Saturday, April 2, 2011

Gasp of Normality

April 1:  My projections of a world population peak and crash felt unusually personal as I woke up this morning, even as the prospects improved that I would be employed soon. I pushed away the feeling, and for one day pretended that my main problem was surviving the recession and paying off debt. In the afternoon's job interview, I focused on the immediate requirements of the job, which included whether the work environment would be a good fit. In short, I lived in temporary denial, reacting to events as if they were not part of a larger context, but rather points on either side of a more simple extrapolation of normal life.

Of course, the thoughts came back with a vengeance when my duties were done. The familiar jaw-tightening, digestive discomfort, and tension headache surged as I reviewed the day's news and thought about the backstories and potential futures of the people and animals I had directly encountered. The title of yesterday's Comment of the Day seemed to hold a special significance: “Energy for a Dying World.” That's what I was helping to do, enabling a last gasp of normality for me and my fellow planet-killers as our victim groaned in agony. Emerging from the normality, I was once again reminded what an aberration it was becoming.

Last night, I learned that radiation from Japan's damage nuclear plant was being found in the U.S. food supply, and it wasn't necessarily a sure thing that the Food and Drug Administration would be testing for it. There was some discussion in the news that the levels found so far were “safe,” which was far from comforting. Meanwhile, the poor victims near the epicenter of the quake that started it all were fighting incredible odds just to hang on, dealing with much higher contamination as well, and facing the prospect that the exports that might help them recover could be banned from the global marketplace. To me, it was one of the more egregious examples of dangerous waste as a natural byproduct of economic activity, whose costs could always be measured in terms of pain and death. If we were all mature, responsible people who cared more about life than power, minimizing such waste and controlling its dispersion would be a no-brainer; but we aren't, it isn't, and our collective future is more bleak because of it.

I went to bed thinking about this, and tonight I will do the same. Tomorrow won't be a normal day, just another step along the way to finding hope grounded in reality while keeping the stress of what I know from overwhelming me.

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