Indeed, the recent and continuing tragedy at Fukushima, reaches across the Pacific ocean and touches North America's West Coast in just a little over a week. We can, if we are so inclined, go to the most remote islands completely cut off from the Great Lakes by their being perched on islands well above the surface of Lake Superior. We can test the fish that swim amongst this relatively pristine environment and find Aldrin and Dieldrin, carcinogenic compunds that have been banned for thirty or more years, chemicals only used to kill pests on cotton crops in the tropics, thousands of miles away. Remember the food web that we all learned in school? We exist within the fibrous and filamentous reality of a giant web of association that spans the biosphere. We are one organism, one being, only as healthy as the world around us, only as capable of making a living as the creatures which we share our planet with.
This week, I have been peeling up three layers of flooring. Each one in it's time was billed as "modern, high tech and the best you can get" for running a sanitary kitchen and bathroom, each in succession covering up dirt and dust, and encapsulating the moisture of a thousand spills. First, probably after the original builders were forced to sell during the 1938 crash, the asphaltum-based linoleum was installed. With waxy, built up edges, to keep the moisture where you could sop it up. Thirty years of dirt later, the whole mess was put under a primitive vinyl flooring that had asbestos backing, ready to absorb any water that made it either around the edges or through the seam running down the length of the kitchen, but also, through any holes that inevitably occurred through use and eventual coverup. Finally, a very cheap luan plywood was laid down, crown stapled to the old floor with a vengance and a more "modern" version of vinyl was laid atop that. In addition to making it virtually impossible to remove the nearly hundred years of dirt and encapsulating whatever moisture got through the leaks this time, the ultimate failure only exacerbated the problems with all the earlier floors. Peeling back all the rotten layers of onion revealed a nice wood floor which has no problems other than that air can make it both under and over the boards, drying them out and allowing a conscientious home economist to actually keep them clean. With responsibility come freedom (don' cha know?) The only real problem with the old floor now is the thousands of staple holes in the hardwood. they have done more to wreck the floor than any amount of sweeping and mopping ever could have done.
People frequently forget the most powerful option when they engage in decision-making. The decision to do nothing is still a choice. We do not have to solve every crisis by doing something. Often taking a broader view requires us to do nothing. This course of action may make sense at times and not others, but by not looking deeply into the possibility of making this all important choice can yield many benefits. The media that formerly made up the floor in this neglected house harbored so much dirt and nasty biological activity, that it certainly could not have been healthy to live amongst. At least dirt floors can have beneficial bacteria and fungi. I wish that the people who have owned this building over the years would have just chosen to do nothing, the cover-up truly stinks. Just the top layers of luan and vinyl was two hundred pounds of stink.
If we look into our current state of affairs, globally, much dirt has been swept under the collective rugs of our nations. Nowhere can we truthfully say are we isolated from a raft of bad decisions, cover-ups and festering nastiness that really should be taken out. We are often sold false promises of a better life and have to watch as all that we have invested our lives in is cast into the trash bin of history. The great mass of humanity that has fallen victim in the recent global depression must find the strength to face yup to the ugly messes that have been plastered over for decades. In some cases, the better part of a century. The oppressors didn't do this by themselves, we all helped, through our silence, to build the cage that we need to break out of. Perhaps it is too late to break out, but imagine if it isn't. If we all stop feeding the oligarchs, they will have to eat either their young, or their dollars.