Monday, April 06, 2009

Getting Somewhere

Last Thursday, I once again did something that over my entire career, I have done a lot.

It goes something like this. You get in the car or plane at the break of day and you spend half of the day getting somewhere. And once you get there, after a getting out and inspecting a few things, you come right back. It's a little bit like running I guess.

Wind resource guys like myself are kind of a special breed I suppose. You have to love the land and the earth so much, that you enjoy just moving around on it. And even though you very much have a destination, it's not really where you are going.

All this means that in order to do what guys like me do, you have to be happy with where you are. Because when you do get to where you want to go, you immediately leave again. Sure, you might be back, and you might be back a lot if the project begins to develop.

I don't know if all wind guys or for that matter solar guys feel like I do, but there's something really special about transporting three or four hundred miles to look at a place, then turning around , hopefully arriving home before the end of the day.

This particular trip was a bit like time travel. Just three hundred miles north of here, it's still almost winter. The grass and the trees still look like winter. Flowers are just now beginning to bloom as spring is just now showing its remarkable splendour.

Of course, I know the site from the maps and from flying around it on Google Earth with their cool new flight simulator, but nothing beats actually being there. "Being there" is essential. Chauncey had it right.

Maybe its a product of age or simply a return to our natural condition, but I very rarely actually look forward to getting somewhere these days. That "somewhere" is more like a mirage on a long stretch of hot road. It doesn't exist.

What does exist is Now. I know that this statement is a bit trite and it certainly is overused in certain metaphysical circles; but, I also realize that "Being in the Now" is much older than Ram Das or Eckart Tolle.

When I was a child, my life was all about waiting. I would wait for my favorite TV show, the all important ball game, my date with Marsha, or to finally get my drivers licence and the car I had been saving for. I would count the tractor rows left on the field, and the cattle waiting to be squeezed and dehorned. When I became a musician, I would eagerly await the lights and excitement of the gig.

Over the last seven years, I have been writing a book called "Beyond". And the first chapter is "Doors", the door of the eternal moment to be exact. Since I finally have the cover and the chapter art, the liner notes, the manuscript itself, and all the folks and resources to get the book published, I suspect that we're getting there.

This being said, you can't confuse "being present" with being complacent.

Quite the opposite in fact.

"Being present" does not mean that we ignore the future, or that we forget the past. Electing Barack Obama is, was, and will be one of the most significant developments in redirecting our course on this earth. But, the momentum of our culture is immense.

Last Thursday, as I was chasing the Wind, George Monbiot was describing the G 20 meeting. Here is the text of the G20 communique, in compressed form.

"We, the Leaders of the Group of Twenty, will use every cent we don't possess to rescue corporate capitalism from its contradictions and set the world economy back onto the path of unsustainable growth. We have already spent trillions of dollars of your money on bailing out the banks, so that they can be returned to their proper functions of fleecing the poor and wrecking the Earth's living systems. Now we're going to spend another $1.1 trillion. (clip)

Oh - and we nearly forgot. We must do something about the environment. We don't have any definite plans as yet, but we'll think of something in due course." (clip)

This suggests to me that our leaders have learnt nothing from the financial crisis. It was caused by allowing powerful agents (the banks) to exploit a common resource (the global economy) without proper control or regulation. Governments deployed a form of magical thinking: that the boom would go on forever, that a bunch of predatory psychopaths would regulate themselves, that profits, dividends and share prices could grow indefinitely even though they bore no relation to actual value.

They treat the environmental crisis the same way. Climate breakdown, peak oil and resource depletion will all dwarf the current financial crisis, in both financial and humanitarian terms."

Once our leaders, and their followers

discontinue their belief in infinite growth on a finite planet,

and they toss out the "magical thinking" that such tomfoolery demands,

We'll be Getting Somewhere.

But they're not there Now.

And we can't wait.

Earthfamily Principles
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Earthfamilyalpha Content
art courtesy of Charlie Tomorrow

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oz -

You're good. You better take me on your next road trip!

Guess who?

8:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Chris Martenson pointed out on his blog, that "this is why “unlocking the credit markets” is pure fiction.

Nothing needs to be unlocked. What we need is to recognize the vast damage that we did to ourselves as we elevated and then clung to a set of falsehoods.

The interesting part, as is always true of every bubble, is looking back and wondering how it is that we ever believed these falsehoods.

It never made sense that one country could consume wildly beyond its production forever.
One cannot borrow and consume one’s way to greater prosperity.
It is not possible for an economy to be 80% service based, at least not sustainably. Assets are variable but debts are fixed, can be broadened to include the claim that incomes are variable but debts are fixed.

That same spike in debt-to-GDP that weighed down the US during the Great Depression is now set to vault to some new stratospheric record of possibly 500% or 600% or more.

And the choices for reversing this ratio to a manageable level, notwithstanding Paulson’s confusing alphabet soup array of government bailout programs, are quite limited.

Pay the debts down
Default on them
Inflate them away
That’s it. Those are all the options.

5:51 AM  

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