Thursday, 22 November 2007

Near-constant companions: Irony and Anxiety

Since I've been on this journey of seeing myself as part of the oneness of all things, I've had the experience more often of being either struck by the ridiculous irony of something, or of being overcome with anxiety, or both. I had two recent examples of this that I thought I'd share.

1) Back in the summer I had posted about the central square in my city and how the powers that be had redesigned it so it now had more concrete and fewer trees. One day I noticed people writing on the concrete in chalk, commenting on the lack of trees and remembering when the City Square was full of grass and trees. I added my two cents worth on the concrete that day and felt a bit hopeful.

Now it's winter, with Christmas time approaching. While walking through the City Square earlier this week, what do I see but a tree there. A huge evergreen tree. You guessed it: a Christmas tree. A 50+ foot tree that had been cut down and brought into the otherwise concrete-laden Square, and decorated with lights, and sponsored by EPCOR even. (After all, what's a tree without an official sponsor?)

So, not only have the numerous CO2-absorbing, O2-producing trees that were in the Square originally cut down, but this tree was cut down too, and brought back to the denuded location as a supposed symbol of the Seasonal sentiments of Love, Hope, Renewal and Goodwill. Ironic, yes?

2) Also earlier this week, I was at the hairdresser's having my increasingly numerous grey hairs dealt with once again. On my way out I bought some 'product' (a habit which I will have to ditch one of these days, but don't have the guts to do it just yet). The hairdresser remembered that I didn't want a plastic bag with my purchase, and I didn't want a paper appointment reminder card either. I thanked her and said it was nice that she remembered those things. She replied that it wasn't that hard since, "You're the only person I know who's going green." I made some feeble attempt to smile and say that I would just have to keep talking about it to more people. Meanwhile, my heart sank and my anxiety level escalated.

I worry. I worry that people look at the cut-down Christmas tree and don't see the irony, and I worry that people just think that 'going green' is a fad or an affectation or an eccentricity.

Remember that "doomsday clock" from the mid-1980's that represented how close humanity was to global thermonuclear war and utter annihilation? That 'clock' has recently been expanded to include the effects of climate change on humanity. That's right: climate change is now seen as having just as catastrophic an effect on the planet as would global thermonuclear war.

It's time to see the irony. It's time to wake up and feel the anxiety and do something about it. Because we're at 5 minutes to midnight again.


daharja said...

The Christmas Tree example really says it all about our society.

Another example: here where I live (Melbourne, Australia) people's gardens are suffering because of climate change. So plastic grass is catching on as an 'alternative'.

Don't they KNOW that one of the REASONS for climate change is all the plastic rubbish we make and use?

[shakes head in disbelief]

Even dying grass is better than plastic rubbish. How many tonnes of CO2 were caused in the manufacture of plastic grass to replace the browning grass in people's gardens?

I really don't know sometimes.

Theresa said...

I shake my head in disbelief with you. I just can't fathom our human stupidity sometimes.