My Mid Life Crisis: Sustainability or Not

They look me in the eye and say
Dad were you sustainable today
The air is hot and seas are rising
Did that oil and gas company do some compromising?
After 30 years of rape and pillage
Reading reports that quantify spillage
I look in my soul and feel betrayed
The world I have left is quite dismayed
The rhetoric companies and governments make
Do nothing to stop the world of take
China and India are exploding
The world’s resources steadily eroding
Industry pumps the air full of crap
The world is hit by a random cold snap
The oceans are tips for nuclear waste
The water we drink has a peculiar taste
The politicians say that technology will endure
Innovation and greed will open the door
An Edison, Franklin or even a Ford
Will create an invention the world will adore
But what if their wrong and we have sat on our hands
Or the solution they find only supports half of man
The world has been subject to innovation and change
Maybe our thoughts have always been deranged
I remember contemplating a simpler life
A Sunday lunch with kids and wife
No artificial games or virtual world
Just a kick of the ball and stories told
But I ignored the indicators and drove my V8
I consumed resources, I gorged and I ate
The argument that raged of global warming
I left to governments to do the sorting
What if I had taken a positive stance?
Looked at catching rainwater, not live in a trance
Used electricity as a precious commodity
Considered alternatives not thinking of their oddity
I may have influenced others to do the same
In turn they influence others and so play this game
All of sudden the dialogue has changed
Governments listen and companies engaged
Sustainability becomes the new catch cry
Opportunities abound and businesses try
With Government incentives and different tax regimes
Abuse of natural resources diminishes and we are not so obscene
Australia jumps off the miners back
Has a new skill to sell, keeping the world intact
Maximising use of the carbon credits
Society rejoicing of this merit
I look at these decisions and consider a path
If we keep this pace we will endure the earths wrath
Simple influence can change how we think
A little action by many will create a stink
I don’t want my grandkids to look back and say
That old bastard screwed us at work that day
He didn’t listen to the world at large
The water is so high; we now live on a barge
So to all that read this ode
Please realise we are at the crossroad
The world is crying for us to be able
So use the options, become sustainable

By Richard Schokman
3rd April 2005

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Posted in sustainable living
5 comments on “My Mid Life Crisis: Sustainability or Not
  1. jeremy says:

    Richard – This is probably the most inspirational piece of writing I have ever read by one of my students. I know that the primary motivation for many people is to get a grade 7, but I’m sure I can speak for Judith as well as myself when I say that this kind of heart-felt prose is worth a thousand grade 7s! Thank you for sharing it with us. Jeremy

  2. Mark says:

    This is incredible work Richard. You managed to highlight many of the key ideas of GSN480 and show some brilliant creativity. With your permission, I’d like to pass this on to my family and friends. Cheers, Mark.

  3. alexey says:

    You are not alone on this race of contradictions; in one hand we want more of everything, but in the other, we do not want to clsoe the eyes and ignore the rest of the world. We are so lucky that sometimes I feel ashamed of my own lifestyle. However, as David said, it is up to us -individuals- to lead the change and share some of our “luck” with the less fortunate. I enjoy the smiles of children when they receive a visit from the people interested in their future; children in developing economies do not understand much of “fairy tales”, the physical contact raises hope and willingness to succeed. There is so much one can do, we just do not stop to think of that and the impact we are having in this and future generations. Thanks for sharing that piece of work.

  4. Dino Beverakis says:

    Richard, I have a chill running down my spine…I am greatly inspired by your words, I will share some thoughts.
    We continue on our merry ways without, it seems the thought of coming days.
    I feel we all struggle week by week and forget about the rising water and increasing heat.
    I wish we could all just take a breath and see it is not all about the wealth.

  5. Richard says:

    Guys and Gals, I am truely humbled by your comments and apprecaite the feedback and sentiment.
    This whole subject has bought a subtle level of alignment. The balance between a need to succeed yet a bigger need to refil my soul.
    I, like many of you, attacked my fixation with powerful cars and considered changing vehicles. Yet when I looked at the capital investment on another wasted resource, I decided to look for other means of positive contribution rather than wasting money changing cars.
    Simply I set myself a target to reduce my expenditure on electricity and water by $1000.00pa. In real terms about a 50% reduction. But I have found that was too hard, and self sustainable electcity and water far easier to contemplate and more cost effective, than doing half the job.
    Currently I am evaluating options to install 2 X 50,000lt water tanks, one at house level and one high on our block (gravity feed for garden watering). Basically I have the capacity to fill these tanks (100,000 lts) 4 times each year based on our average rainfall. My thoughts are to use a windmill to pump the water from the lower tank up the hill to keep the gravity feed tank always full. Cost’s no doubt will be the stumbling block, yet I keep looking at these types of iniatives adding value to the family home and so could be seen as an investment. Solar hot water and complete Solar generation are also options I am reviewing. Leanne (my best friend and wife) is now inquiring with Government on rebates and tax incentives trying to see if they have considered carbon credits for the common man.
    So, I have exposed my next idea. CC’s for the common man. Imagine if our consumption of natural resources could be balanced against a attraction of CC at an indivdual level. Food for thought.
    By the way the reason I wrote the poem was to have something that would tug at my soul when I need realigning. I never imagined the effect it would have on others.
    Mark please copy and use at will. The message is for public good.

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