Thinking about the short-sighted ideas which move us to do things for the shadiest of reasons, especially for quick profit. Usually, the ones who set the plan in action are those who already are well-off and hope for much more. Those who carry out their orders are terrified of losing their jobs and don’t think of much else. Everyone is wearing blinders.
Corporations wanting to have cheap disposal drop poisonous waste into rivers. factory farm workers fed grow-fast hormones and antibiotics not to beef and pork and chickens and turkeys so that they die fattened enough to get a good price when slaughtered. We consume the animal’s flesh with all its poisonous additives. Where did you think they went? We are poisoned too. We find the supposedly inexplicable explosion of ADD, ADHD, autism, allergies, chronic fatigue in our children and increasingly in adults. It is not a matter of better diagnostics finding something that was always there. Farm engineering so far from the natural way of life is making Mother Earth, her animals, plants, and people sick.
Then we get to the destructiveness of fighting. War is a business. It makes money for those who sell the weapons. We destroy people and earth with nuclear explosions and unmanned drones. We spray the “enemy’s” soil with Agent Orange, so that nothing can grow there, and on and on. We make the land unlivable. Nazi German’s Goering said that fear will always make the people come to heel. Those who run the war machine make the people afraid of the enemy. Next thing they are in arms. For those who profit from it, their hands are full but their hearts are empty.
Will Mother Earth recover during our lifetime or even in that of our offspring? What can I do to make a difference? I am afraid of stirring up a negative reaction in those who fear they will lose what they have. True, earth conscious behavior will remove some of these “things” and give us many others. This includes birds singing in the trees and windmills turning on our lights.
I met Pete Seeger, the great American folksinger at Buck’s Rock Work Camp when I was about 12. We were invited to sing along with him. Everyone bellowed the words to: “If I had a hammer, to “Where have all the Flowers Gone,” to “Turn, Turn, Turn,” an Amish poem Pete set to music. We came in on the chorus to “This land is your land,” Pete tapped his foot and sang while he strummed his banjo. He told stories that made us laugh and cry. It went on for hours. We all wanted more.
Pete had a great love for life. His relatives way back came on the Mayflower. He understood their flight to freedom when stood up to the McCarthy House of Un-American Activities Committee that was tracking down Communist sympathizers. They demanded Pete name his “Commie friends.” He responded, “Have You No Sense of Decency?”
He lived with his wife Toshi, in a log cabin he built himself. There were many visitors, song- writers, musicians, environmentalists, people. There was as a lot of singing and strumming of all kinds of instruments new and old. He got a group together to demand that the Hudson River polluting corporations clean up their waste. They did. I heard that Toshi would run to the phone to answer before Pete because he would invariably answer, “yes” to any request to appear for a good cause. There was no keeping him from joining worthy struggles.
I met him years later standing at a street corner of New York City, banjo over his shoulder waiting for the light to change. I went up to Pete my beloved teacher and said, “with all that is going on, I feel that nothing I can do will help. He smiled at me and said as he strode into the crosswalk, “No time for that.”
Pete traveled and sang to inspire children and adults to take care of one another as well as Mother Earth. He was a good man who lives on in our hearts and minds.
Thank you, Pete.