Hooray for… millenialism?

Friends may know that I occasionally spend time thinking about peak oil, global climate change, and the like. I feel the change a-comin’–but I do try to avoid saying that doomsday is right around the corner. My personal thought is that the the current system will fade away rather than burning out (sorry Neil). Occasionally, I also listen to conservative talk radio–not because I agree with the hosts, but because I feel like I should be aware of the message that the Right is broadcasting to the faithful hordes. The conservative and American libertarian hosts have been playing to the doomsday scenario crowd by invoking fears of socialism, higher taxes, and general mayhem related to the current administration–and that is a topic for another post.

So, the other day my wife E. got into the car and found the radio set to one of those AM stations, and after a few seconds of the usual screed they cut to a commercial for a Survival Seed Vault. Here is my bind: I’m all in favor of people growing their own food from non-hybrid seed. Seed saving is a wonderful practice: it promotes local genetic diversity, and those seeds don’t just make plants–they carry stories and meaning through time and space. Growing food is educational, may cut carbon emissions from transport, and can take business away from the super mega marts. So far so good.

At the same time, I don’t know how I feel about seed saving and food growing being packaged with a neoliberal politics of deregulation and general fear of ‘those people.’ ¬†Ultimately, it looks like a lot of messages about serious near-term change are being conflated into one big ball of uncertainty. My friend P. in Maine has what he calls the “horseshoe theory” of American politics–that the left and the right come together if you go far enough toward the ends. I guess my question is, if people are saving seeds, to what extent does the “why” matter?


Free-range environmental scientist, educator, writer, farmer, Aikido student.

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1 Comment

  1. 2 months later, let me add a thought. It may not be entirely surprising that conservation and conservativism end up sharing certain values – local autonomy in particular, as in the line between liberal agrarianists like Wendell Barry and old-school antimodernists like Wordsworth bemoaning the loss of the Lake Country to the dreary working class. It reminds me of this thing I’ve been reading recently on sustainability and George Bataille, of all people. It argues that the whole conservation and sustainability paradigm is built on the same kind of economism as capital itself – the argument that we must live with less ends up equalling the argument that we must always make more. The authors are architects and designers, but when they hint at a new concept of sustainability based on excess and the gift it certainly sounds familiar to those of us who’ve been looking at ways of living-with-nature found in other cultures.

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