Thursday, July 30, 2009

Life Energy

An interesting speaker on a recent NPR program captured my attention as he opined that we live in a “culture of anticipation”. Perhaps that is what is wrong with all of us. We are always anticipating the next event. No one is content to sit and simply accept the NOW ! No one wants to simply listen to their own heartbeat.

Well, for my money, such a non-activity sounds pretty boring all right! Does this mean that I am an adrenalin junkie? Nope, and neither are most of the rest of us that are still alive. Sitting and watching a beautiful landscape is okay. Watching the birds and the clouds is okay. But just sitting and not even being engaged in reflection? Man, you gotta be stoned or, in my world, very weird.

This is not a cultural trait as much as it is a trait indigenous to our species. I believe that everyone, outside of some practitioners of certain mystical eastern religions, lives a life of anticipation to some extent. Because we are cognizant of a past, present and a future, we cannot help but wonder what that future holds for us. As we age, the envisioning of those events can become depressing for a lot of individuals. The reason for the depression is that we direct our attention to a long term future of which we cannot be a part.

I believe the solution to this problem is to envision and be a part of events in which we can expect to be a participant in the future. The tree we plant today will shelter our descendants within its shade and provide those descendants with fruit many years from now.

If we view ourselves as a form of energy that is expended over time, you begin to see why I believe it is imperative to exercise some thought in the choice of the individual activities that will fill that time period. Because my dog cannot imagine tomorrow’s bowl of dog food, he won’t think about it until I begin to fill the food bowl. At that moment, he will realize that food time is now! And he will jump around in his exultation and anticipation of the food he sees that he is about to receive.

In that same way, a lot of people waste their precious energy on activities that fill their day but do nothing to make the world of today a better place for eons of tomorrows. For instance, gobs of activities are out there upon which we can expend our life energy.

Certainly the first item upon which we are required to spend some life energy is insuring that we maintain that energy as long as possible through the process of eating. In order to eat, we must usually earn money through some process. Some of us, however, have finished that portion of our lives where we are required to work for food--or so we think. We believe that our pensions, savings or other entity will provide for our future. Let's rethink that subject.

The world is presently entering an era where population, always expanding exponentially, is bereft of the means of individual energy maintenance. At least there is not be the means to maintain the individual energies of everyone on the globe.

But wait! We have been there before. Starvation, plague and war have done their part to resolve the issue in previous times. In addition, our knowledge has expanded and permitted increased agriculture productivity and medical advances. A globe intertwined with trade and commercialism has also aided the cause. Accordingly, a normal question to ask is why should we not expect the situation to continue?

The question of whether the situation will continue is one that can safely, absent a nuclear Holocaust, be answered in the affirmative.. At the same time, remember that the depth and breadth of the situation to be treated by natural means (starvation and disease) may be much, much larger as many more individuals will soon face the life effacing tonic required to cure an ailing world.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Canada: Pointing The Way Forward?

For more than a year now, with minor exceptions, we have explored the idea of the coming new age and its requirement for greater cooperation in the utilization of limited resources on a finite planet burdened by an exponentially expanding human population.

Presently, we observe a process where greater regulation of the forces of self interest that drive economic development is taking place everywhere with the result, hopefully, of an era of increased cooperation for all folks. These efforts can be seen in the development of alternative energy production, increased conservation techniques, and an overall return to a simpler way of living.

A recent tour of Canadian’s Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and New Brunswick provinces presented a wonderful illustration of a bucolic existence which could be instructive for inhabitants of the United States.

A trip some years ago to the climes of northern Quebec province’s Kuujjuaq area in search of the not-so-elusive caribou, offered little to compare with the recent Canadian experience we enjoyed this time with Tauck Tours. Arriving in Halifax, Nova Scotia, we began a truly professional tour orchestrated by Rob White. Impressive with his knowledge of historical, political and economic facts of the current scene, White took us through a primer of how Canada does it. His techniques included something for everyone.

Since our concern revolves around resource conservation, notable observations included: Composting toilets at Peggy’s Cove, wind turbines on the hills, and an emphasis everywhere on recycling. Of course, we would be remiss not to mention the view of farming techniques of the past offered by a tour of the home and grounds of the late Maud Montgomery, author of Anne of Green Gables. Those techniques and mechanisms have value for a future where energy will be scarcer.

Obviously, we have only scratched the surface of these provinces. Much more could be said about our journey with regard to the art, history, music and other marvels we saw and appreciated on this trip.

So, if you are interested in obtaining a glimpse of a better future, travel to our neighbor to the North for a respite from the hot, humid climate of summer. You will love the flowers, the sea, the food (especially Cow’s Ice Cream) and the wonderful people of these Canadian provinces. We definitely intend a return visit to Canada, hopefully with Tauck Tours and the instructive Rob White.