I just finished my seventh or eighth reading of “A People’s History of the United States” by Howard ZInn. Through the years I keep coming back to this extraordinary piece of writing by a master of history and one who really “tells it like it is”. By the time I finish reading, and each time, it breaks me up and reminds me why I do what I do in this life. Whether we are Permaculture folks, teachers, social workers, whatever, this book must be read by everyone that cares anything about the state of corporate and military greed, the subjugation of our neighbors and the outright lies and bullshit that is continually perpetrated, and has probably always been perpetrated by the few percent that suck the life out of all races of human beings, animals, trees, plants, you name it. Toward the end of the book Zinn quotes a former lieutenant colonel who had flown 101 combat missions in Viet Nam, who had become a Catholic bishop after the war, and was now commenting on the “terrorist” bombing at US embassies:
“We are not hated because we practice democracy, value freedom or uphold human rights. We are hated because our government denies these things to people in Third World countries whose resources are coveted by our multinational corporations. That hatred we have sown has come back to haunt us in the form of terrorism… Instead of sending our sons and daughters around the world to kill Arabs so we can have the oil under their sand, we should send them to rebuild their infrastructure, supply clean water, and feed starving children…
In short, we should do good instead of evil. Who would try to stop us? Who would hate us? Who would want to bomb us? That is the truth the American people need to hear.”
In lieu of this I must say that much of America is a “Third World Country”. Whatever Third World means to begin with. For those of us that have inherited the ideas of Permaculture, this practice is not about becoming some kind of matinee idol of sustainability. There is an underlying ethic, a deeper philosophy of taking care of life in all its guises, that is the essence of our work. This is the “reason” we have started on this path, is it not? It is not about more and more information and more and more gadgets in the long run. Care of earth and care of people is no joke. It is the muscle that we train to lift people up.