Last I read New York was gripped by bitter cold, ice, and snow. I hope this letter finds you warm, safe, and happy.
Upon my arrival to Hawai’i, to be the caretaker of an off-grid homestead and meditation retreat, I was met with the most pleasant reality, Maui has not been overcome by the gluttonous culture of the western world. While I’ve not seen it myself, Oahu is supposedly nearly completely covered in concrete, courtesy of the US military base established there, and the increased development to support it. With those things, apparently crime and consumption also now cover the culture of that island. Here, many people still have an heir of pride in their ability to at least produce a little for themselves. On the mainland, especially since the roar of the 50’s and the final nails of consumer culture were deeply embedded into society, the culture that kept so many alive in the great depression died decades ago. The systemic illness that now rages through modern western culture started long before then, though, primarily when American pop culture began to take off, around the time that Tin Pan Alley music, and film production, became a powerhouse in the sphere of public influence. Later, after the depression, it continued by way of supermarkets and advances in refrigeration that allowed for the long distance shipping of food. No longer did people find a priority in growing food for themselves, or their community, as the supermarket always had fresh fruit and veggies for purchase. The convenience of shopping overtook the labor of love that is gardening, and the mentality that no family is secure without it being mostly self sufficient. Not-so-suddenly, money became the driving force in peoples lives since they could purchase their needs.
It’s not that these modern conveniences are a bad thing. As I sit here, typing on a computer in a house run by solar power with a variety of water filters and a solar hot water heater, enjoying the pinnacle of modern technology. Obviously the problem comes when people take advantage of these things and learn to rely on them without giving thought to the who/what/when/where/why/how. Who made these solar panels? What are they made of? When and why may be of less importance in this direct line of questioning, but where were the materials gathered from? How did they gather them? Knowing about planned obsolescence and the slow, deliberate, release of technology to the public by those markets does apply to when and why, however; when will we get the better technology, and why do people accept it’s delay? If the creation a solar panel causes as much environmental destruction as coal or lithium mining, is it really an improvement? Is there a better alternative? Could the millions of modern cars, rotting, unsold, in random rural parking lots, be recycled to create solar panels or wind turbines as to reduce the need for mining? Many do not realize that every car made is not sold, it’s not even a thought, but those unsold literally sit and rot. Car companies don’t donate them to the poor, teachers, doctors, or anyone else. I’m sure that some parts are recycled, but there is massive waste everywhere and in nearly every market. I could go through the approximately 20 different types of work that I’ve done since I started working at 9 years old, and nearly every one with exception to gardening and beekeeping has produced massive amounts of waste. My hands are not clean in this, though recently they are regularly covered in honey and dirt…but never both at the same time, it would be wasteful!
I digress, I’d rather this be food for thought than a rant. Keeping positive, with sincerity, people are indeed waking up to the idea of becoming more self sufficient and this is a beautiful trend in society. The greatest thing about modern technology, to me, is the wave of information that relentlessly crashes into peoples minds via the unregulated internet. People are now seeing the results of consumer culture, and at the same time they are seeing the true benefits of being more sustainable and self-reliant. It’s hard for people to keep doing things wrong once they learn that there is a right and wrong way to do what they are doing. It doesn’t sit well with them, and often they seek to change it. Very few people take pride in being wrong, in doing foolish things, or in simply being a scoundrel that intentionally does bad or wrong things. I feel that the world is becoming a better place, not the opposite, and you and I are a part of that…it’s likely that anyone else reading this is too.
These things came to mind today as I was harvesting potatoes, tomatoes, and broccoli from the garden. It’s a grey day here, the solar panels have not enjoyed that but I haven’t minded so much. I planted Turmeric and Pineapple as well.
While I was picking broccoli I found a Ladybug, sitting still on a leaf, and a moment later I found a little nest of Aphids, her favorite food, so I moved her to it. She began to massacre the little nuisances, and either got her fill or was scared off by a sprinkle of rain, before I finished my harvest and could take a picture. It was a fun moment, thought you’d at least enjoy the imagery.
Mahalo for helping me with this blog while I’m away from the grid. Speaking of the grid, that’s a good topic for next time.
Till next time, aloha,