Tag: Culture

The Unsettling Truth

The Unsettling Truth

“what can I do with what I know? Without at the same time asking, how can I be responsible for what I know?” (52)

An ecological crisis is what we are living in our everyday lives. Wendell Berry uses his novel The Unsettling of America to pull out the truth in an understanding yet complex way of writing. For those ignorant minds, thinking about our earth and the current crisis isn’t even an option. But for the people who care and try to educate themselves on our world and what is happening, they would understand what Berry is discussing. I along with most of the world feel that talking about humanities flaws and what we have done to this beautiful place that we live in is a hard pill to swallow. For any human being it is difficult to listen to any negative statements. Berry uses historical and scientific facts about our environment and its crisis. The quote above is precisely asking that main question, how can we use what we know to benefit the world? Meanwhile knowing what we are doing without being responsible for continuing the destruction. This large question is one that each individual has to take on themselves. One can be educated and still ruin the earth and others can know nothing yet have the common sense not to throw their trash out the window.

The Ecological Crisis as a Crisis of Character, The Ecological Crisis as a Crisis of Agriculture, and  The Agricultural Crisis as a Crisis of Culture are all linked together by this word: Crisis. A crisis is a time of serious difficulty or troubles. Our earth is undergoing huge amounts of difficulties as I am writing. Everything is link just as Berry says. Therefore, we as humans know that everything we do leads to something else occurring. He uses character to determine what we are as humans and what our role is on earth. Human beings have created this earth to be whatever they want and whatever they need. We have made high-rise buildings, parking lots, shopping malls, and homes that cover the earths floor for billions of miles. Ourselves as characters are putting one another right in the center that is our Crisis of Character.

JJ Thompson-Unsplash

The Ecological Crisis as a Crisis of Agriculture has come down to what we are doing to our own personal food. Agriculture has sustained humans since the beginning. Without the ability to farm and grow food we would never be able to survive. Eating food that comes from the earth is a beautiful thing yet, like always, we humans take it for granted. We have for some reason decided that the food isn’t being produced fast enough or in large enough quantities. Our agricultural crisis is that we are destroying the earth by using dangerous chemicals and pesticides to gain food at a faster pace. By doing this we are taking the magnificent opportunity of growing organic, nutritional, and healthy foods and throwing it down the drain. Sure we can put larger amounts of food on the shelves and gain a larger profit off of it but in the end all it is doing is killing us and the environment.

Noah Buscher-Unsplash

The Agricultural Crisis as a Crisis of Culture is the chapter in Berry’s book that I found to be most interesting. How we define culture is literally all culturally different. Culture is universal and everyone falls under their cultures characteristics. But to have an agricultural crisis to be a crisis of culture is hard to wrap our heads around. Berry states, “That is because the best farming requires a farmer- a husbandman, a nurturer- not a technician or businessman” meaning that following the original culture of agriculture is what works, not the modern way of doing things  (49). Culture is something that grows with the people within it so for agriculture to suddenly be growing into modern ways that means that the culture must grow too. It is sad to think that just because our societies are changing that the original and correct ways of doing things suddenly disappear. As a society we need to learn that efficiency isn’t what is going to get us through life, that the objects we take our time with are more important the spraying cancerous chemicals onto our foods. I feel that we need to take a step back, look at what we are doing, and understand that ‘good things come to those who wait’.