

To run blindly into a future pretending everything will be okay is irresponsible, when there are so many signs saying that it will not be okay. I can only live my life the best I can. I feel sorry for my wife for having to put up with me, but I cannot imagine interact with the world in any other way. I cannot explain why I want to have another baby. I know that ecologically it is not a wise choice. It is easy to sit back and suggest that the Chinese only have one baby each, because they are over their quota, but it is another to limit yourself to the idea of forced family planning. I guess like all of the choices we make in a globalized, fossil fuel consuming, market economy, we feel powerless to act differently.

My wife often accuses me of standing on a morally superior soapbox, and this saddens me, because all of the judgment I may appear to be lashing out into the world is first and foremost directed at myself. I find myself trapped in a system that I did not build and cannot escape from. I know that ultimately I could easily choose to live off the grid and make major life changes, but that is easier said than done, and I applaud the people who have the courage to make those choices.

I am rambling now, so I will go back into our room and apologize to my wife for being so serious all the time, but these arguments are good to have sometimes, because when the future comes, and it will be a bit scary, perhaps we will be better prepared to deal with it.

Here is the trailer for Crude Awakening: The Oil Clash. Please watch the film in its entirety and if you are teacher show it to your kids! Spend some time on Youtube and check out the other clips.

1 comment:

  1. i am going to email you my response.