Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Sustainable Living: That stranger over there? He might just be your ticket, so get to know and love people!!



In all my fight for Sustainable Development via Renewable Energy, I’ve come to learn that I can never ignore the other aspects of Sustainability – Environmental Protection, Climate Change campaigns, Water Bodies Preservation, etc.

I also came to learn that Sustainable Development goes hand in hand with Sustainable Living.

And I learnt that Sustainable Living is not some new-fangled, awesome invention or philosophy that some modern-day scientist or analyst founded or wrought in a stunning bout of Eureka-ism.

Sustainable Living (and Development) was how the world began, how our fore-parents lived centuries ago, right down to the recent 20th century, when a drastic change overtook everything as they knew it.
A drastic change called Industrialization – and its brood of children : Computerization, Modernization, Global Categorization (1st – 3rd Worlds), and Economization.

Sustainable Development has now been shoved over for Individualism, Non-Progressive Competitiveness (also known as Lethal Greediness), and Soul-less Living in a Graceless Age.

It was in the belief of Sustainable Development, that our fore-parents took only enough from the environment and no more, gave back to Mother Earth as much as possible, grew enough crops to feed themselves and take them through the lean seasons, and bore a keen sense of Nature’s needs.
They knew how to make several things from just one item/plant. Rarely was anything wasted.

Even recently, local people were still using dried cattle-droppings and other dried dung in lieu of firewood, for cooking. We would laugh at them. We said it was unhygienic, so they stopped and went in for the firewood. Now, we’re crying in the heat and mini-deserts, and ordering them to stop, when they just got in the flow of it.
Lo and behold, the white man says, “See, I bring you biogas!”
Lo and behold, we had it before you did, just not so aesthetically designed. But whose fault?

When my grandma used to wrap bread dough in banana leaves and bake it over a fire fueled with dried cassava, orange, plantain, yam, etc peelings with generous doses of dried palmnut husks and wood-shavings, the bread came out baked with a perfume of a majority of these components, but damn tasty.
We bought her a gas cooker. Now white man says research indicates you can have green coal, better known as briquettes!
My grandma would have slapped me well-well, were she alive today.

We learn, improve on it, and pass it on to the next generation. That’s what we ought to be doing. We need to hold on to, and bring closer to us, the age-old notion of extended family.
That is how our children are raised in love, protected, kept an eye on, and learn how to tolerate living with others of different mindsets – you make a better adult that way!
It is where we learn that ‘Human being sweet’ … in your time of need/ill-health, then you’ll see that having someone around who loves you, beats the hell out of any medicine!

Live sustainably and live green.

I don’t need to paint the whole picture for you, do I?
You get it.
Yeah, yeah, yeah … you get it! The old folks had no idea how to live it up. Living like Amish, who wants that, right?

Who wants to live in a community where you’re close with everyone, and they’re all into your shit, and everyone’s part of a big happy family, where baby-sitters can’t even make any money, ‘cus there are so many nosy old hags ready to look after the noisy little litter-bags for free.
And you gotta share the little food you got with people who don’t have any, and try and be there for the fools and shit … I mean, do I look like your Mama to you? I got shit of my own to handle, mehn!
And hell, they don’t even know how it feels like to drive a big, powerful car, and dig into that V8 engine, and tear up the asphalt, eat up that damn road till the stupid bikers and green freaks are coughing like hell in all the exhaust fumes I leave behind.

Those green freaks need some time in my home, mehn … like they’ll come around for sure. Always bitching about stop the oil spills, your cars and way of life are killing some oh-zone shit high up in the sky - where I don’t live!, why you watering your lawn and your car with clean drinking water, aren’t I the one paying the bills, you freak?!
If they see how cool my 12-bedroom house is, all my cars, all the latest gadgets I get to buy, they’d pass out Amish-green-freak and wake up Big User-Spender-Living-the-High-lifer! Hahahaha!
Why would I want to live such a micro-life?

And what’s this Happy hour crap, anyway? Spend time with my neighbours, get to know people better, invest in local businesses by buying their shit? Something about the wealth then circulates to grow the community … what the …!
Dude! I look Amish or Stone-Age to you?!

Sigh … in several discussions I get into, when they begin running along similar lines, or I start seeing similar opinions swimming about in their eyes at this point in the discussion, I wonder how some people manage to look at themselves in the mirror every morning.

I’m not talking about illiterate, uneducated people who are living a wasteful life. I’m talking about people with degrees, Masters, Ph. Ds; people as old as my parents, and in high-level positions; people in governmental positions, who ought to know better.
People who are supposed to have reading habits, and who tend to bore you with a long list of important sounding book-titles they’ve read or bought to read.

Reading is good. I read.
Heck I consume books.
I’ve read books the like of which will make your jaw drop to the ground – on all topics and subjects, on the state of Africa, the fortunes of mavericks, the philosophies of Nietzsche, Sun Tzu, Peter Drucker and a dozen others, memoirs of famous and little-known personalities, dictionaries and scientific manuals … read them in English, French, Spanish too!

I soak up books. Have done ever since I can remember … and the result is a mass wealth of data that plops all sorts and forms of snippets of information, logic, thoughts, philosophies into my mouth, in that miraculous way only the brain works.

So when these people insist on their reading prowess to back-up their knowledge on Sustainability and come up nonchalant about the state of ‘green affairs’, I start to sweat the sweat of the outraged.
If you read, it shows in what you say and do, dude! In your lifestyle.

If we keep on living like the way we are, and we do not attempt to start picking up the good practices of our fore-bears, investing in people and the community, raising children with the right morals and philosophies and not just leaving them to the streets or school-teachers, or an immoral life … we would have destroyed the basic unit of life in more ways than one.
We would have destroyed the Individual and the Community.

And we would have lost the vision of our first and most important task as human beings – taking care of she who sustains us – the Earth.

It is said, ‘Do not bite the hand that feeds you, and you will continue to eat all the days of your life’.

Save. Renew. Sustain … the Earth. It is your future.
And that of your children.
And your children’s children.

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