A few days ago in Port Townsend I went to the local high school’s Students For Sustainability presentation on their reformist actions. They had a campaign for recycling and another campaign for reducing paper usage striving to get paper out of the classroom and be fully electronic. Both these campaigns from a sustainability standpoint are at least slightly missing the point if not totally counter productive. Recycling is fine, but reduce and reuse should come first. Also they didn’t have any composting on campus and no campaign to start that! On the paper campaign, paper is more “sustainable” than electronic technology. Paper could be made locally out of locally grown bamboo and/or hemp. While machines are not sustainable in any way, from toxic extraction of materials to toxic production in industrial factories in the global south with lower (if any) standards for the environment or rights of the laborers. Then the transportation of our stuff (including machines) uses fossil fuels as part of the culture destroying globalization nature of capitalism.
Today I went out to the clear cut in search of stinging nettles thinking they might be a pioneer plant and might be found there. All I found was carnage and destruction. A huge swath of stumps, right next to the trail that people hike and bike on. By far the most frustrating, saddening and hopeless place I have been in a while. One of the most frustrating aspects was that it was right next to the trail and happened anyway… Why didn’t people stop it? Stop whatever they were doing and stop the destruction of habitat, ecosystem, recreation. Maybe people accepted dejectedly that it was “a part of life,” “the economy”… Well economy and ecology and ecosystem all have the same prefix eco- which comes from ancient Greek oiko- meaning home or house. What justifies such constant rampant destruction? Industrial scale anything will always produce death in its wake. Weather its paper or machines on an industrial scale both are destructive!

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