Creative Commons: by Chris Devers, Flickr
These days everyone is busy busy busy. In fact we become so busy that we don’t have time to socialize. Let’s think back six hundred years to those good old feudal times. If you weren’t some rich noble gathering the tithes then you were either a farmer or a merchant. In either case you worked from sun-up probably near to sundown. Winters meant doing more work inside, mending and preparing for the planting season. Everyone, whether bakers or dyers or smiths, worked long hours. But they stopped in time for dinner and spending time with their families in the evening.
With the advent of industrialized society some aspects eased for a person’s life. We no longer had to tend animals, weave our own cloth, sew our own clothes, cook and prepare all of our dinners. Mass production made this easier while at the same time people began to worry about having no way to make a living as machines took over. We became a leisure society. Or did we?
We’re two to three hundred years into industrialization and we’re probably dealing with as much spare time as medieval Europe had. I’m like many people. I work a day job but I also freelance, to make ends meet, to have extra money. Our society has become so burdened by all those industrialized items that the cost of living has not equaled the everyday person’s wage. Houses (here in Vancouver at least) are astronomical in cost and two people have to work, plus have a rental suite just to afford to own one. Hockey tickets are out of the range of the average working family who might want to take the kids to see a game.
All great societies eventually fall, even Rome. In the past they often fell to invaders, but we are looking at a worldwide crisis with economy and culture. Riots happen, and many clashes still of ideologies and beliefs, overcrowding, lack of good water or food… we might be in our fall right now. So what comes next?
Unfortunately, building on a crumbling foundation will create more instability or lead us to the same problems time and again. Having a society based on always selling more, not just selling the same, means that it’s unsustainable. Soon we will not have enough space, time, money, land, food, water or merchandise. If we do continue with expanding populations, which give us more money, etc. then we risk and are already at risk of having no resources to support our planet. We will have more disease and more poverty, more pollution and more strife. You can see it happening already. Canada’s population is dropping somewhat. I don’t think that’s a bad thing. If everyone person only produced one child (so a couple could have two) then they would make a stable population that stayed the same.
In the middle ages the bubonic plaque wiped out a third of the known world’s population. It’s one way Mother Nature controls overpopulation. We’ve had H1N1, TB, E. Coli, etc. By the fact that there are more people, it will mean that more will die. As China and India,with over a third of the world’s population, industrialize and crave on the cars and machines that the world already has, we will see the consuming poison many places. I’m not sure what we can do about this but we have to change our culture and economy so that it is not built on constant growth. We cannot wait for someone else to do it but each of us must start from the ground up. Maybe’s it’s impossible and we’re doomed to implode, and start over in a smaller and simpler world devoid of much. And maybe it will change no matter what. We know for a fact that there have been civilizations (as in towns and cities) for at least 10,000 years, which is not long is the lifespan of the world or even humans for that matter (2.5 million years). But if we’re not careful we could be a small blip in breath of the planet.