Ed's thoughts

"One final paragraph of advice: Do not burn yourself out. Be as I am-a reluctant enthusiast... a part time crusader, a half-hearted fanatic. Save the other half of yourselves and your lives for pleasure and adventure. It is not enough to fight for the land; it is even more important to enjoy it. While you can. While it is still there. So get out there and mess around with your friends, ramble out yonder and explore the forests, encounter the grizz, climb the mountains. Run the rivers, breathe deep of that yet sweet and lucid air, sit quietly for a while and contemplate the precious stillness, that lovely, mysterious and awesome space. Enjoy yourselves, keep your brain in your head and your head firmly attached to your body, the body active and alive, and I promise you this much: I promise you this one sweet victory over our enemies, over those deskbound people with their hearts in a safe deposit box and their eyes hypnotized by desk calculators. I promise you this: you will outlive the bastards." - Ed Abby

Monday, May 31, 2010


In case you have not noticed, down-sizing has become part of 'the new normal.' My personal involvement this week was moving from a long board to a short board. The adjustment, however, like changes happening in Greece, Spain, Portugal, Ireland and the UK (so far), was not of my choosing. It was imposed upon me by forces beyond my control.

In other words, a fiberglass patch job on my second-hand longboard reached the end of its useful life. Like many Europeans, I am not exactly sure what happened to cause the disruption in business as usual. But in both cases it is probably due to too many patch jobs on top of patch jobs...

Cutbacks, austerity measures, down-sizing: whatever you want to call it, the transition period is difficult. Switching from a 9 foot board to a 7 foot board in one day is a significant adjustment. Paddling is easier on a long board. Catching waves is easier on a long board. The fact of the matter is that life on the board became 'harder.'

But there are up-sides. Carrying a short board for over a kilometer to the beach and back is significantly easier. And, I suppose, you could save money by using less wax on a short board. Duck diving and turning are easier as well. So, with everything else in life and the universe, for everything you lose you gain something.

Like others in the strong sustainability movement, I believe the austerity measures will ultimately benefit people and ecosystems. Living beyond one's means is not healthy for individuals, municipalities, states, nations, or planets. While I always thought it would be ecological limits that humanity bumped up against first, it appears that financial limits have nosed to a win at the finish line. This, in fact, is good news.

Finance is a man-made disaster. Economics is a field of philosophy, not science. Nature bats last. Ecological limits are real. While we can speculate about them, 'speculators' do not profit from betting against nature. (Although I am sure some are trying.) It is my great hope that austerity measures imposed by the global financial crisis will aid the transition toward more severe austerity imposed by climate change, peak oil, devastated marine fish stocks, soil erosion, etc.

Money is a human invention. It is meant to be a convenient means of exchanging goods and services. Your personal wealth does not equate to the richness of your life.

I have lived at 1/2 the U.S. poverty level for over a decade. I have always lived in beautiful places and eaten healthy, organic food. I have enough to buy fair trade coffee in the morning and cheap wine in the evening. I have plenty of time to read, write, surf and grow more vegetables. I used to call my situation 'self-imposed poverty.' Now, in order to stay current, I think I'll go with 'voluntary austerity.'

By the way, NPR reported that the last Hummer H3 to be manufactured by GM rolled off the line in Shreveport, Louisiana last week. I guess things are tough all over.

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