Far be it for me or anybody to tell you that you must take the train, walk to work, know or care anything about the food you buy and feed your kids. I mean, what’s the difference between a choice and a mandate? I can’t get you to consider spirituality when you insist on being religious; we’re talking past each other. The same goes for precious arguments about whether or not the climate is changing – more immediate concerns are either much more important or hardly matter at all. We can’t see rising oceans, after all – wait.
Nonetheless, just because something doesn’t look the same way to you as it does to me does not mean we are not seeing the same thing. The idea of parallax, where an object’s changed appearance is actually due to a change in perspective, is perhaps instructive. As we move through time, embracing or putting off measures to insure (either way) certain outcomes, our relation to, and hence our view of, the world we live in likely will change. Indeed this is the basis, for some, of waiting until conditions are sufficiently dire and all doubt is erased that we are &^%*ed before any remedies are attempted. I’ll leave this absurd fear of doubt for another time. But how to engender changes of perspective, if that is agreed to be one of the keys to planetary-preservation?
In the parallax, example
objects in the foreground appear to move very quickly, while those in the background much less so. In the case of how our lifestyles impact the planet, what would be some of the objects in the foreground? The methods we use to move about, keep warm or cool, eat, for amusement; when we visualize our lives in a mind’s eye, is it about sitting in a car on a crowded road? Walking up to a school in the morning with your child? A lot of people would be appalled with a mere confrontation with how much time they have spent sitting at a drive through window, without ever considering what they were even buying there. Just that image, and a subtotal of minutes, and its reflection of the priority and our acceptance of it might be enough to create a pause.
Because that, a pause – any pause – seems to be what we strive to avoid. You don’t have to get dystopian about it to see the relation. When we take the time to prepare a meal, for example, we become concerned about ingredients, kitchen implements, the preference of those we’re feeding… the list goes on. Whether see this as a pleasure or a hassle, and the faster you condense the overall activity, the less you need to think about the different elements. Until you skip cooking altogether – and here we are again, sitting in the drive through.
So there’s no reason to demonize ordering a number 4 (again), in order to see it as another object between us and the background of the world we live. It moves quickly, alleviating us of certain concerns maybe, meanwhile our ideas about whether the world is changing seem to move so slowly as to not affect us. But creating pause, with the danger of a change in perspective, is perhaps the only way we ever become concerned about any of the ingredients to our lives, the ones that determine our perspective, the only ones we can change.