I recently had to say goodbye to my oldest friend. He has packed it all up, moved his wife and kids to Scotland to start a new life. He did however manage to make a day for just us before he left. A final blow out, till we meet again. In true rebel rousing fashion we went for a paddle around Cape Point, did a bit of sea cave exploration, had a braai for lunch followed with a cold swim in the kelp forest.
A great way to spend some time together and a day I will not forget any time soon. Mainly because he still can’t cook chicken properly on a fire. Really, he has been making fires and enjoyed the outdoor life since I can remember and yet a few pieces of chicken get the better of him ( There are two unique ways Andrew cooks chicken, burnt or raw).
As it is expected in moments like these we spoke about the old times, where we have been as well as what has and what has not changed. I won’t bore you all with the childhood stories however there is one piece of conversation I thought I would share.
In the late 80’s we had the TURBO craze. Anything could possibly be cool if it had the word turbo somehow tied in. Turbo vac, turbo sunglasses, turbo running shoes even certain television shows had to include this awesome word into their slogan’s to up their appeal. Night Rider and Air Wolf immediately pop to mind. Mystical red buttons( Turbo Boost) all lit up, which were to be pressed at the slightest hint of danger. This would press the driver or pilot into the back of his chair and he would be flung of at some impossible speed. Faces all contorted due to shear exceleration.
Then in the 90’s there was EXTREME and MEGA, this one I never really got into. Everything had to be extreme. You want to have a cold drink… No it must be a EXTREME cold drink. This sad tale lead to extreme motor cross, extreme kayaking, extreme mountain climbing and extreme monster trucks. Unfortunately the list goes on and on.
It seems we still have traces of it floating in American television with Extreme fishing etc all at some extreme volume setting
These days it seems that the Eco bug has hit in full force. “Wanna be Greenies” and tree huggers are taking over the world. Bring out your sandals and muesli this is going to be a long one.
Don’t get me wrong I am all for living with nature as well as the things we need to achieve to live sustainably and in harmony, to me this is normal not a new exciting craze. As smart as we profess to be we can’t live without our environment in some form.
However somehow the extreme and Eco bug have mutated into the extreme Eco nuts,this kind of thing gives environmentalism a bad name.
As kids Andrew and I would embark on various adventures. We would go up into the forest and look for pine cones, mushrooms and some days hunt for figs and guavas. Stealing ” mielies” (corn to most of you) from his dads fields, grabbing whatever we could on the run. As we got older we started fishing collecting mussels and diving catching crayfish etc. This is what I thought was not extremely special just what we did. Some of the best times were first thing on a frosty winter’s day, barefoot, mist hanging low we would let the cows out and play poo island. We would jump from pile to pile to stop our feet going numb in the cold grass. Aahhh good times.
This type of thing has become the new lifestyle choice and a big fat fad. Picking fruit etc has become known as foraging. collecting mussels, mushrooms etc has become wild foraging. Following animal spoor has become Tracking. Thinking where a lost animal went or trying to anticipate were it is has become spiritual tracking. Diving with cylinders as kids was not a option so we made do with mask and snorkel , now its known as free diving a whole now sub culture.
Also is it really necessary to see all your branded clothing to prove how good you are at what ever your interested in today. Walking around barefoot was practical most of the time as well as washing feet was much faster than taking smelly shoes off every time we went indoors. Now it is a way to ground your negative energy and connect with your ancestors or forefathers.the list goes on and on.
(You can spend lots off money going on long winded courses, teaching you how to do this, even issue you with certification upon receipt of cash err I mean completion!)
Why is it that we have to make everything into such a specialized alternate lifestyle. I cant seem to turn my head without someone trying to explain how raw organic food is, the way forward and that you somehow have to be an expert in raw diets harvested ethically from a enlightened guy down the road before you start your daily yoga session. If you can quote a few lines from some orange robed chap or prattle on about some 10000 hours story you are socially set. I must say I find this all can get terribly boring! Its not all that complicated in my mind, maybe I am wrong.
We are all animals. Deal with it.
We all need to eat a balanced diet. To much of anything is bad for you.
It would be great if we could all eat fresh food we harvested ourselves. Most of us cant.
Real food does not last long, so we preserve it by adding the most cost effective chemicals we can find. Soon as you add anything to preserve food it will kill good and bad bacteria.
Good healthy unprocessed food is what we are meant to eat. I mean it kind of makes sense. It doesn’t look or taste half as good as most processed food. People have spent millions to make food look and taste better than their competitors, so we will buy it. Price invariably wins.
In nature we would be very hard pressed to find all the sugar ,fats and protein that we find in such high concentration in food off the shelf. this is one of the reasons why we are getting bigger and bigger. It is just to easy to find calorific rich foods at the drop of a hat.
I have noticed I can sit down and eat a whole commercially raised roast chicken without much fuss, however I would be lucky if I can eat half a naturally raised chicken (One that eats grass hoppers etc). Yes that’s right chickens don’t only eat grain and vegetables.
Unpasteurized milk? Well I will talk about that at some other stage. That’s a blog in itself. Just because you drive the latest hybrid Eco car each year does not make you more Eco friendly than I am even, though a drive a 10 year old diesel bakkie.(No matter how efficient it is it had to come from somewhere. (Some huge factory and steel mill made them thousands of sea miles away using parts from all over the world). So please think before you judge me.
The real truth is that there are just too many of us roaming around not to mention we have a unquenchable thirst for resources and not enough respect or understanding of our place on this planet. Saving the Panda or a Whale because it pulls on our heart strings will not be enough long term. Environmentalism as well as environmental awareness needs to be elevated from a social fashion statement to a fact of life, not dissimilar to breathing or getting old.
We need to be better educated in this field as well as have a better fundamental understanding of our environment ( The place we call home,not invest billions of $ looking for a chance of life on some distant planet). Have an ego check, be humble about who and what we are, only then that do we stand a viable chance of making the next 1000 years.