Tuesday June 25

I just finished reading “The Tree” by John Fowles. He passed away in 2005. He wrote his long essay in the late seventies (copyright is 1979).  In it he speaks about why we will not be able to fix it. In simple terms, he believed that we had strayed too far from our relationships with nature to ever be able to return the planet to one that would sustain us. That we would continue to degrade the planet until we leave it for another (or die out, though he does not say that in so many words he implies it). He said we would do that because we don’t spend enough time in the outdoors these days to be able to relate to how much we are a part of it, and just how completely we impact it.

Of course not everyone fits that description. Those of us who were around when the “environmental” movement began and thus have had it in our consciousness our whole lives can perhaps relate to what he says better then the generations born after us. Or not. Yet even those who have lived, as I believe I have, with a fairly minimal footprint, are leaving behind a huge environmental deficit. If John (and others of course) knew that in 1979, it is so much more the truth now, and we all must own up to that fact.

When I was that age, I used to think there was a great divide between those who graduated high school in 1964 and those who came afterwords (I was class of ’68).  Later I realized it happens every generation, some live differently then others, even as they have the same choices. Some have babies, some don’t. Some live without a large footprint, others give it all they can, buying every last thing that strikes them as useful, if only for a moment.

I often thought over the years as I worked in the live arts and entertainment business how seriously wasteful it can be, putting a show up and then tearing it down days or weeks later, using enormous amounts of electricity to light a tiny stage, and I thought that was something of an irony. Everything we do is for the moment (save perhaps when a show runs for many years). But of course it is a business, the performing arts business for those of you so inclined, and questions of sustainability in it’s products’ manufacture and life cycle seem somewhat absurd.

Now, as I finish out my career, I find myself longing for change. Part of that change is to live more simply (I hear my friends laughing “More Simply?”) and I am looking at moving to a place where I don’t need warm clothes, or to heat or cool my home, little in the way of personal transportation, and my food is grown or caught within a few miles of my home. Also, being outdoors all day long and paying attention to what is around me, both flora and fauna, seem desirable for this last phase. Not much else.

Yet I have to recognize that without all of you contributing all that you already do such a life would be impossible for me. So thanks. In advance.

And I hope we prove Mr. Fowles to have erred.



Author: RJMS