I have always believed that there has to be a way. There has to be a better way, there is, there has to be, surely, some sort of approach. I mean at least until I’m made Emperor of all the land and am placed in a position of absolute power, (with many wise and trusted advisors at my disposal mind you).
There has to be some way some approach to living life that is ‘right’; some small way at whittling down some tiny piece of the Universe into a better thing than it would’ve been otherwise.
Where shall I begin with this?
It’s a difficult thing to explain to anyone who wasn’t around for it, but back 30 years ago, when I were a gorsoon, the whole idea of Nuclear War really felt like a ‘when’ rather than an ‘if’. There was 'two tribes' and 'If the russians love their children too' films like:'the day after', 'when the wind blows' and 'bomb threads'.
It weighed heavier on the consciousness of some kids more than others obviously and an interest in Science Fiction didn’t help; so many stories began in the aftermath of a nuclear apocalypse ('a dog and his boy''mad max''damnation alley') that it started to simply be more or less a given.
And you can see why it was a popular genre -the apocalypse is a great thing for the story maker because you just take the world that you know and the people you know and ask a big ‘what if?’ and take it from there. Pretty cheap to film too, it makes it possible to set your western in a dump.
It's kind of a depressing view to be taking in all the time as a kid though.
While I may have believed in the possibility of global catastrophe as a given; I have still always believed that there had to be a way to avoid it.
The apocalypse hasn’t gone away of course and these days it’s environmental, but it’s still there in fillums and books and comics and what have you, and it’s still inside my head. I believe in it, I suppose, it’s in there deep.
It definitely affects the way that I feel about my bit.
It’s not that honestly think that next week the world as we know it will collapse in some instantaneous natural disaster but, I dunno…all this waste is piling up so quickly. Those photos from space of all the detritus we've left up there over the past 50 years only.... there has always seemed an element of madness to the ‘work-and-buy-and-consume-and-die’ template of life that society in general and television in particular seemed to be telling me was the whole point of existence. And also, it seems to be getting worse.
People talk about raising 'awareness' but back when I was less aware, the problems hadn't become so acute,- for example:
Before I ever realised that i 'ought to'; I used to buy fair-trade sugar.
Grown by farmers who made a decent wage and were not the pawns of enormous multinational corporations exploiting unjust economic arrangements with weaker countries to the point of slavery: it was called ‘Siucra’, and it was made locally and you can’t get it anymore. You can get something in the distinctive purple and white package that’s called ‘Siucra’ but that’s only because enormous multinational corporations exploiting unjust economic arrangements with weaker countries to the point of slavery recognise a trusted brand when they see one. To buy fair-trade sugar now, I have to pay extra, get less and have it shipped from half-way across the world.
There’s a lot of these kind of things, ‘dissappearing world’- old git type complaints really, that I’ve witnessed in my life and continue to witness and that depress me.
The policy of ‘planned obsolesence’ in manufacturing for example seems to me to be an actual intentional crime against the future. It makes absolutely perfect sense economically to create irreparable products with a limited life-span, the fact that this is a shocking waste matters not. The factory needs orders like the body needs food. The waste product is 'the product'. In buying this product the consumer not only hands over their capital but also takes upon themselves responsibility for the waste. There is no reason in the world, from the factory’s point of view, to make a repairable long-lasting machine. It’s counter-productive to the factories aims (and the company's survival) to do so.
Looking after my bit will never change this. I feel that exercising my right as a consumer to choose more sustainable products e.t.c. only turns that desire 'to do the right thing' into a commodity itself.
I had splashed out. On a torch, that I couldn’t afford, but that I felt in some way represented my attitude to a society built on constant consumerism.
I needn’t tell you that it took all of ten seconds for someone to point out to me that the many plastic moving parts required to make it work were not manufactured with either longevity or repairs in mind and I had simply been another 'consumer-sucker' fooled into buying a piece of straight-to-bin-tat having been fully convinced that it represented some aspect of my personality and ‘aspired to’ lifestyle.
Looking after your own bit is a lie.
I think that I’m going to have to stop whittling. I think I’m going to have to abandon my own personal feeble attempts at staving off the apocalypse and just accept that actually sorting this stuff is not an individuals job, it’s a governments job, it’s a global governments job. And even if I could magically grant tomorrow to each person a global right to vote for a global government to solve these problems no global population would vote that global government into power.
And if i could, and if they did, global business would not allow it to exist five minutes.
And I thought the idea of nuclear war was depressing.