I hate the thought of coming back to this blog on a high horse of any kind, but I am a man of opinions, and I have been away learning, watching, and now I am here, addressing what this blog is about, and how it fits into the world today. Afraid this might come off as riding the high horse, but it is not meant to be more than just a bit of relevance based on what I do see going on in the world today. I am not here to preach to you, but just say it how I see it, and let you take it or leave it.
The Millennial Generation has got some legitimate complaints. They are coming up in a time when decent jobs are dependent upon getting a decent education, which is just not offered prior to college. They have to have a decent income to live out on their own, which cannot be come by without the education mentioned before. Don’t get me wrong, it can be done, but it is hard. So, they are almost forced into the education route, and it has to be done before starting a family. And even when they go that route, they will come out strapped with tens of thousands of dollars of debt that they will pay off in their lifetime if they are lucky.
I am speaking as a Generation X. I am from one of the generations that the Millennials blame for the world being what it is today. Those generations did some things though, besides ruin the world for your coming, and before you get on your high horse, I want you to remember a few thing yourself. You are in the jet age because of my parents and grandparents. You are in the Internet age because of our generations. You are fed year round just about anything you could ask for because of a world that was already here when you got here. Cars are better, and safer than ever before. Medicine has made tremendous advances. We have put people on the moon, and hardly think twice about sending them to a space station 250 miles above the Earth’s surface. Those video games you like to play? Already here. I could go on, and on. But there are other points to make too.
When we got here, we realized the world was on a dangerous course. We blamed our parents, just like you do yours. What’s more, we grew up and realized that they blamed their parents just the same. So, in part, what we are all going through is a collective experience. It is one where we are trying to do things like make a little money, or maybe a lot, and move ahead, making the world better for people. The ideas of what that is ranges from non-stick pans to smaller computers, to cheaply made and sold household cleaners. The list goes on and on. But no matter how long we carry on, the conclusion we come to is that the world is what it is, imperfect in so many ways, and still on a dangerous course. The pressure to correct that course is increasing with each generation, and the children of the Millennials are going to have a lot of questions for you. They are not going to take the finger pointing for an answer, either. They are going to want to know what YOU have done to correct it. And many of you are doing a lot, from coming up with ways of cleaning the oceans to reducing pollution and using less energy. Incidentally, I distinctly remember my mother telling me when I was six, that garbage could be disposed of in the oceans where it would sink to the bottom and never be seen again. I had my doubts.
Solutions to the world’s problems come in many forms, from new tech, to improving old tech, to even abandoning some tech altogether. The gasoline engine, for example, has pretty much run its course. Many in my generation can be see running to rural areas and doing what we call “homesteading,” which is an incorrect definition, as our great great grandparents did real homesteading, living on a piece of land and making it productive for seven years in order to have the land grated them by the US Government, in what was really an American land grab tied to Manifest Destiny. One could easily argue that that was the beginning of our troubles now, but the Native Americans might keep going back a ways.
There are many things that have changed dramatically, and many things that have not changed much at all. I’d like to say that we are eating from the same plate as we have been for generations, however, with he rise of processed foods and sugars in the American diet, it simple is not true, and the results are apparent in our health, body mass, and cancer rates. We exercise less as a whole, and live lives that just don’t require it. We don’t produce our own food, we don’t make our own clothes, we don’t have as much work to do just to get by, and along with that, many skills have been lost. My grandmother was making her first home in the 1950’s, when new technologies came into the kitchen to free her from it. Dishwashers, mixers, electric and gas ranges and ovens simplified the cooking process, and prepackaged foods made preparation a breeze. My mother’s generation talked about the food that grandma made, old family recipes, and those dangerous fatty foods they believed could be avoided by low fat foods instead. Her generation was drawn into a life where a meal could be prepared in under an hour, instead of cooking most of the day like her grandmother, and there was time to watch TV, instead of doing laundry, beating rugs, and running for fresh foods. She had more social time too, and until he housing prices were drive up by the market, she could make a home, rather than have to contribute to buying one. Then, as price competition drove housing prices up more, and other costs rose, she eventually found herself working a full time job just to afford the easy lifestyle she had come to expect. Finally the conveniences of her youth became the staples of survival in her old age. The prices keep rising, and we now find ourselves held by the throat by a system the edentures us to those who have money just to cover the basic costs of mere survival.
Adaptation is, and always has been the key to survival. For generations, humans have survived changing climates, changing environments, changing food sources, and have adapted to just about every environment on Earth. We have changed the environment along with us, and as it turns out, that may end up being the greatest danger we have faced as a species. We are going to run out of planet. My mother’s generation felt the same way, though. So, how do we adapt? That is a big part of what this blog is all about. It is me, doing what I can to change the status quo, and adapting to the environment we live in today. It is also me adapting to the economy of today. Some things we will explore here will be excellent for you, and some things will be horrible. But explore them we will, because that is how we find the best way forward, and each of us adapt.
There are two things I want you to do first though, as soon as it is viable. One is, no matter where you live, spend a little gas money and get out in the car. Go to the country. Look around someplace more rural than where you are now. See what is left of this world besides the suburbia you live in now. Seeing only the city all the time is really bad for your health, and for your outlook. Go to where food comes from. See a farm. See a mountain, and a valley, and a river. Look at how the river cuts through the mountain and the valley, and flows away in twists and turns, forming oxbows, and supplying trees with water along their banks. See the wildlife that lives there; birds, deer, coyotes, insects, and so on. See how an ecosystem still exists on our planet, and how the world is not as bleak as the news would have you to believe. See how all of these things survive, and even thrive, despite not having to show up to a job and punch a clock every day of lying to sell their souls for money they will never be able to keep. Be aware that the price of the freedom is a place in a food chain.
The second thing I want you to do, especially if you are a Millennial, especially if you are living with your parents, and most especially if you cannot afford rent, is find a place, and plant something in the springtime. Use a flower pot if you have to, or if there is yard space, borrow a shovel and clear ten square feet of lawn, and start cultivating now, in preparation for spring, so you can bum twenty bucks off your parents, and grow some food. You are going to do several things. One, you are going to take responsibility for growing food. You are going to learn how to plant and grow it to understand where food comes from, how it grows, and when it grows. When I was a kid we could not get food unless it was ‘in season. ‘ But now we grow food and put it in a airplane, and people in rich western countries can have most fruits and vegetables whenever they want, but at the cost of a carbon footprint. Growing your own food will reduce that carbon footprint, and it will make you more aware of what should be available in your area, and when. You will be on your way to better decision making to improve the environment. You will learn how to store your vegetables so they can be used long after they are ‘out of season.’ You will also have the pride of giving back to the people you are relying on for a place to live. You will be a part of an ecosystem much like the ones you will discover on your drive, UT rather then being at the bottom of a food chain, you will be a provider, higher up. And you will gain a skill that you can give to your children, and you can use should the whole system crash, and food become scarce. You will be adapting back into the world you live in by gaining survival skills that reduce your reliance solely on a tiny paycheck carved out a company’s massive profits. You can even take pleasure in knowing that the plants you grow will be providing oxygen for the environment.
Set a goal to do those two things, and you will be on your way to changing the world. You will be on your way to better understanding the world we live in. And you will be on your way to a life of much more than just punching a clock and living paycheck to paycheck. Take your drive and get a breath of fresh air, and a fresh perspective. Then prepare to plant your plants next spring, learning everything you need to know to grow them in a pot, or on a plot, and make, give, and enjoy what comes of providing the most basic element of life, food. It will change your life.
The Prospering Peasant