“Just imagine there is one starry night left till the end of this world… What would we do?” (reproduced from the sleeve notes of THE LAST BALKAN TANGO, a music CD by BORIS KOVAČ & LADAABA ORCHEST).
How will you be celebrating? Yes, I’m serious. The one thing everyone seems to be ignoring right now is how little time we have left.
The inspiration to write this has been meeting the daughter of one of our friends from the pueblo. Summer (July/ August) being when they all head back for a month’s holiday. She lives in London now, and this is her first visit in about ten years, so we’d been looking forward to hearing all the news about our old town (Blackheath & Sydenham), as well as finding out how different she felt the two places were, especially since the advent of the alleged “crisis”. I was in for a big shock. Okay life here is extremely rural, it’s why we chose it. There’s probably around 90% unemployment, and it’s been like this for a very long time, most people still live at home, and probably will never have a job. The education system is barbaric. So if anyone is lucky enough to rise above any of these handicaps then it isn’t going to be to earn big bucks, simply to escape. The daughter, in her forties I guess, is of someone who managed that. Therefore as Maureen and I also came from working class parents, who struggled to provide just the basics (food & shelter) while we were growing up, I was guessing she was probably just about making ends meet so. Not at all. Life in the UK has changed dramatically. Her address is a very posh part of the capital, she sends her children to private schools, and right now is considering buying two houses in Spain, one in the pueblo for when they retire, and another on one of the islands so her children will have a place at the beach. My point being, thanks to inflated salaries/ inheritance, the average person in urban Europe is very rich, not only compared to rural areas but the cities of our youth. The only financial crisis they are suffering is not having enough money to satisfy their voracious appetite to spend. And this is really scary. Why we will all be at that dance, any day now. That and procreation.
Money. Whenever we earn or spend any of it (even just one pence/ centimos), the major effect is to destroy a precious part of our ecology (the invisible machine which provides us with enough: air to breathe/ food/ clean water/ and fuel), disappears forever. We are taking from a limited source, raw materials are not replaceable. Production processes pollute. And this is a relatively new phenomenon. Of the billions of years the planet has existed and sustained life, money only appeared between 3-10,000 years ago. Before then we lived in perfect harmony/ balance with nature, our footprint virtually invisible (global population up ‘til then had stabilised at a mere 3 million). The only damage we caused was to pick the fruit of the plants we survived on, but defecation provided an equally valuable resource for other species. There were no: structures/ tools/ vehicles/ roads/ clothes/ personal items. We owned/ destroyed nothing else. A visitor from another planet would find it hard to even realise we existed. The physical elements of the planet remained intact, untouched. As did the endless process of recycling (life and death), in fact it got more efficient as years went by as the diversity of species increased. Then something happened. We changed. Nobody knows how or why, but from then on the population started to increase and we went from being nomadic to rooting into a place, creating settlements, and from there began wholesale destruction of nature. Killing other species to extinction, plundering the planet’s natural resources, and destroying the very foundation of what gives us life. This has continued to escalate, until one hundred years ago it began accelerating at an even faster rate, so much so that it has now reached the point of becoming exponential (when it multiples upon itself). Our global population is 7 billion and rising every second. Each of those unsustainable births growing up to expect to be able to earn/ spend money as they like, and with an appetite that knows no bounds.
Now can see why I was so shocked. She, and everyone else like her (the majority) care more about the birth of the royal baby than that their lifestyle (and life) is killing us all.
How do we make them realise before it is too late?