The Miles Driven

Why not be fair to future generations: let’s count the miles driven, across the world, today. Come on, we should be able to face this – how many miles driven, across the world, today. Let’s say there is over a billion cars – how many miles did each car drive?- and remember, none of them run on marshmallows.

We should be fair to others- many, many people drove those cars, including us. And in keeping with capitalism’s fatal error of externalizing costs and deaths and destruction, very few people died from either the manufacture or the noxious gases emanating from a tailpipe- that is, today, but in combination with all the other industrial processes and productions that go into making our consumer mega-world, there are directly attributable deaths to come from all this driving.

And it is not just the lowly driving nobody – Amazon operates world-wide, ramping up millions of miles driven every day, for a spread-out cost, to allow entitled consumers, like almost all of us, to buy five pens and a cheese grater, without having to go to a real store. All those delivery trucks, from manufacture to storage to delivery, all so each one of us can, legally and without fear of imprisonment, get whatever little trinket that erupts as a need in our hyper-assaulted neofrontal cortex.

This is not going well.

That’s all that needs to be said.  Each one of us, whether Thoreauvian voluntary simplicity guru or heedless QVC shopper, is without blame or fault from the non-existent wizards in the sky, since it is the collective economic supersystem that will kill off the ecological bases for future humanity, squirrels, trees, fish, and a few million  other blameless species.

This is not going to go well.

We can march and protest, dream and pontificate, find enemies and sit in classroom prisons or rewild a rabbit warren, but the social world of humans possesses tragic, horrific flaws of under-regulation, particularly when it comes to the spectacular effects of fire.

We need to entertain some grand or even minor maps of meaning and beneficial purpose to our lives, but science and history and sociology are shredding that former “hope” or former vision of “progress.” Those cars are not falling silent tomorrow. The factories are not going to reverse and suck back in all the Happy Meal Toys. The rivers are not going to run pure. The dead do not come back to life. This knowledge is so much bigger than any of us can contend with, so instead, we are going to order that stainless steel throwaway barbecue sheet, buy an F-150 on credit, and watch tonight’s steroid concussion spectacle.  Or some version thereof – with costs to be passed on, to an unseeable, unrealizable, but duly imagined,  tomorrow.


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