Friday, December 29, 2006

View from 2025

(I think that the tilters-at-windmills are also more important than the dinosaurs of nation-state governance, and better at preparing for the future too. Anyway, I love imaginary retrospectives from the future. As Eleanor Roosevelt said, "The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams." I wrote something similar to Solnit's piece back in July. -KW)

Here are excerpts from her essay at The Nation. For the full essay, follow the title link.

"In some strange way, it turned out that windmill-builders were more important than the US Senate. They were certainly better at preparing for the future, anyway...

If the twentieth century was the age of dinosaurs--of General Motors and the Soviet Union, of McDonald's, globalized entertainment networks and information superhighways--the twenty-first has increasingly turned out to be the age of the small.

You can see it in the countless local-economy projects--wind-power stations, farmers' markets, local enviro organizations, food co-ops--that were already proliferating, hardly noticed, by the time the Saudi Oil Wars swept the whole Middle East, damaging major oilfields and bringing on the Great Gasoline Crisis of 2009. That was the one that didn't just send prices skyrocketing but actually becalmed the globe-roaming container ships with their great steel-box-loads of bottled water, sweatshop garments and other gratuitous commodities.

The resulting food crisis of the early years of the second decade of the century, which laid big-petroleum-style farming low, suddenly elevated the status of peasant immigrants from what was then called "the undeveloped world," particularly Mexico and Southeast Asia. They taught the less agriculturally skilled, in suddenly greening North American cities, to cultivate the victory gardens that mitigated the widespread famines then beginning to sweep the planet...


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