An Excerpt from Jim
of May 17,
from the Siskiyou Mountains west of
Grants Pass, Oregon, USA
Public Radio reaches here so I hear the economic news. "Sales are down across the
board" I heard Tuesday morning. Analysts suggest that "the American Age" is
being replaced by "the Asian Age," that the dollar may become junk currency, and
that nearly all kinds of power and prestige are flowing inexorably toward the Orient. Do
these trends portend the failure of our society?
This is a failure only to those eager to return to the mindsets and behaviors prevalent
during most of my lifetime. But those mindsets and behaviors were unsustainable as well as
lethal to Life on Earth.
"Sales are down" is one of the most promising phrases I've heard in a long time.
It's exactly like being grossly and dangerously overweight, and discovering that you've
lost five pounds. Our intemperate consumption of natural resources has resulted in
clear-cut rainforests needed for generating oxygen for us all to breathe; it's caused the
toxic pollution and overfishing of our oceans; it's contributed to global warming... And
now we hear that that process is slowing down.
It's not enough to simply abandon old ways. Something must replace what has been lost.
Here's what should replace our old ways:
Where before the "successful citizen" was judged in terms of the amount of his
or her wealth and property, now we must honor most those with lifestyles and jobs that
protect the planetary ecosystem. Retraining bankers and investment fund managers to
install insulation in old houses or set up backyard gardens or solar systems would be a
This is exactly the time for our culture to rediscover how fulfilling it can be to have
plenty of quality family time, to eat wholesome, locally produced food, and to repair
things instead of buying new ones. We must consciously cultivate in ourselves refined
thinking and self control, and give ourselves the chance to be nurtured by art and
philosophy. Young people eager to contribute to the advancement of humanity should be
encouraged to study ecology, history and engineering.