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The Ignoble Savage

June 18, 1989

How am I, a single soul, supposed to respond to Kirkpatrick Sale's call for action against the slow slide into ecological holocaust? Every time I turn the key in my 1980 diesel car to drive to the store, I contribute more poison to the nightmare. The electricity I burn every hour of every day drains a power source which must be replaced through burning coal, oil or nuclear energy. My refrigerator hums in the kitchen, I write by this light over my head, the clock ticks on the mantle, the air conditioner whirs in the attic. If I cut my lawn, prune my trees or turn on the garden fountain, more energy is expended.

So I then, the one served by all these machines, must in a very real sense be a "root cause." Shall I walk to the store, turn off the electricity, scratch out this message with a pen? I could do so, for I recall a time spent living on a farm where 95% of our livelihood came from the land. But the subsistence farm has been dead for 50 years at least, gobbled up by corporate farms and converted to single crops.

How do I begin? How do we begin to reverse the nightmare slide? We each must be more discriminating in meeting our needs, saying "no" to the quick buck, the short cuts, the baubles. If the broom will sweep a walk, why buy a blower? Save the energy. If a small car will give 27 miles per gallon, why buy a gas guzzler? If our job's final result is to further the wastefulness of our culture, why stay? In short, we must begin individually to reshape the very elemental factors of modern industrial life while we still have time. Otherwise, we are the eco-crisis!

JACK LYNCH

EL CAJON

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