Saturday, October 24, 2009

Fast and Not Fast Culture

It's been a hard Saturday.  I participated in a quickly organized local "Climate Action 350" today and dealt with quite a few denialists.  Well no, that's not quite accurate.  I dealt with one particular denialist who wasn't really a denialist.  More a nihilist.  We're all gonna die.  We can't do anything about it.  That old saw.

It is with this experience that I turn to Illustration Friday's theme for the week: "Fast."  Holding a sign about catastrophic climate change to motorists speeding by on their way to some Saturday appointment, it's hard not to see our culture's addiction to speed, to getting there fast, to instant gratification.

It is important, then, to remember that other meaning of fast -- to go without. To voluntarily starve oneself, to subsequently slow down.  To understand what you have, what you can consume by choosing not to, even if only for a short while.  The general consensus among the climate change mitigation opposition is that the problem is now too big, that no one will make the sacrifices necessary to have any meaningful impact.  Sure, we can identify the need to get back to 350 ppm carbondioxide, but it is harder to agree on what we need to do to get there.  And harder still when we are all too wrapped up in our recession woes to think of giving up anything more, to even consider climate change legislation that might add $100 to your yearly household energy bill.

And then this.  If I just live fast enough, live hard enough, I can keep from thinking about transgenerational problems that loom large but offer no confirmation of immediate gratification.  We cannot solve human contributions to climate change easily or quickly.  So live fast and die hard.

Or not.  I choose not, even if the boys zipping by in their four wheeler in a cloud of dark exhaust flip me off and call me faggot.  Sorry boys, this is not a problem you can run from. 

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