Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Tough Times

Every day at the gym I get my daily dose of CNN. Usually CNN Asia, but the reoccurring theme is the economy. This shouldn't come as much of a surprise, because not a day passes when it's not in the news or even closer to home. Yesterday there was even a story about a city in Japan that discovered they had gold in their sewage treatment center (the name is actually 'Suwa treatment facility') and now they are actually harvesting it. I guess desperate times call for desperate measures.

Today, I saw this free downloadable 'Wise Investments' poster from creative guy PJ Chmiel. I'm not a dooms day type of person, but I have to say there is a bit of truth to his poster. It seems as though people have really gotten accustomed to cushy living, which is insane to think how much the world has changed in a century. Everything is going back to basics, whether people are wanting that or not.

The unfortunate thing is that it's not so simple to revert to a life that most of us never even knew. One where gardening and harvesting were ways of life. One where food didn't come packaged and preserved. One where entertainment was based more around family and connections with people rather than video games and computers.

I know I carry romantic ideals and notions over what having a farm would be like. It's easier to glamorize it than it is to consider, as an American, just how much I appreciate variety. I can't imagine having to grow everything from seed and having to depend on neighbors for help. Here I only know one of my neighbors, and there are quite a few people that live in my building. Granted, I do have a language barrier excuse, but realistically people no longer communicate with each other.

Another issue is competition. I've really never had to want for anything in my life. It's a bit difficult to admit that, but I realize most people that I have grown up around have never really had serious issues of survival either. I know that's not the norm and that I have a slightly shaded view of what is, but it does make me nervous to picture people literally fighting to survive. What's worse is considering the people who have been doing so their entire lives. What was always a struggle has been magnified. When people are worried about losing their homes or their investments, they aren't thinking about donating to charities or helping people in far away lands. Suddenly everything hits closer to home.

I do hear my classmates from Eastern Europe discuss their lacking middle class and it provides a somber reality that there is an ever widening economic gap facing the world and especially America. As the old saying goes, 'Rome didn't fall over night'.

I hope if anything all of these struggles enable people to identify with each other and with the less fortunate more often. People will be forced to be more creative and to reconnect with each other. In theory, people will consider their actions and consequences more. Hopefully they will also consider what kind of world they want to build for their children and posterity.

The world is undoubtedly changing and it definitely doesn't hurt to be prepared. No longer is a good education or a seemingly solid job enough. It's a crucial time to have a support network, which is disheartening when I think about so many of my loved ones being so far away.

I'm trying with all my might to have some faith through all of this - to trust in humanity and the greater good of people.

1 comment:

JoernandAllison said...

It is definately difficult to have a support network living so far away. But, somehow, you do learn to build up your own support network. It takes lots of time though.
That made me smile about your romanticizing farm life. I totally would love to have some cows and a few sheep - to mow my yard. But, life in Neckartailfingen has taught me that farmers work from 6:30 am till well after dark. They work all winter too. Plus, with the way the government puts pressure on the farmers here, it is quite difficult to even make it a living. But, maybe growing your own veggies would be a good start (when you have a place to do so.)