Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Future We Choose For Us and For Our Children

Guy McPherson's blog "Nature Bats Last" has some good articles, and the one I read today is particularly good.  It raises a particularly good point concerning the parents out there who happen to know of peak oil, our faltering ecological state and everything else.  McPherson writes that he personally knows people who know all these things and yet, decide not to take action to adjust their lifestyles because they want a "better world" for their children.  There appears to be, at least in my mind, a kind of cognitive dissonance in how this "better world" is defined.  These parents want their kids to have access to the technological goodies and modern conveniences that they and their parents/grandparents have enjoyed.  This could prove to be difficult in the years ahead, both due to energy scarcity and the increased loss of capital.  In addition, their notion of "protecting" their children from the somewhat harsh realities of these predicaments, in favor of a future that may very well fail to materialize, can do much more harm than good. 

I am not a parent, and almost certainly won't be in the future, but a common-sense approach that I'd advocate for those of you who are reading this, do have children, and see the world in a similar fashion as myself and people like Guy McPherson, is to teach your kids some form of self-reliance.  Give them chores and responsibilities that have as little to do with gadgetry and modernity as possible.  If you can't fully cut them off from the allure of television and video games, give them sparingly.  And teach them about the history of the world and the circumstances that have led us to this point.  People may think that that's too much for a child to withstand, but I think that this is the best time to reach out to a child on these matters.  They are easy to reach and are not yet stuck in a certain way of doing things.  The alternative is much worse.  Don't hide them from the truth and don't let them become so deluded that a path to a middle-class lifestyle (or the life that you as a parent currently live) is possible, even as that lifestyle becomes harder and harder to achieve and maintain.  I speak from some form of experience, but my parents, like many others, simply could not see the signs.  In the present, that is not an excuse, as the signs of collapse appear to be everywhere, and the only reason one cannot see them is because they simply are not paying attention.

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