Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Reality setting in

Europe is trying to cope with a multitude of refugees from a long-festering part or the world. The Paris climate talks could fail, resulting in greater numbers of refugees. "Medical charity says stockpiles of anti-venom Fav-Afrique will expire in June with no alternative likely for at least two years." The StarTribune is promoting state funding to replace infrastructure that it asserts Minnesota cities can't afford themselves. The Pioneer Press is calling additional attention to the problems of agricultural nitrates in drinking water supplies. The list, as you probably know only too well, can go on and on. If she didn't have such a reputation for kind-heartedness, I'd believe that Donella (Dana) Meadows, wherever she is today, might be laughing at us. She'd be entitled.

Summer sky clouded by wildfire smoke from Canada
Summer sky clouded by wildfire smoke from Canada
Photo by J. Harrington

Meadows was the lead author of the Club of Rome report Limits to Growth as well as several follow-up reports and updates. She noted, in one of her "Global Citizen" columns that "Any land whose resource stocks are dropping while its pollution sinks are filling is, by definition, being used beyond its carrying capacity. Some number of people at some standard of living in any nation is too many. We don't help either the rich or the poor by going beyond that number." That observation seems suspiciously similar to what we're beginning to see throughout our home planet.

sediment-laden Sunrise River
sediment-laden Sunrise River
Photo by J. Harrington

At least in Minnesota, to say nothing of the rest of the U.S., there's a growing body of evidence that more growth isn't going to solve our problems, in fact, the way we've grown, and paid for that growth, has created many of the problems we're currently facing. It's time we paid more attention to the thinking and writings of the Mahrons, McHargs, Meadows, Leopolds, Carsons, Berrys and LaDukes of this world instead of today's political pundit, yesterday's chamber of commerce, or tomorrow's pandering politician. Can you hear the piper demanding to be paid?

The Fire Cycle

By Zachary Schomburg 

There are trees and they are on fire. There are hummingbirds and they are on fire. There are graves and they are on fire and the things coming out of the graves are on fire. The house you grew up in is on fire. There is a gigantic trebuchet on fire on the edge of a crater and the crater is on fire. There is a complex system of tunnels deep underneath the surface with only one entrance and one exit and the entire system is filled with fire. There is a wooden cage we’re trapped in, too large to see, and it is on fire. There are jaguars on fire. Wolves. Spiders. Wolf-spiders on fire. If there were people. If our fathers were alive. If we had a daughter. Fire to the edges. Fire in the river beds. Fire between the mattresses of the bed you were born in. Fire in your mother’s belly. There is a little boy wearing a fire shirt holding a baby lamb. There is a little girl in a fire skirt asking if she can ride the baby lamb like a horse. There is you on top of me with thighs of fire while a hot red fog hovers in your hair. There is me on top of you wearing a fire shirt and then pulling the fire shirt over my head and tossing it like a fireball through the fog at a new kind of dinosaur. There are meteorites disintegrating in the atmosphere just a few thousand feet above us and tiny fireballs are falling down around us, pooling around us, forming a kind of fire lake which then forms a kind of fire cloud. There is this feeling I get when I am with you. There is our future house burning like a star on the hill. There is our dark flickering shadow. There is my hand on fire in your hand on fire, my body on fire above your body on fire, our tongues made of ash. We are rocks on a distant and uninhabitable planet. We have our whole life ahead of us.


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