We are in the midst of a hot, humid day. Its dry and the transplants are suffering as we try to find the balance between encouraging deep root growth and preventing dehydration. Being so close to the ocean one is reminded that water can be everywhere and there be no drop to drink. The water saturated air literally takes my breath away.

This morning we strolled down to the village for some coffee and a light breakfast. Actually, Jennie strolled and I rode the disability scooter. It was pleasantly cool and the light was lovely.

On the way home we passed the local yacht sales room. This set me to thinking about the conundrums inherent in our way of life. On one hand, we want to have access to the ocean without sacrificing comfort, on the other hand our consumption of fossil fuels is literally killing the ocean. (Yes, we have finally turned on the AC.)

The sea is still beautiful, calming, and oh so pleasant to dangle one’s feet in, even as it becomes increasingly acidic and barren, forcing many species into starvation. I find it difficult to get my head around the notion that we can “sacrifice” the Amazon, the oceans, and much insect life and expect to continue to breathe and eat, let alone have any semblance of soul. Our blatant disregard of other kinds of life, to say nothing of our collective hubris, surely bodes ill for us.

This brings to mind another conundrum. Most of us desire some sense of control over our day to day lives, and much political rancor arises from this. (After all, one person’s preferred way of being is another person’s nightmare, making sane collective decision making very difficult.) The problem is that in a system as complex as the Earth, the variables quickly overwhelm our capacity for control.

This is the bane of politicians who encourage various pipe dreams of control, only to have the chaotic nature of systems destroy those dreams, creating voter rage and payback. Too often, even the semblance of caring about people and planet is only for show, obscuring the greed driving decision making and the conundrum that greed and stewardship are incompatible; even stewardship smacks of our desire for control.

I sometimes suspect that those in power hope to squeeze maximum profit from fossil fuels now, then profit from environmental cleanup later. Maybe they figure most people in the future won’t notice they are living in a barren, silent, lonely world. Then again, maybe they will.

4 thoughts on “Conundrums

  1. With that last paragraph, you hit the nail on the piton, as we Franco-Americans would say. Also, I expect the ultra rich figure they will be able to insulate themselves from the worst of the climate crisis.

    1. I imagine you are right, Laurie. I suspect they will not be able to insulate themselves against all the storms coming our way. Hubris is like that. By the way, there is a group of ultra-wealthy folks who have figured that out and want to change things for the better, and for everyone. It seems an uphill battle. Let’s wish them well.

  2. Nicely written, Michael. I, too, share your “conundrums” or conflicts. I really do want to do right by the world but I also want to “use” the environment to make us comfortable enough to live a rewarding life as we are moving into old age. Then I get discouraged when I realize that working to improve the environment in one way causes destruction in another way. You are right, the system is very complex with no easy answers and without major adjustments within our social definition of capitalism.

    1. Hi Pat, It is all very curious as Alice once said. I’m trying to keep an eye on the beauty around me, in part so I don’t sink into despair. Try as I might, I still have a large carbon footprint. I believe we are i one of those moments that require cooperation on a massive scale if things are to change. Of course that is challenging when so many fight meaningful change at every turn. I’ve been reading about the Bloomsbury Group and their uncanny ability to find joy even in the midst of war. Inspiring. (Also of course, Virginia could not do that in he end.)

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