Everything is interconnected: II

Posted January 5th, 2012 in Blog, Featured Comments Off on Everything is interconnected: II

Fostering Ecological Hope
Today from Margaret Swedish:

So, to continue the thought…

We focused last time on the interconnections surfaced between the growing organic farming industry and harm being done to Mexican farmers and others who are seeing their water taps run dry. Then I was going through a pile of saved newspaper articles (which I do now and then when the piles get out of hand and I forget what’s in them) and came upon this AP article printed in my local paper on December 4:

North Mexico Wilts Under Worst Drought On Record

How precious water has become on our planet! And for your meditation, look at what is happening to the US-Mexico border region – Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and  more than half of Mexico!

North American Drought Monitor - Nov. 11, 2011

Now ponder again what we read in that NY Times article from New Years Eve about the intensive irrigation that is being used to provide organic produce in the middle of winter here in the US and all the way to Dubai.

Not sustainable. Oh, that word sounds so non-alarmist  in the context of  our ecological crisis. This is more than not sustainable. This is putting a huge straw into the earth to suck out water desperately needed for daily survival in Mexico in order to feed our healthy food markets in affluent countries.

It is not only far beyond sustainability; it is also unjust.

At this project, we are very clear about an essential aspect of this crisis. Justice also matters. Land use, water rights, the global market – all of these things have profound moral content, especially in a world dealing more and more with scarcity. We make this point as well: much of that scarcity is driven not by mere demand which rises with population and income growth, but by the profoundly unjust way in which the global economy is organized. If big farmers, and often U.S. farmers buying up land in Mexico, have the ‘legal’ right to suck out all that water for their crops at the expense of the well-being of Mexicans and the eco-communities of the region (other living beings that need water besides humans), then there is something profoundly morally wrong with that economy.

And this is the other thing we believe. Because we are all embedded within these interconnections, because everything we do effects them, effects their overall health and well-being, all of our consumption decisions are also moral choices. We can get enraged about it, resist it, put blinders on, hate the messengers – but it is a fact of reality, simply what is. We cannot step out of the dynamics of all those interrelated elements and energies of life on this planet until we are free to make our individual choices without worrying about these things. There is not ‘outside’ to go to. We are in them, of them, completely dependent upon them.

It would be a very good thing if we could begin engaging our healthy food communities, our local food co-ops, our alternative food networks, all our grocery stores in conversation about these things. I don’t expect Walmart execs to change their minds, but Outpost (for example) might, and ought to. And we could begin promoting a seasonal food culture that might also encourage local industries like aquaponics, winter crops like kale and spinach, etc., that would look forward to those first blueberries each spring or summer because we haven’t tasted them in months – oh, how delicious! something to be savored – not assumed to be available at all times.

We are responsible for our consumer decisions. Especially in this age of global markets, it is important to follow the trail to know where the things we buy come from, what is happening at the source, and where the measure of justice is.

Deep ecology and justice must become so intertwined that we eventually no longer think of them as separate from one another, or different aspects of the work we do, but as part of a whole of how we live sustainably – and abundantly – on the planet, so interrelated that they become the same thing – living justly in ecological wholeness.

Because, in any case, if we don’t stop using land and fossil fuels like this, the possibility of future abundance will slip from our hands. And that’s not a future I like to ponder.


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