Friday, 26 October 2007

"I've seen too many clearcuts, too many landslides.."



Among the news that climate change is outstripping our most pessimistic predictions and that the Kyoto Protocol
has done nothing to reduce emissions, I stood on the smokers' balcony and stared at a grey, flat, dismal sky which had been African Azure the day before, saying "The weather is truly weird. It's our own fault, though".

Excuse me, Terri?

Are you a multinational oil refinery? No? A clearcutting logging corporation perhaps?
Are you a national government, then? Still no? What about a captain of industry or a CEO?

Then how, in actual fact did you (and I'm assuming you're including yourself in that 'we' you like to throw around) create the bizarre weather patterns we're seeing?

The television in our household is on, if at all, for perhaps a half an hour in the evening. Warren and I like to watch our homegrown soapie while we eat.

No comments, please, from the peanut gallery. I've already said it all, many times, to myself.

During that period, we are exhorted maybe four times to save electricity by turning off all non-essential appliances, leaving on maybe a light to see by and of course, the television. Else how would you get to know how badly you're wasting power?
The huge dial and needle fills a corner of the screen, and some bureaucratically designed homily fills another, telling us things like 'Electricity consumption has eased but is still high.Please switch off all non-essential...', or 'Electricity consumption has stabilised. You may switch on some non-essential...'.
Aaargh.
How dare they?
As if the production of that warning message hadn't already cost more killowatt-hours than I'm going to be using the entire day.

Wander down the street sometime and take in the streelights burning all hours in the daylight.

Marvel at the cellular giant's perfect golf course, floodlit and deserted every single night.

Gawk at the giant advertising hoarding, some not only consuming electricity equivalent to an entire suburb each and every night, but many using just as much power during the day, because someone doesn't know how this timer-switch thing works.

It's a joke that we should feel to blame for the country's power failures.

But it's far more than a joke that we should feel responsible for the fact that our Mother is dying.

Yes, each one of us can do our part- drive a small car if you must drive, don't splurge on electricity usage, recycle your waste responsibly. And so on-I don't need to tell Pagans.

But this feeling that each one of us can be held directly accountable for the sickening Earth is perhaps something a little more sinister.I am not, and have never been, in a position to make those decisions which have stripped Her of Her mantle, drained Her marrow and poisoned Her blood. So why the Hel am I taking on this huge feeling of guilt?

Derrick Jensen believes that it's a classic pattern of abuser behaviour - make the victim feel the guilt.

If we all run around feeling that we're to blame for the shocking state of the Mama, well maybe we won't notice who it really is behind the carnage.

I don't advocate freeing your conscience and running off to the nearest 4x4 dealer, not at all. If it would help a whit, I am perfectly willing to die for my Mother.
But what I'm not willing to do is lay down my life for a Multinational Abuser with a severe case of womb envy who wants me to think that I'm the bad guy.

I've seen too many clearcuts, too many landslides
To lay on my hands and heal...

(Christopher Bingham, 1997)