Living the Change – notes from one watcher

Living the Change was the film shown by Transition Towns Kaitaia in May.

There is no such place as “away’’ – everything is connected on this one planet.

Western culture’s capitalist system is based on endless growth – an impossibility on a planet with finite resources, and counter to human needs for community and peace. It poses an ‘existential threat to our species’ (Charles Eisenstein).

The negative impact of interest, in money terms, is largely hidden in our society, e.g. if a business takes a loan, its customers pay the interest on the loan through higher prices. Most people could cut work hours in half and still maintain the same standard of living if it weren’t for interest. (Helen Dew).

The current system uses massive amounts of energy, ‘just because it can’, but it is also massively inefficient, e.g. a single unit of energy in the form of supermarket food takes 10 units of fossil fuel energy to get onto the shelf – counting fossil fuels used in seed distribution, spraying, tilling, planting, spraying/weeding, harvesting, transporting to factory, processing, packaging, transporting to store. (Charles Eisenstein).

A couple working towards zero waste in their home calculate that one bag of ‘rubbish’ represents 70 bags of waste (adding up all the materials used in production or manufacture/shipping, transporting/ processing/packaging/advertising/etc of the things in that rubbish bag).

Nature has evolved diversity as a way of developing resilience. Mono-agri/horticulture side-steps the diversity inherent in traditional/indigenous food production methods. It relies on fossil-fuel based mechanisation, and chemical herbicides, pesticides and fertiliser as tools to combat the soil impoverisation, insect predation and plant disease that result from a monoculture approach.

“Our technologies of control are seeding the breakdown of our resources and our civilisation”. The science shows we must leave all new sources of energy in the ground – as well as leave unburnt most of the oil and coal reserves that we already have above ground! We will have drastically less energy to use than we do now, and the vast bulk of it will have to come from renewables like solar, wind, water, geothermal and wood.

It will be impossible to maintain our current way of life by substituting fossil fuel with renewables – you need fossil-fuels to manufacture & distribute wind turbines, solar panels, dams, geothermal units, supply lines. This means production of renewables will have to take priority over any other use of fossil fuels – farming, transport, heating, air travel, oil-based plastics, etc. The only hope of our survival into the future is for us to drastically cut our use of, and reliance upon, energy of all types. (Dr S. Krumdieck, Massey University).

We are ‘inter-being’ – all in relationship with each other and the whole ecosystem of Earth – we cannot separate ourselves or our actions from the rest of Nature. If we were truly in love with our planet, we would develop systems and relationships that were life-enhancing, not life-limiting. (Charles Eisenstein).

By Gill Minogue

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