Shira Loustaunau

July 30,  2011

“The greatest private pleasure comes from serving the highest unity, the general welfare of  all.”  Henry A. Wallace, former Secretary of Agriculture and vice president under Franklin D Roosevelt.

The Wallace Global Fund’s documentary “A Blind Spot” about our dependence on fossil fuel has achieved the archetypical, ecological slap in the face, as in, welcome to the real world.  This slap in the face, as it were, brought to us from the teachings of well-renowned physicists, psychologists, sociologists, economists, scientists, and biologists who have studied about our extreme dependence of fossil fuels, are given to us in a succinct and profound way to make each of us understand that this is the most serious problem to face the human race since we have been human.  We will eventually run out of fossil fuel, for that is the trend today, and if we do not do something soon to change this course, we will run out of options.  Unfortunately, since the 1970s, the same principle above has been told over and over and yet not enough has been done about it.

Here is this concept to ruminate upon given to us by Zygmunt Bauman, a Polish sociologist, who stated “Rational people go guietly, meekly into a gas chamber if you only allow them to believe it’s a bathroom.”  It was the Jews’ rational best interest to not resist for fear of being killed.  This is a system of make believe and this particular message is that you have to make believe that what you know is going to happen to you is not going to happen to you. To elaborate and use the metaphors above, we would like to believe that the earth is infinite, our rationale depends on and it is in our best interest, when in reality the truth is we have been led to believe, as exemplified by the gas chamber, that our dependence on fossil fuels will never end, but in fact will.  In the words of David Jensen, activist, “we live in a world of make-believe …that the planet isn’t being killed or the belief that the age of oil is going to continue.  We would like to make believe that we can have infinite growth on a finite planet.  We have to make believe that you can kill a planet and live on it too.”  This awareness is too prevalent.  It’s easy to think that it is in our best interest to not deal with this problem and that someone intelligent or the people we vote into office are looking out for these things, for this is not the case.  In order to achieve change, we must to do our own thinking.  We cannot let other people do our thinking for us, why?  Because the greed in people control their best interest and thus have ulterior motives for which they will try to steer us in the wrong direction.  It is obvious to us now that the people in power cater to these same fossil fuel/oil companies for their own benefit, and we are left to take action now.

The onus is on all of us.  As a nation of consumers through capitalization, the automobile industry, and the advertising industry, we developed a culture that reinforces our concept that there are no consequences to our actions.  This has occurred over generations.  We are a race of giants by the energy-consuming apparatus we have.  “We advertised ourselves into being the world’s greatest consumers, victims of the greatest propaganda system ever devised in modern history.”   Being victims do not take away the responsibility that we all share in changing the course of destroying our Earth.  Can one really make a difference in our pollution levels through consumerism?  No, we have to do it together, for each other.  Take a step back, look at where we are headed and decide for yourself what you can do.  We cannot let future generations be ignorant, let alone ourselves.  Make no mistake, we are destroying our world.  In the Internet age, there are many valuable resources to teach, share, and defeat ignorance concerning this issue as fast as we can.  It’s not enough to say that we can recycle, turn down the heat, bike instead of ride to work, we have to stop taking for granted our use of energy, for us, for each other, for nature.  We cannot expect someone else to do it for us anymore.  We must attain balance and harmony with nature.  This is the only way.

I will end this article with the hope that you will watch this documentary and learn something you did not know before.  It is done by the Wallace Global Fund and Dislexic Films.  Shown in the beginning of the documentary, in 1949, Shell produced a promotional film named “Oil for Aladdin’s Lamp.”  It is based on the same dependence of oil then and even more so now.  You will be amazed by what you see and learn.  There is one quote from this film I will share with you, remembering that this is in 1949: “The machine age which has given us a national standard of living with would ground to a halt if it were not for petroleum…”

Today, we need a new paradigm, a revolution to save nature, more so than ever before.  For that, we have to change man’s nature.  Nothing else will suffice.  Our hopes and old methods no longer exist.  What should we name this new revolution?  We can leave that one for the children.