Sometimes, especially in the hardest, coldest months of January and February, I ask myself WHY. Why am I doing this?
Sometimes I wonder if I am just completely insane. Sometimes it is difficult to maintain confidence that what we are trying to do is worthwhile or that this business can compete in the current oligarchy against the big, scary corporate giants. I honestly don’t know. Just as I don’t understand the universe or humans place in it, so I do not know, except by a leap of faith, trusting myself, that I am ever doing the right thing.
This morning, I hopped on the trike and did our Recycling pickups around Cambridge. As I pedaled out of the Casella recycling facility, above the soft, slow, steady sound of my crank and chain turning, all I could hear was the sound of oil burning. Motors burning oil. Motors burning oil. Motors burning oil. If I listened more deeply, I could also make out the underlying “black-noise” of rubber on bituminous ground. As I pedaled along Cambridge St, under the I-93 overpass, I thought of how much easier our lives are now in the oil age. Where we just flip a switch and push a gas pedal and can “effortlessly” move thousands of pounds in an instant. Wow, that’s nice. So easy and convenient. Anyone can do it. It levels the playing field, in a way. You do not need strength or guts or determination or even good health.
Anyone can drive a truck.
My next thoughts were of the wars that have been fought for this privilege. The wars that have been fought for oil. And I suppose this is where I would start sounding like a hippie. But it made me realise anew why i do what I do. Why I do not take the easy way out and just get a car or a truck to do my work. Because I would rather push myself to my limit every day and struggle against the odds rather than support the oil industry and the industrial-military complex that backs it. I just do not want to be a part of that cycle of war and the governments that are killing people for access to oil.
Even if I am wasting my time, even if nothing matters, even if we fail, at least I will die knowing that I did my best to live in accordance with some morality that values community over commodification and one that puts people above profits.
That’s my sermon from the saddle this morning. I leave you with this picture of Chris on our new blue recycling truck. He is a star.