Interdependent Web

Pretty sappy, huh? It’s Unitarian. Comes from those tree-hugging, ozone-worrying softies who can’t appreciate a good steak and don’t know how to chug a beer. And steak is our American god-given manna from heaven right? I mean, steak happens. Why wonder where it comes from? That’s for wimps. And those who hate us for our freedom. Yeah. Hooah.

Millennia ago a group of humans developed a technology that enabled them to live in the most inhospitable corner of our planet– up in the Arctic Circle in the dark and the cold. There the wandering tribe who had evolved in the equatorial regions of Africa found themselves at the end of their Northward trek. Without fur or fangs they had to live with the bears and the wolves. These people survived and thrived. They were smart.

They found an equilibrium with their adopted home. Those who could live in that harsh environment did, and their children carried on. Cold and beasts could not defeat them. But there were other natural predators. Their own kind were moving North, from the opposite hemisphere.

The Canadians and Americans had technology evolved from the temperate regions of Europe and the New World. Their religion came from the deserts of the Middle East. They had the hubris of young nations in the sway of Manifest Destiny, or Civilization. The native people were way outgunned. Their ability to survive from the land was up against bigotry, alcohol, and the seduction of the newcomer’s technology.

So today, the Americans who are Native Alaskans are both the inheritors of this ancient technology, and really up against it. Should we feel sorry for them? Or are they pioneers of the future?

Here is a diary from a woman who lives on the edge of the Arctic wilderness in the 21st century, being a 21st century Alaskan girl, Ann Strongheart blogs…

January 24, 2009
Today my husband and I decided to travel the 25 miles to Emmonak to get groceries. Here is what getting groceries entails in Nunam Iqua.
We got up and had to build a fire as the house was getting chilly and we had run out of stove oil a couple of days ago. Then we made coffee, using water that we had packed the night before from the watering point across the village. We took a 30 gallon Rubbermaid trash can (our water bucket) that we use STRICTLY for water storage across to the other side of the village and with two tokens (tokens are one dollar each) we got 20 gallons of water. We went across by snow machine towing our sled with the water bucket in it. Once we filled it we carefully brought it back across to our house and then lifted it out of the sled and up the steps into our porch and then into the house.

Read the rest, if you dare, because the preceding was the easy part. Wait’ll you see their grocery bill. Never mind their heating bill.

We are on the cusp of a minor Celtic holiday, Imbolc, or Candlemas, celebrated on February 2nd. This is when we achieve a 10 hour day, which is a relief to all who have been getting depressed in the early dark and relentless chill. But we don’t have to chip ice to melt water for coffee, so we might count our blessings. That’s the Catholic in me speaking.

While I’m at it, let me acknowledge the Central American farmers who grow the coffee that I buy from a fair trade company, Rhode Island’s own New Harvest, right outta Pawtucket. Rhode Island can roast ‘em, but we can’t grow ‘em. For that we need to import.

Still, we are a fertile and temperate land, on a planet that has vast wildernesses hot and cold. Yes, it drizzles, but we can deal with it. February is the worst, I think, but by June it will start to get nice. Hang in there.

And this summer when you see the farmer’s markets, be glad that your local farmer doesn’t have to ship those apples 5,000 miles across a frozen wasteland at a cost of $10.00 an apple. And support your local farmer. You might need her some day.


4 thoughts on “Interdependent Web

  1. It’s nice that you patronize a fair trade company.
    Eric Holder was the water carrier for Chiquita Banana,not quite a fair trade company.Aside from fronting for international scoundrel extraodinaire Marc Rich and the FALN terrorists.
    A little tarnish on the “dream”administration?
    My father in law grew up in Honduras working for the dreaded United Fruit Company as a laborer.The UFC is still the stuff of socialist nightmare rants from spoiled rich “revolutionaries”at Brown and other liberal bastions.
    Well,my father in law got a lowly job as a wiper in the engine room of a UFC cargo ship and he and his brother immigrated legally to the USA in 1940.Just in time for WW2.My father in law joined the US Merchant Marine and was sunk on one occasion by a U Boat,later serving in the invasions of Normandy and Antwerp.His brother served in the US Army for 27 years,including landing at Normandy.Neither of these men were even naturalized until after WW2.
    I hear a lot of slogans and heated rhetoric and feelgood statements.Sometimes the truth is a little elusive and takes more than a cussory glance to discern.
    So while I am not campaigning to clean up the image of the United Fruit Company,if it weren’t for them,I’d never have met my wife and had a family.Life is never simple.

  2. Sappy? It’s not just religious mumbo-jumbo, but science-based reality. I can provide a wealth of evidence to support that, and will be happy to do so if you will provide the same in support of its falseness…OK? In the mean time, I’ll offer you a few sappy thoughts from obviously naive people;

    “There are no solitary, free-living creatures. Every for of life is dependent on other forms.
    The great successes in evolution—the mutants that have made it—have done so by fitting in and
    sustaining, the rest of life.”

    — Lewis Thomas

    “We are going to have to find ways of organizing ourselves cooperatively, sanely, scientifically,
    harmonically and in regenerative spontaneity with the rest of humanity around earth…We are not
    going to be able to operate our spaceship earth successfully nor for much longer unless we see it
    as a whole spaceship and our fate as common. It has to be everybody or nobody.”

    — Buckminster Fuller

    “The religion of the future will be a cosmic religion. It should transcend definitions of God,
    and avoid dogmas and theology. Covering both the natural and the spiritual, it should be
    based on a religious sense arising from the experience of all things, as a meaningful unity.”

    — Albert Einstein

  3. As always Nancy thanks for the provocative discussion, and Ron thanks for the quote they speak to today’s world (those who are listening) more than ever.

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