Sunday, January 4, 2009

What we build

There are children swimming in the ocean. Many are what health specialists would, no doubt, call unhealthily overweight. Their parents have seen to it that they are covered up with sunscreen and that they wear long shorts, hats and arm length body tops to keep the harmful radiation off their skin. While most of us become increasingly aware of the science, we continue to burn our wages preparing the sun for its increasing assault on our skin and our soil. Our bodies are also products of industrialised agriculture – we eat food that is overly-refined, sugar rich and highly processed, we pass this on to our children. 

The interrelation between intensifying radiation from the sun on our skin and increased levels of unburnt fat in our bodies is obvious enough – oil-based economics based on profit growth. What is less discussed is that our society is an impermanent culture, not possible of ever being sustainable. We have lived a deluded, perma-boom existence, and our high levels of skin cancer and diabetes are the physical corollaries of this Australian life.

We have taught our children how to protect themselves from the sun (from nature), and how to eat (from supermarkets), we have introduced them to a global culture of progress. We have told our children that transporting resources, investing in economic growth and producing immeasurable waste is progressive. We have not told them that progress is killing us. We'd prefer to veil our kids from the inevitable horrors that await us, and the horrors that we've allowed to endorse our way of life.

Why is this? It is easy for us to attack nature – the sun is enemy, and therefore we can defend ourselves against enemies. But how do we defend ourselves from ourselves? How do we cease to participate in the great global toxiculture our elders have built for us?

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