Reading Paul Roberts’ book, The Impulsive Society, I am reminded how all things are interconnected. It is impossible for us to rectify social problems without first rectifying the economic problems. However, economic problems will be beyond us as long as the political problems ensue. These connections are simple enough to recognize. However, the connectivity does not stop there. In fact, it only begins.
Roberts’ book has to do with social, economic and political interconnectivity, but working in the garden and hiking in the mountains reminds one that the important connections are not social, economic or political at all: they are environmental; environmental on a global scale.
In reading classic philosophical texts (Adam Smith, John Locke, Thomas Jefferson f.ex) it seems that the writers and thinkers of the time realized this, but we have, in our modern and technologically advanced societies, seemed to have lost the capacity for recognizing the “bigger” picture. Roberts’ book compares the individual to the society, but perhaps a more apt comparison is that between human beings and the environments we live in, the greatest environment being the planet as a whole.
I cannot help but think that the social, economic and political problems will continue to be inevitable as long as we view the planet upon which we live as our own personal trashcan. Such thoughts are not consoling, but they seem to be true nevertheless. Such thoughts, however, are often the seed of actions. As we all know, or ought to know, we are on an environmental precipice; we all have heard the global issues that we face not only as nations, but as a species.
Problems faced as a species cannot be rectified by an individual, which goes against the grain of modern consumeristic thought that has pervaded most western societies. But, the fact remains that without society there are no freedoms. Just as in more natural environments: there is no free lunch. So, our social, our economic, and our political problems must (oddly enough) be addressed not from a social, an economic, or a political point of view, but from an environmental, a bio-diverse and even bio-centric point of view.
Think about that the next time you plant a non-GMO tomato or pepper, or the next time you take out some of your lawn to plant perennial, bee-friendly blooms. Consider being part of the solution when you ride a bike to work, or buy only local beef, pork, and chicken. Consider that planting a garden, being a locavore, or riding a bike is a socio-economic-political movement, a revolution, towards a better life for all individuals, human or not.