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Published 12:31 pm Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Conservation Corner

I just finished reading a book named Hegemony or Survival, written nearly 20 years ago by Noam Chomsky. The book is excellent, but not an easy read. Since I’m a slow reader and can only concentrate on a deep subject for a while before being distracted, I read a chapter every morning while my mind was empty and could take in the information. That first cup of coffee certainly helped. 

I recommend the book to anyone who is interested in going beneath the surface of what some media outlets are telling us, particularly with reference to our massive buildup of nuclear power capabilities in outer space. The premise that makes it all acceptable is that the proliferation of arms is all done for ‘defense’, to deter the rest of the world powers from attacking the US and its global interests. Most of this is in response to the globalization of the world economy. The reason is that globalization is expected to bring about a “widening between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have-nots’. We all know that this is happening in our country and throughout the world. Even though it  has all been happening  for many, many years, we do not notice because we are in the company of “the haves”. 

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It’s all pretty depressing. Here’s a quote from philosopher Bertrand Russell: “After ages during which the earth produced harmless trilobites and butterflies, evolution progressed to the point at which it has generated Neros, Genghis Khans, and Hitlers. This, however, I believe is a passing nightmare; in time the earth will become again incapable of supporting [human] life, and peace will return.”

Now, that brings us down into a state of depression, yet we all can intuit that Mr. Russell’s prediction may be true. What do we do? How can we respond to this depressing scenario? In response to Mr. Russell’s dire prediction, here is Noam Chomsky’s quote at the end of his book: “No doubt the projection is accurate on some dimension beyond our realistic contemplation. What matters is whether we can awaken ourselves from the nightmare before it becomes all-consuming, and bring a measure of peace and justice and hope to the world that is, right now, within the reach of our opportunity and our will.”

Easier said than done, right? But we’re not quitters, and those of you who are reading this “corner” have chosen to live in Polk County or northern Spartanburg County because it is a place where you know your neighbor and the grocer and the librarian. You remember the saying “Think globally, act locally.”  I would embellish that old maxim by saying “Watch what is happening globally, and do something different for the sake of life on this fragile earth.” 

Yeah, easier said than done, but “we can do it.”  Each of us has a calling, and we all care. Every day I remember being taught by my mother that my ‘charge’ was to leave the world a better place for my having been here. I’m lucky because I have found my ‘calling’, which is to work with my neighbors to save as much land as we can while we’re still on Earth, so that the trees will be able to provide clean air for our grandchildren. Think of what you can do to leave the world better thanks to you. Shop locally. Use our local library. Here’s one thing that I want to do: petition our state government to change the property taxation system that is based upon ‘comparable sales’, which hurts the poor next door neighbor who has sold nothing. Or, here’s another one to combat our packaging epidemic: remove unwanted and unnecessary plastic wrapping in front of the store (and get your friends to do the same), letting store owners haul the trash to the dump. Or, take your neighbor’s children for a walk in the woods. Or, volunteer at a non-profit where your talents will be most useful. Start thinking. What can you give here, in this small community, that will make it better for the future.

There’s a group of us old ‘hippies’  from around Saluda who used to belong to an organization called Beyond War. The motto for that organization is “Together we can build a world beyond war”. It’s true. So let’s get to work. Time is of the essence!