Thursday, February 12, 2009


TERMINAL INBREEDING: That once profound truism about the Chinese character that stands for both crisis and opportunity has become so ubiquitous in the last few decades that it’s now taught in kindergarten.

But it’s become quite obvious it’s about as meaningless to supposedly reborn Obamerica as any five-year-old’s nursery rhyme when you look at the schizophrenic manner with which we are treating this so-called economic crisis.

The last eight years crystallized all that is wrong with Americans- that’s right, not just America but Americans.

Thinking back only a few years ago it was painfully obvious that something was wrong and that our unregulated, free market, fast-food, disposable culture was about to collapse of its own weight and design.

Many saw a silver lining in the insane economic practices in that when it all did collapse the opportunity to institute a new sustainable model would be so robust as to make going back to our old ways impossible.

But when the rubber met the road as it has in the last year or so, when the rotten fruits of our pie-hole stuffing ethos stood naked before the same people who screamed for sustainability, they began begging for one last chance to patch up the bullet riddled corporate corpus and individual greed that is at the root of the debacle.

“Do something- anything” we scream to our DC politicians, “but don’t take away my 30-minute delivered pizza or my 75” flat screen TV”.

“Reign in the Wall Street crooks and jail the bankers and insurance companies who caused this” we scream “but don’t take away any of my six 0% Platinum Visa cards.”

“It’s time to institute ‘Zero Waste’ programs” we beg as we gobble up our GMO-corn-fed fatburger plate lunch and toss the Styrofoam container in an opaque trash can to be transferred to someone else’s backyard where we can’t see or smell it.

“We all need to use public transportation” we yell out the window of our gas guzzling jalopy that’s forever stuck in traffic gridlock.

Within a few days- or even hours- America will be spending another trillion dollars. But in typical “fire, ready, aim” fashion none of the fundamentals of the economic system that got us here will have been reversed, redefined, revised or re-regulated before we do.

Even though we see clearly how the insanity of mindless consumerism bought us all dwellings with funny money to go with our $100,000 in consumer debt, we yet again bow down to the gods of mindless purchasing when told that if we want this crisis to magically end, the banks must start lending and we must start spending money that doesn’t exist... again.

What are we- a bunch of freakin’ idiots?

It’s far worse than doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. It’s like we know exactly what we are doing to cause our demise but instead of doing less of it we think our only chance is to buy enough bubble gum, paper clips and duct tape to make Humpty Dumpty, if not whole, at vaguely least egg-shaped..

We look around and see millions of unemployed and look into the precipice of a new great depression but is our response to examine why those jobs selling each other chalupas, texting minutes and Hummers are disappearing?

No our new leader says – we just need to pump cash into the pockets of those who provided those jobs so they can create more of the same stupid, needless and destructive jobs.

No, our new leader says- we will make sure the construction workers who built all those now-empty houses can keep building useless and long-term destructive structures and more highways and more bridges for our personal, dirty sooty-carbon-spewing, oversized driving machines instead of clean green public transport.

No, our new leader says- even though we know exactly who created this fiscal mess and how it happened, instead of first ending the derivative, hedge-fund, shareholder comes first, rich get richer, theft-based approach we’ll just pump another trillion on top of the last trillion into the economically and morally bankrupt practices of the past.

Apparently the same people who were shrieking “sustainability” last year are now looking for all the old unsustainable economic models and practices to make them whole again so that then and only then can they work on sustainable solutions.

Today, on the 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin’s birth, the witching hour is upon us. It’s time to ask if we are just plain too dumb to survive.

If our response to today’s opportunity is to panic at the prospect of tomorrow’s crisis perhaps our last best chance to sustain- in fact survive- as a species has come and gone.


Blahblahblah said...

"in an opaque trash can to be transferred to someone else’s backyard where we can’t see or smell it."

does this mean you'll stop calling for using energy to ship trash 3000 miles to a landfill in WA instead of dealing with the problem locally? Physician, heal thyself.

I hope you saw the article in the Honolulu paper outlining how their bid so ship was won at $99/ton with the next two bids (up around $180/ton) crying "impossible" and fraud. Even if the $100 is correct, add in the $30 tipping fee and local expenses and you get back to $140-150/ton which is far more than a local landfill will really cost.

Overall. Good post. We have met the enemy and he is us.

Andy Parx said...

It depends on the choices and context Elaine. If we’re instituting a Zero Waste program we don’t need a new landfill. But if we still stuck in an integrated solid waste program model- as the Kaua`i council apparently is- we supposedly do and I’d still, given the two bad choices, rather ship it out. Either way we’re buying it somewhere out of sight out of mind for most except for those living next to it.

We’ll see how the cost shakes out- but if the 99 a ton people do it fine but even if not the higher prices may still be equitable and “doable” considering the savings in other areas of dealing with trash, as I’ve said before.