Please allow me this chance to reprint a letter from one friend to another.
It was good of you to write and ask about how Jenn and I have been doing since graduation. It’s been a while since you and I have been able to sit and talk on the front porch like we use to do in college. I don’t want to go getting all sentimental on you but I did enjoy those conversations. Everything’s going well here. Our daughter Kay is growing up fast (I hope you got the baby announcement- Jenn made me give her all the guys’ addresses). Sometimes it feels like if I blink she’ll be all grown up. Work’s fine and we like living in a small town. I never thought I’d say that but Atlanta just wore me out. All that driving made me feel like I was spending my whole life in the car. So we made the move. Jimmie and the NYC crowd make fun of me for living in Smalltown, USA but we like it. I can even bike to work. We’ve got a garden in the backyard and it’s been easy to meet neighbors, especially with such a cute baby girl (says the proud papa). We live in a small neighborhood on the edge of a pretty cool little historic town. There’s a tavern about a mile away and all the other stuff too that comes with a small town of course- an ice cream shop, a local grocery, the usual. Now I’m just babbling so I’ll get to the real reason I wanted to write.
Living in a big city, with all the pollution and the drive time got me interested in some of the environmental stuff we used to make fun of in college. My perspective kinda changed even more when I found out Jenn was pregnant. I’m not sure it makes sense to those with out kids yet (I don’t care what you say I bet you’ll have a child one day). After the baby’s born you start to wonder about her future and that’s the other part of what got me interested in the environment. I’m not talking Treehugger stuff. Well kinda I am. But more than that I started reading about how things work and it scared me a bit. Personally I’ve never been won over by all those folks who say everything is fine and the environment can take care of itself. But it seemed the more I read the more the world made sense. Take for instance the war in Iraq. I’m no bleeding heart liberal but it always seemed odd that George W took us to war so we could free a group of people on the other side of the world. There were no weapons of mass destruction. There was no connection to Sept 11 so we’re suppose to believe we’re over there so a group of mid-easterners can be free of a tyrant? Aren’t there plenty of other people that need saving? Anyway I don’t want to rant about the President’s war. I did vote for the man but I was wondering and reading and then came across the idea that our resources aren’t going to last forever. A war in the oil rich Middle East makes sense if you need more of the stuff. It was pretty amazing fyi. Sure some of the people talking about the end of oil have latched onto a pretty gloomy point of view but that’s not the point. The point is that we can’t grow forever. The world population is doubling every 50 years. We DO look ready to peak in oil production (I’ll send you some links about that but trust me for a minute ok or check this site http://www.energybulletin.net/primer.php/). Fresh water, clean air, healthy food all these seem plentiful but not when you start listening to something other than the TV. Seriously. You know me and I’m no pushover when it comes to propaganda. Do you remember when I got kicked out of the sociology class for arguing about the reasons we started public education?
But I am being convinced by many diverse sources and on a regular basis that we are heading down the wrong path. And the real kicker for me is that it all seems so hollow. If I felt like we lived better than my grandparents did, you know, happier, then I might say ok, let’s kick ass and take some oil so I can drive more or burn down a rainforest so I can eat cheap burgers. (I probably wouldn’t say any of that but I am still a bit dramatic. Plus when is the last time you a got a letter in your mailbox so I know you’re still reading.) Seriously though I look around and I see people more unhappy and disconnected than they’ve ever been. So that’s when I took a radical step. You’re gonna love it. But you might think twice before you come to visit.
We got rid of our TV. Yup, we did it 3 months ago. Before you go thinking I really have gone nuts think about this. Do you remember when we got cable in the fraternity house. The first year you and I moved in there was only cable downstairs on the big TV. All the rooms only had what they could get with antennas. Everybody would come downstairs and play cards and foosball and study (OK not so much studying) but even TV watching in a big crowd was more social than after we got cable in our own rooms. Then everyone just started staying in their own place watching their own shows. I didn’t realize until later how much it divided us. So yeah, we got rid of ours. Jenn and I wanted to be ready to live without it before Kay got older. Maybe we can keep her from watching until she can better understand what’s going on. And it’s so much better without. I mentioned the bike earlier- yes I now bike to work. It’s great. I get my workout, not that I need it (smirk) and then there’s the fresh air and sunlight and all that other hippy stuff. No seriously I like it. We still have a car but I enjoi not having to sit in traffic all morning. And the funny thing is every time we make one of these changes we feel better. (We’re growing a bunch of food in the garden by the way but that’s for another letter) When I started reading about the problems with the environment I got depressed because I thought the answers would suck. I thought it would mean living in a way that was worse not better. But I was wrong. The more I learn about the problems in our world today the more I’m able to see positive things to do about them. It’s exciting and empowering for someone like me who always did like to stir up trouble. Remember?!?!
When I first sat down to write you this letter it was because I wanted to save you or something. I wanted to tell you about all the environmental traps I now see this society is setting for you and for the kids I bet you’ll have one day. I was also a little overwhelmed and wanted to get it off my chest by writing someone who would listen, even if he wouldn’t write back (insert challenge here). I wanted to make sure you would be ok in the future. But by time I got around to writing this I realized I’m really just sharing the idea that there’s more to life than we’ve been suckered into thinking. We never were suckers in college so we shouldn’t start by settling for a life after school that means trouble for our future. Think about what I said and for God’s sakes go out and do your own research. Don’t take for gospel the words of some old college buddy. Let me know what you find and what you think about what’s going on. Hell it wouldn’t hurt you to write a little bit about your life either. How’s that pretty wife of yours anyway?
I hope all’s well and I hope I didn’t overwhelm you. You know me, just trying to keep my eyes wide open. Take care of yourself and have fun.