What have you done today to lower your impact?

We are washing away the foundations of our existence on every front. It is high time we move from crashing about on the planet like a bull in china shop and find a way to go forward with intent. We must find systems of living based on sustainability. The systems and tools exist, it is up to each of us to adopt them.

Blog Archive

Saturday, 2 January 2010

"Questionnaire" by Wendell Berry and child mortality

Thanks to FamousPoetsandPoems.com for the image of Wendell Berry.

Hundreds of thousands of children die every year due to water borne diseases resulting from a lack of access to clean drinking water, at the same time western consumers export millions if not billions of gallons of water from the developing world in the form of products, agricultural and otherwise.

Meanwhile this globalized network of plunder is destroying the stability of our planetary climate. Climate change is already increasing child mortality. As reported at Health News

"Citing a number of explanations backing up their finding, the report said that climate change already affects 250 million people - half of them being children - in a year.

“In the next 20 years, it is estimated that climate change and other factors will increase the number of people affected by disasters by more than 300 percent. Already climate change is affecting children’s health and access to food and water,” the report said.

Change in climatic conditions, which cause floods and increasing temperatures, further cause child killer diseases like malaria and diarrhoea.

“Malaria already kills 800,000 children under five each year. Rising temperatures will increase the geographical range and seasonality of the disease. In some areas where temperatures were previously low enough to keep malaria at bay - like the Kenyan highlands - the average temperature has increased so as to increase the risk of transmission,” the report said.

“If global temperatures increase by two degrees, an additional two-three million people will experience water stress, thus contributing to water borne diseases,” it added."

All to feed our desire for, in the words of Wendell Berry from an interview on Progressive Radio, "utterly worthless stuff that is worthless and unnecessary when it is made and sold to us and when we throw it away becomes substantially worse than nothing", leaving an almost indestructible legacy of toxicity.

(a poem by Wendell Berry)

1. How much poison are you willing
to eat for the success of the free
market and global trade? Please
name your preferred poisons.

2. For the sake of goodness, how much
evil are you willing to do?
Fill in the following blanks
with the names of your favorite
evils and acts of hatred.

3. What sacrifices are you prepared
to make for culture and civilization?
Please list the monuments, shrines,
and works of art you would
most willingly destroy.

4. In the name of patriotism and
the flag, how much of our beloved
land are you willing to desecrate?
List in the following spaces
the mountains, rivers, towns, farms
you could most readily do without.

5. State briefly the ideas, ideals, or hopes,
the energy sources, the kinds of security,
for which you would kill a child.
Name, please, the children whom
you would be willing to kill.

----Wendell Berry

Thanks to Democratic Underground for the text of this poem.

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