Sunday, March 29, 2009

It's very simple

In a mining company sponsorship message on public radio the other day, the statement was made, "If it wasn't grown, it was mined."

I have been thinking of that daily ever since.

I sit in my car and scan the interior - everything came from mined materials.

In my home, from the chair where I relax and knit, it is about 50/50 mined and grown.

I walk through a store and touch each item I pass, saying mined, "mined, mined, mined," and then there is something cotton, silk or wool, and I can say "grown" like a game of Duck, Duck, Gray Duck.

This is a really, really different reality. I knew on some level that the plastics and metals came from mined materials, but I didn't appreciate how much of the "made" environment depends on mining. I have to acknowledge how much of my lifestyle is supported by mining. I have to consider that the alternatives of doing without or having the item fabricated from something grown are either not possible or ecologically sustainable much of the time. Maybe the only things we use that are not made or mined are air and light - and maybe water, when it isn't taken from the ground.

I can no longer demonize the mining industry - I need it. I need the oil that forms all the plastics in my computer. I need the metals that comprise the wiring. I need the minerals that tint my clothes, paper and ink. I need the silica that makes up my glasses and the iron for my hive tools.

Termites build massive earthen mounds, bees take in nectar, resins and pollen and extrude wax from their bodies, bower birds construct floral edifices, beavers build elaborate shelters, too. The practice of fabrication of stuff from other stuff is not unique to humans, but maybe only humans engage in fabrication to excess. But I won't be quick to say what "excess" is - I have been wrong about these things before, it seems.


pbird said...

Thank you beegirl for another thought-provoking post!

Have you seen the work of edward burtynsky?

MarkN said...

Something about moderation in all things... As always, the question becomes what is left behind for the next generations, either to use or to clean up (or to leave for the next generation, etc etc).

Very neat post!

twinsetellen said...

It's kind of like eating meat, isn't it? It's not wrong, but it needs to be done with respect and dignity for both sides.

Kathy said...

Paula, that artist's site is amazing! Thanks for the head's up!