A Sunday Ocean Road
I’ve drank years worth of alcohol. I’ve watched streams of pornography. I’ve sped along back roads around the country well over the speed limit. I’ve eaten copious amounts of fast food junk. I’ve driven to work when it was only four hundred metres away..
Each of these scenarios presents a potential addiction for anyone, and here I’m reduced to a mere shadow with an addiction to something unanimously adopted and utterly commonplace in society – yet the cessation of my use of such an object has had me fighting the urge against just picking it up and turning it on..
The thought and consideration of this object keeps screaming out to me – like a hungry ten month old hanging for a feed. And ignoring the urge is painfully proving to me how far into the clutches of modern day technology I am. Like all habits in life some become imbalanced, and like all well-intentioned humans I wish to negate this imbalance in my life..
It’s a Saturday morning on the Surf Coast and whilst the overcast clouds hang around I’m going to sit here and write, with paper and pen, and explore the effects of a logged on life, on myself and on the environment around us..
As I summarised quite clearly to a few last night, those folk presenting talks in front of us (at an environmental film festival) had all ‘done’ something. Some explored the local environment, some spent years (and dollars) on an education, some simply travelled the world and observed. I too, have travelled, and in a short time built on the ever expanding map in my head and overlaid it with a myriad of observations, so I can confidently comment on contemporary issues of social, political, and environmental inequity, and of our human potential..
And I remain an optimist..
One such issue is the extent of pollution effecting our world, in particular the simple, single-use pieces of plastic that people drop somewhere that end up causing massive problems in all of the worlds food chains. Little tiny fragments of plastic broken down in the waves of the ocean wash up on every beach you can go to – I’m yet to visit a beach in Australia that doesn’t have a collection of plastic washed up in the littoral zone (between high and low tides). Look up the work by Dr. Jennifer Lavers, it’s inspirationally eye-opening!
Prior to exploring such issues any deeper than a rudimentary observation, it’s important to understand that knowledge itself can be acquired by anyone with access to a specific resource of information, or gathered through actions and experiences where your observations are tuned in towards occurrences that will compile, over a lifetime, substantial knowledge about a topic (or issue). This means that anyone with the urge to explore anything can become an expert in their time! So too, can anyone with access to extensive resources, such as those on the internet – that larger than life resource where the world of potential knowledge is right there at your e-fingertips..
The internet is fucking incredible – anything we want we can get it. What power! If we’re after new music – done. if we want news – done. If we want friends – done. It’s the single greatest resource that was ever complied. If I’m at writing on a topic, I can research the origins and discussions on whatever I need to compile a convincing argument – immediately!
Likewise, the mobile phone itself is an incredible social tool, in which having one means we become almost immediately contactable from anywhere in the world (the world is pretty massive, by the way). And if not now, not this hour, then probably before lunch, or definitely by tomorrow. beats the wait of sending a letter to the other side of the globe, or across melbourne for that matter..
I don’t believe there is a problem in the world with wanting to be social, or desiring to interact with another human being – that’s what we do best and that’s why our social structures and times have culminated in the past century to bring us to today. Through our desire to interact with others, we have shared an eon of conversations, of thoughts, and progressed beyond the light of a cave fire to the comfortability of impressive structures with glass windows and bathrooms..
In fact, we’re so social that we don’t want to not socialise, because we desire to maintain those friendships with those that we love and care for. If a mate wants to do something, of course you’ll answer that call. If someone’s in trouble, of course you’re there to help! so we make ourselves continually contactable – and why not?!?!
The same applies to social media; it is an online extension of our lives on a much larger scale, spreading across the world to each device with internet connection!
You may think this is a shallow argument, or even an appraisal of the aforementioned technologies – but I wonder: when was the last time that you turned your phone or internet off for a day?
Why? Why am I painfully fighting the urge to turn on my mobile phone and check if there are messages and emails awaiting me overflowing with information? Shouldn’t I be eager to expand my knowledge and maintain my social networks so as to perpetuate the positive growth of my own individual potential?? Simply put – I’m addicted to the machine that is a mobile phone, and the internet (an extension of the smart phone), and I need to break this addiction..
These technologies present a major distraction – a tasty, social, useful, and otherwise brilliant creation with sadly negative implications. We’re just so caught up in the technological age that we’re simply forgetting the outside (and real) world. Simple as that..
Ultimately I am concerned with the environmental issues of this world – plastic pollution, habitat destruction, species extinction and endangerment, over fishing, destructive agricultural processes, climate change, etc, etc..
If I take someone to the cliffs near my home, they don’t jump of the edge in a fit of euphoric escape, they appreciate the beauty and colour of the fragile rock I point out, the cliff top ecosystems, and the amazing colour of bass strait and its vast, rolling blue. Humans remain hard-wired optimists; it is easy for everyone to point out the sometimes overwhelming negatives in life, a la there is plastic on every beach in the world (which fish and other animals eat, by the way, which over time they become choked with and die). But we don’t give up. We keep day after day striving for the best, most optimal world we know of and can create for ourselves..
That is what makes us optimists..
However, this means, without an environmental understanding and appreciation, our worlds we create wont incorporate a healthy natural surrounding. If you don’t know and haven’t felt the sensation of standing at the base of a four-hundred year old giant tree, you can’t incorporate that into your future. If you haven’t seen the precious fragility of the sea life hiding in Port Phillip, or brilliant wildflowers appearing in grasslands around Melbourne in October, then you can’t contemplate them and incorporate their future wholly into yours. If you haven’t seen what remains of a forest after it’s been bulldozed, and realise that the same ancient trees you were walking under a month ago don’t exist anymore, then you can’t contemplate them and incorporate their (now non-existent) future wholly into yours either..
This is how we construct our ‘world views’ – we take what we learn, and over time we create our future, which we dedicate ourselves to throughout our lives. How we ‘view’ the world is how we treat the world, and how we treat the world is how we end up ‘creating’ our world. The less you know about what’s around you, the less you incorporate into your future – simple..
Recall the simple hydrologic, or water cycle we learnt of in primary school – where water falls from the sky, makes its way across the land, into creeks, into rives, into bays, and into oceans, and somewhere along the line it evaporates (turns to gas), raises to the higher altitudes, solidifies, and falls under the power of gravity, beginning the process once again. Everything in the world, as per these cycles, is interconnected..
To feel the importance of a healthy, connected, pristine environment is a crucial element in protecting what’s left of the environment..
And this will not ever be replicated through your electronic screen..