Several years ago, I attended a North Shore TAFE campus, intending to develop my chef skills. Curiously I found out the campus was divided into hospitality and horticulture. When I finally discovered how IN-hospitable commercial cookery was, I returned there to meet with a friend who was studying sustainable environments. I waited at an outdoors table while a group of gardeners were hazing nearby; it set me thinking.

Years from now someone will trace that moment when our culture made an urgent diversion. Disparate groups had been drawing conclusions about the destiny of our planet, separately but parallel. We have yet to develop the parliament of speakers who can focus this people speak. 

The gardeners, bent on sustainable outcomes, are moving in a certain direction; chefs working with organic materials, artists with a vision of re-cycling natural materials, visionary economists who see the SX’s as glorified gambling rings are all moving as one, speaking as yet different languages, but already in the same direction. 

Somewhere, inside some thing there is a rush of greatness, someone will get up a vision of tomorrow that will knit all the above activities together. OK, a rabid fundamentalism, especially a bloodless, relentless, humourlessness is not required.

To give but one example: I am a fan of Richard Stevenson’s books; his latest, the Thirty Eight Million Dollar Smile is set in Thailand. It is culturally specific, whilst being playfully critical of certain extremist traits. Stevenson’s world view is consistently US Democrat, but until you micro-focus on his prose you miss how relentless his vision manages to be: it is consistently, like a metronome, tapping out an emphasis, about people who have made a lot of money, and are no longer aware of how arduous wage-earning is for the rest of the population, of their fundamental superficiality. I recently lent the book to a friend, gay like myself but self-styled to the right of Genghis. We have barely managed a mutual accomodation of our respective positions on the spectrum of reality; I was until recently puzzled by John’s non-reaction to the book, which I thought funny, but clearly my personal politics have blinded me to the book’s constant emphasis on economic PC-ism.

I would hardly wish a Mme Defarge revenge on the planet. In terms of economics, I like the model someone postulated, that says: make as much profit as you can, however, the cost of your item must honestly factor in the environmental load of its making, of its lifespan and finally of its recycling. Therein lies a visionary incentive. 


About anton veenstra

tapestry weaver, fibre artist, gay/qr activist, multiculturalist
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