I’ve been watching some of the ecological end of the world programmes. I have no reason to doubt their veracity. It’s all stuff I’ve known about for a very long time. Frankly, I’m amazed we’ve made it this far.
It’s certainly true that the world is unlikely to end for a very long time. However, it seems increasingly likely that the world will stop supporting us, the human race, in the style to which we have become accustomed.
We have choices to make… We need to re-evaluate what is important in so many ways. We need to think about why we revere some people, but not others. We need to decide whether the cult of the celebrity is healthy or not. Personally I find it so unhealthy it’s frightening. That someone can be famous for being famous is a complete nonsense.
The people we revere are frequently a strange choice. In British culture we seem to think that footballers and actors are worth looking up to. I still can’t work out why. People who have practical skills or who care about other people don’t seem to be at all popular. That mystifies me too.
There is one writer who I, along with many thousands of other people around the world, revere. That is Sir Terry Pratchett. He is a hero to many because of his sharp eye, ready wit and huge compassion. Another hero of mine also has these qualities, though he’s not as likely to make you laugh. Noam Chomsky is a fantastically intelligent political commentator (if you think Terry Pratchett isn’t, go and read and of his discworld books, or even “Nation”). Their ability to see through the superficial obfuscation to the root of political chicanery is truly impressive.
But other people are important to our general well-being. And as our society becomes more and more unstable, we need to look to those who produce our food. Increasingly people think food come off the shelf in the supermarket. The idea that it came from the ground, grown in dirt, is one that many people seem to struggle with. That is bizarre when you know that within living memory a very large proportion of the British population either worked, or lived, on the land.
The move away from rural life only really caught hold after the second world war. With the mechanisation of farming, many, many jobs disappeared. These were useful jobs, necessary jobs, that were no longer being done, because farming was being superseded by agribusiness.
Agribusiness is a complete anathema to farming. It has nothing to do with caring for the land. Agribusiness men have no feeling for the soil. They ARE the people who know the price of everything, but the cost of nothing. Farming is not the problem, agribusiness is.
Farmers have been driven off the land by business. As the supermarkets have tried to kill the independent shops, so the agribusinesses have, sometimes literally, killed the farmers. We now need to fight back. Against agribusiness, against supermarkets, against the “food industry”. The only way I can see to do that is to take a couple of steps back in time and to dig for victory!