Margaret Atwood (playing out the thematics of Victory Gardens) in the forward to A Breath of Fresh Air: Celebrating Nature and School Gardens (having cultivated the ground of morals and food production) snaps from the vine this set of observations on the period of post-War affluence:
There was an undeniable emotional charge to throwing stuff out. Scrimping, saving and hoarding make a person feel poor […] filling up your garbage can with junk you no longer want makes you feel rich. Saving is heavy, discarding is light. Why do we feel this way? Once we were nomads, and nomads don’t carry around grand pianos. They don’t hoard food; instead they move to where food is. They leave a light footprint, as the green folk say. Well it’s a theory.
But we can’t all be nomads anymore. There isn’t enough space left for that.
I like how the very notion of nomad-influence gets discarded. The writing is composting itself.
A couple of observations: she doesn’t say we cannot be mobile. A Red Queen type of mobility sur place awaits us in our densed-up urban settings. Indeed at some level what we dispose of needs to develop velocity — needs to convert quicker (and in less space). The infrastructure of compost-creation leaves a heavy footprint. Industry plugs into local food.
Energy calculus. At play in the system will be a surplus of consumables — there will be food to waste (only so much hydroponic lettuce will find its way into our personal digestive track; a fair bit will provide roughage to the corporate waste management system). Cities will look to lock into their hinterlands their muck. Look up the history of “night soil”.
Future civic deliberations will focus upon the feeding of The Machine and the speed of cycling with factions vying for the accumulation of value through speed up meeting the resistance of calls for equilibrium though respect for traditional time lines. Will we have to take the time to become light footprint leavers? Become not nomads but partakers of the potlatch — a coastal people in the islands of our metropolises?
And so for day 1201