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Thanksgiving and other feeding frenzies

Observations from the Edge
Robert T. Nanninga
Coast News
November 25, 1999


"A deep civilization crisis is underway, one that can cause social suicide. Our greatest threats no longer come from natural disasters but from the means we use to subdue nature." — Peter Berg

Thanksgiving is a very curious holiday. Wrapped in both revisionist history and the "gluttony is good" ideology, this holiday has become little more than a reason to subject yourself to airport hell, feuding families, an a dead bird ritually served. But what exactly do we have to be thankful for? More to the point, is thanksgiving, like all the others holidays, anything more than just a way of placating the masses into believing that all is right with the world.

I realize that most journalists will succumb to the propaganda/ nostalgia of the Indians and pilgrims sitting down to break bread myth. I however, didn't buy that when I was a kid, nor will I propagate it now. What do native America tribes have to be thankful for? Five hundred plus years after first contact and all the Indian Nations have to show for it is an astronomical suicide rate, rampant alcoholism, and a few casinos. And where I understand there are a few success stories in which native people have retained their culture in a significant way, if the truth be told, the injustice western civilization visited upon an entire continent should make Americans choke on every mouthful of turkey.

American holidays are the ultimate in excess, which is hard to imagine considering that America lives a life of perpetual excess, way beyond their means. For everyone who doubts that statement, to prove my point all I need do is ask if they have credit cards, a mortgage or a loan. If the answer is yes then it becomes quite obvious that they are living beyond their means. Hell, America is so deep in debt, to be debt free is down right treasonous. But having grown accustomed to our consumer culture we continue to shop, as if being thankful for our perceived abundance is enough to hold back the pending ecological disasters.

And how do we address the debt? We burrow in deeper, and if that is not enough, comfortable in our denial, we sale non-renewable resources to keep the credit flowing. The United states, when not erasing it's own temperate rainforests, is actually encouraging other nations to make withdrawals from the planetary ATM to pay off foreign debt. The forests of Borneo will disappear in our lifetimes, and with a whole host of species, most notable the orangutans. And for what? Teak furniture, and other unnecessary consumer goods. I wonder how many Southern Californians will sit down to eat this holiday season on exotic hardwoods that come at the expense of entire ecosystems.

 Everything human is about subduing nature, having realized that our species is but a speck of carbon dust in the great unknown, humans first set out to conquer nature, and then after the natural world was put in it's place(read apart from human habitats) humans then decided it was time to understand nature so that it could be be manipulated. Which is where we are now. Pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, and genocide are all the same thing, and share the same root word. Coincidence? I think not.

Now that we have come to the conclusion that spraying poisons  will no longer do the trick, without poisoning ourselves, mad scientists have been hard at work genetically engineering plants as a way of protecting them from species other than our own. The question is who will protect the people from genetically engineered food. As you sit down to partake of your holiday feast, ask yourself which of the food items on the table never occurred in nature. So now, instead of just being thankful for the turkey corpse in the middle of the table, Americans, of all social economic classes, can be thankful for the mashed potatoes and the scientists that brought them to market.

Here in Coastal North county we live so beyond our means it is comically tragic. Millions of people live in a region that has enough fresh water resources to support maybe 500,000 individuals. But instead of conserving water in our desert habitat, and limiting the amount of people drawing from the proverbial well, we not only plan to accommodate millions more, we also continue to waste water on such senseless luxuries as lawns and non-native ornamental landscaping. Talk about subduing nature, not content with living in Southern California, policy makers are doing everything in there power to eradicate San Diego's naturally occurring biotic communities in favor of one more to their liking.

So on this, the last dead turkey day of the 20th century I say: "Eat, drink and be thankful. While you still can."

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