It was slightly unnerving to watch the news report on the havoc the Icelandic volcano has wrecked upon continental Europe, causing the airline industry to shut down in the biggest crisis since the hours and days after 9/11/2001. As newscasters are apt to do, they throw out the monetary costs of the shut down, which I heard at least a billion dollars lost because of cancelled flights. Then there are the reports of people who found themselves stranded because they couldn't fly home (this is particularly true for North American travelers in the U.K. and continental Europe during this unusual event). Type A personalities aren't prone to dealing with changes in their well-organized go-go-go plans. Know what Mother Earth has to say about that? "Tough shit! Deal with it, bitches!"
I'm annoyed with the way the news slanted this story. Everything boils down to money lost and lives inconvenienced. It makes me want to yell at them: "Hello! We live on a living organism and our consumption-based lifestyles are wrecking havoc on our earth's ability to cope. Payback is a bitch." Instead of fretting about the loss of business or our schedules being interrupted, this rare event is something that should inspire humans to take a break from our routines and realize just how fragile our lives are. As if devastating earthquakes, tsunamis, tornados and hurricanes weren't enough reminders. So what if you have an extra, unplanned week in London? Enjoy it. So what if airline companies lose money? Our earth is breathing easier this week without all the jetfuel burned in our atmosphere.
I see this as a sign of more disasters to come. Humans better get used to it. We simply cannot afford to continue doing business the same old way of unlimited growth, record quarterly projections, and having more of everything. There is a price to pay for all of this. Is all of our busy-ness in commerce truly necessary? It appears to me that mass production of goods has finally resulted in low wage jobs and high unemployment. Perhaps its time humans returned to a Renaissance economy, in which people had specialized trades and took their time to create homes, furniture, clothing, art, and other products. Do we really need all the crap that Walmart pushes on its low wage earner shoppers?
I'm not naive in realizing that humans will move on to the next crisis after the Icelandic volcano is a forgotten nightmare. After all, in the post-9/11 period, reporters liked to say that Americans became more aware of the world around them and valued their relationships with family and friends. That may have been true in the days, weeks, and months after that tragedy, but it didn't take long before the shallow American celebrity culture to come roaring back with a vengeance. We have even more celebrity gossip magazines AFTER 9/11 than before. On a personal level, I have found that Americans aren't more aware of the world. The same people who were interested in global affairs before 9/11 have continued with their interests and education, but those who never traveled overseas and tend to view foreigners as all out to kill us, they are still consuming the bad mix of greasy fast food, cheap plastic shit from China, and the glossy celebrity gossip rags that demand our attention in every grocery store check-out line. For them, ignorance is bliss.
I wish that humanity would get some depth. I'm tired of being thought of "strange" for my global vision of the world and how different society can look if we completely change our business model to focus on quality instead of quantity. Improving the quality of our lives with less is good policy and Mother Nature will thank us.
In a Google-image search, I came across the above photo of an old version of a classic James Bond novel. What better represents what life is all about than that image? Its pretty sexy, but what I like about it is that while the Volcano is spewing its lava (a sign of our very alive planet), a man and woman are embracing each other, watching the spectacle. In the end, they have each other. No clothing, no property. Just an inflatable raft and nothing better to do than make love to each other. Love. Its all about the love. Love for each other, love for our planet. That's a powerful idea to change our world. Remember...its all about quality, not quantity. In every facet of our lives. Is anyone listening?