By Paul Myers
– Piece originally published in The Gibsons Farm Collective Newsletter –
Many years ago I took a flight from Seattle to Missoula, Montana, an unforgettable experience for one reason and one only: it was the first time I saw just how thoroughly the logging industry has touched our landscape. Almost from takeoff to landing I sat with face to glass, stunned at mile after mile of clear cut. It seemed like the whole world had a bad haircut. Yesterday I had a shimmer of that memory while on another low altitude flight, this time from Edinburgh to London. Of course, England long ago lost most of its forests, and even any sizable tract of wilderness. But my surprise this time was not about denuded landscapes. This time it was about full landscapes; specifically, the ever-present glow of lights for the entire duration of the flight. There seemed to be nowhere left that was not lit. Even more, was the ubiquitous automobile. Everywhere cars, luminescent blood vessels by night. And as we dropped to 1,000 feet on approach, there was a certain madcap hurriedness below, like legions of petrol-burning ants. Legions indeed. 400 million gallons of refined gasoline are consumed around the world every day. Despite the efforts toward ‘fuel efficiency’, world consumption of oil continues to rise. In fact, it looks like 2018 will finish out at the all-time high of 100 million barrels of crude a day. Wrap your mind around that number if you can (I can’t). A spin through the supermarket here likewise had me agog, this time at the oil-now-plastic packaging of everything, and I mean everything (bananas? really?). I went past row after row of single-use, quasi-food items with entirely superfluous added colour, crinkle, and crackle. Sheesh.
We have our work yet to do then. For of course, no nation or land is not radically different from another yet, where there are both the hard truths such as those I just described, and the hopeful gains for those with ambition to live prudent in this world with no new wildernesses. Friends of healthy, local, unwrapped food, stay the course. A change is gonna come.