Thursday, October 17, 2013

Caring for Our Home

On Monday night Bill and I watched a documentary online while we shelled purple hull peas (similar to black-eyed peas) - because that's the kind of people we are.  

The documentary was Home, narrated by Glenn Close.  The photography was breathtaking but the message - until the end, which offered some hope - was extremely disturbing.  We are destroying our planet, plain and simple.  We need to wake up and recognize this fact before it's too late to reverse the damage.  

While these films are extremely upsetting and depressing, I feel compelled to watch them. Why?  I need to 1) remind myself not to take our resources and the living things on this planet for granted; 2) to have the facts to share with others so they might wake up and take action; 3) to reinforce my decision to live more simply.

Just like the scene in the movie the Matrix, where  the traitor Cypher says, "Ignorance is bliss." Sometimes I just want to eat a "steak," even though I know it's wrong.  Like Cypher in the clip, I want to forget about it all.  I want to forget that we're depleting our resources faster than they can be replaced, that my shopping choices literally enslave people in other parts of the world, that I'm culpable in all kinds of wrong.  I want to forget these truths and just enjoy the bounty that being a wealthy American brings me.  (And by the world's standard, almost all Americans are wealthy.)  

Because we're now have a global economy, I don't have to see the consequences of my lifestyle and choices - the trash heaps, the poisoned rivers and lakes, the fume-filled skies, the tortured animals, the child slaves and soldiers - so it's easy to ignore.  I can just step into the matrix and see the world as the corporations - the world's producers of consumer goods - want me to see it.  I can stop asking questions, doing research, learning.  But since I've taken the red pill (Matrix reference - you can see the clip here), what kind if person would that make me?  To continue living as if my choices and lifestyle are perfectly harmless and acceptable?

So I watch these documentaries to remind myself what I already know.  And also to encourage others to learn about the world - the real one, not the one where the Indians are taking "our" jobs or the Chinese are "poisoning us."  The real world is where people all over the globe want to live as we do and have the luxury goods, instant gratification, and disposable society that we've come to consider the American way of life.  The problem is that resources are limited and someone has to do the dirty work and suffer to get these things to those at the top, at minimal expense and maximum profits.  All this is made possible by the greedy corporations who search the earth for the cheapest labor and resources while at the same time delivering the goods that they created the desire for in the first place.  Once we see how we have been manipulated and the horrific consequences of our choices, it's immoral to continue to support the status quo.  

If you'd like to "take the red pill," watch the documentary - I highly recommend it.  Embedding isn't allowed via YouTube but you can watch it here.  (My only problem with the movie is that it has been made available free to the public by one of those giant corporations that peddles luxury goods.  Sigh.)

Here's a TED talk by the filmmaker, Yann Arthus-Bertrand:

Arthus-Bertrand sums up the problem:  "We don't want to believe what we know."  Now that you've seen this, you know - now believe it and do something.

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