I have to confess that I am feeling little angry, angry with myself, angry with the powers to be, with people who I feel just don’t ask enough questions about our way of life that is simply accepted as all there is and all that there will ever be.
Firstly, a little bit of background in to my past couple of months to help you understand where my issues lie. Prior to moving to Bude on cornwall’s North coast in September to a little eco-campsite/small holding I was living in Exeter renting a room in a family house working in a cafe. I had dreams of building up a successful business and having enough money to afford a life of freedom, travel and adventure, but as time went by I started to realise some things that just didn’t seem right to me. The cafe I was working in, a large successful chain across the UK, served a very limited menu, all of which came in frozen and was pretty much microwaved by our ‘chefs’. Reading the nutritional information on these labels revealed an assortment of ingredients from all over the world, and many invented in laboratories…hardly stuff you could call food, and we were serving this to customers. As a personal trainer with an interest in health and nutrition this bugged me a bit. We have a growing population of sick fat people and we aren’t doing anything to help the issue, but we are making lots of money! Not to mention where all of the ingredients for these frozen meals were coming from and the possible poor conditions the people who grew them were kept in…something we will never know which also seems a little wrong to me. So I guess I started to realise that people and companies were so determined to make money that they didn’t even take any notice of their customer’s health. One could argue that if the customer was that concerned they should go somewhere else but what harm is there in putting more emphasis on people’s health than on making money.
So, I left that job and decided that I wanted to pursue a life that did more, for not only my health, but also did more for other people and had a more positive ecological impact. It’s a huge task but you just have to take the first step. So I became a volunteer on an eco-campsite in Bude.
More recently I have had to get myself another job so I can save enough money to apply for my permanent residency in the UK. Which in itself is another sore spot. I have to pay the government £1050 for them to consider me as a permanent resident. £1050 for them to politely give me the right to inhabit land under government control, owned by the crown that should really belong to everyone. I am starting to understand how the Aboriginal people of what is now called Australia, or the Native Indians of what is now America, and I am sure countless other indigenous populations must have felt when some folk from the mother country rocked up on their shores, stuck a flag in it and ‘claimed’ it. They then proceed to kill of native populations, destroy the native fauna and flora, dig up the landscape and start dividing it up in to small chunks people can buy and claim as their own.
Anyway, back to my new job. I am working as a storeman/forklift driver in a factory warehouse. It’s not a hard job, pretty laid back, nice enough people running it but has absolutely no point. This factory uses massive amounts of power, generated by fossil fuels no doubt, to bend, shape, paint and cut metal to produce office furniture for only two reasons I can think of, firstly to make money so that the management team can have a nice salary and a BMW, and secondly so that offices all over the country can stroke their egos with fancy looking office furniture. Everything leaves the factory covered in copious amounts for cardboard and plastic, on pallets, driven away in big trucks. Again, a complete disregard for this finite planet that provides everything for us, and for the health and well being of the people working there and their communities, families, all so that we can all have a little money, so that we can continue to buy things, fuelling the madness and the perception that we can continue to grow and prosper.
This new job could not be further away from my newly found ideals if it tried, but I am being just as bad at the moment. I have to participate in the destructiveness of pointless industry so that I can participate in the flawed monetary economy so not to break any border-control laws because I wish to live in the UK.
But I don’t want to be angry. I want to be waking up each morning knowing that I can spend the day doing things I am passionate about, with people that I love, caring for animals and plants, eating well, sheltered from the damage being caused but a system that we have come to rely on for everything, but ironically could not sustain itself without our participation. It continues because we let it, because we think we need it. Every aspect of our lives has become monetised to the point where it seems near impossible to live without money. So we spend our precious time slaving away for it, ignoring our passions because they don’t pay the bills or get us all the tvs and cars we are so convinced that we need.
What kind of a world would we be living if people and companies put more emphasis on providing positive impacts for communities and the environment rather than their balance sheets and shareholder profits. I feel that the pursuit of profits has led a severe disconnection from nature and from fellow man. We have replaced community and interconnectedness with a dangerous dependence on the monetary economy which is based on infinite, unsustainable growth.
I feel my rant has come to an end for the moment, and I must confess I feel much better. A problem shared is a problem halved…I think that is how it goes.