Planting an Inheritance
When my wife and I were newly and blissfully married we moved in Pennsylvania, where I worked at a small, progressive private High School teaching Physics to kids whose parents were living ‘alternative lifestyles’. We found the cutest little renovated chicken coop to live in [teachers are not ‘over-paid’ in the USA] on a country estate called Vixen Hill, owned by a very eccentric older couple: Americans from a by-gone era: he was from Georgia and she was from Vermont. Slowly, we became a part of their social circle and learned about the joy of ‘old money’ and what mattered to them. Our landlord, named Ed, was an Engineer turned advertising executive turned writer who was beautifully obsessed with, what he called. “Planting an Inheritance” In fact, the last book he wrote had that title [pictured above]. He was sure that the best thing he could do with his life was to build a foundation upon which his children could build an even better and happier future.
Of, course at time, being all of 30 years old at the time, I did not quite understand why it was anybody’s mission, let alone mine, to have a life’s work that was explicitly focused on the next generation. However, now that I am 60, and feeling very mortal, Ed’s ambition is one I very much sympathize with. Now for Ed, that meant leaving his estate of Vixen Hill in tip top shape to one of his sons. He succeeded in this because his son Charles still lives on this beautiful estate. Although a worthy legacy, I propose to you that we, as Club of Rome members, should consider another gift to the future.
Perhaps you are like me, struggling with what the probable unpleasant future will mean for our children and grandchildren as we continue down the ‘business as usual’ scenario. Upon reflection and without being prescriptive I propose that the name from the original Limits to Growth’s model run ‘business as usual’ tells us what we need to know:
Stop Living Business as Usual!
And what do I mean precisely? I mean to be precisely imprecise as 100 people doing 100 different things is my idea of heaven. Although the following lists of ideas are only meant to provoke – in the hope that will soon be labelled eccentric by your friends and family. First, here are some thoughts on what NOT to do, followed by examples of people I have met or read about on their ‘eccentric’ journey.
DON’T DO THIS
Enjoy shopping at Wallmart
Own a Ford F-150 truck or RV
Don’t read or if you do only novels by Stephen King
Eat at MacDonalds
Do more, be busy, make success your god because ‘complicated is good’
Live in suburbia – unless you turn your lawn into a vegetable garden surrounded by flowers
Take a cruise or fly to Las Vegas for the weekend
Take your kids or grandkids to Disney World
Be called ‘nice’ and ‘normal’ by your neighbours
Complain or whine [especially about bad winter weather]
Make only safe decisions
Paint your walls grey
Buy stuff just because it’s cheaper
Be in debt like everybody else around you
Move into a bigger house and buy a nicer car because you can afford it [so says your banker]
Act like what you do doesn’t matter
Never give up
Have your kids and grandkids call your weird
Sing in a choir
Ladies over 50 – wear a red hat https://www.redhatsociety.com/
Be content and grateful every day
Stop flying and eating red meat
Experiment cooking Vegan
Read Living the Good Life by S. Nearing [radical economist, writer, political activist, pacifist, advocate of simple living]
Live with only a bar sized fridge
Learn a skill, like permaculture, to pass onto the next generation
Teach your grandchildren about life in the ‘olden days’ and a skill like knitting or woodworking
Live below your means
Spend a bit more on stuff that will last or don’t buy at all
Grow some vegies, feed the birds and install a bat house in your yard [if you have one]
Live without any fossil fuels
Slow down, do less, live simply
Be an honorary Maritimer – have uninvited guests drop in at all times and SMILE like this guy:
So, as you work towards being an environmental hero or heroine, have a great time meeting other great people who, like you, care.