This is my 4th year taking part in the Earth Hour, a global event aimed at raising awareness about sustainability issues.  This year, I have decided to write a daily post during the month leading to the event in order to share some thoughts about the environment and give tips the little changes we can make in our daily lives.  There will also be some guest posts by fellow bloggers who will share their own views on a topic related to the environment.  You can read my introductory post here and access the Earth Hour website here.

I encourage you to comment and share your own tips, ideas and experience.  In the last couple of days before the event I will do a few posts about what readers had to say.  I believe we can learn a lot by sharing!

As today is World Book Night, I offer you a literary interlude to celebrate.  The exerpt below is from the last chapter of Margaret Atwood’s Payback in which she considers the debt we owe to nature. 

In this chapter, Atwood asks readers to imagine a modern Scrooge, “Scrooge Nouveau”, a businessman loaded with money and whose only concern is his money.  The description she makes of him is a hilarious satire, which seems so true.  Although the tone remains playful, the subject matter becomes grimmer as the story goes.  Along with Scrooge Nouveau, we are brought into the past, the present and the future to see how humans have become indebted to Nature and what happens as they cannot payback.  The future offers two possibilities, depending on the choice we decide to make regarding the environment. 

Of course, these are things I think about on a daily basis (each time I make the choice to turn off the switch of the plugs in my house), but the way Atwood writes about it is powerful and brought tears to my eyes.  I am not sure if these were tears of sadness or anger, probably a bit of both.  It made me want to send the book to all the businesses that leave their lights on at night.  I want to talk about it, I want to make people aware that we can make decisions to help our planet.  Every time I bring up this topic, I hope I get the person to become conscious that s/he has a choice and  believe it is a small victory.

Enough for now, here is the passage:

“But the clock is striking twelve, and under his hands the Spirit is dissolving.

It’s changing to something dry and scaly.  Now it’s a giant cockroach. ‘I am the Spirit of Earth Day Future,” it says in a rasping voice.

. . .

At first Scrooge barely recognizes his future self.  He’s gaunt and frantic, and pushing a wheelbarrow full of cash.  As he watches, his future self tries to exchange this mountain of money for a can of food, but it’s no deal.

. . .

‘The mills of the gods grind slowly, but they grind exceeding small,’ says the Spirit.  ‘Mankind made a Faustian bargain as soon as he invested his first technologies, including the bow and arrow.  It was then that human beings, instead of limiting their birth rate to keep their population in step with natural resources, decided instead to multiply unchecked.  Then they increased the food supply to support this growth by manipulating those resources, inventing ever newer and more complex technologies to do so.  Now we have the most intricate system of gizmos has ever known.  Our technological system is the mill that grinds out anything you wish to order up, but no one knows how to turn it off.  The end result of a totally efficient technological exploitation of Nature would be a lifeless desert: all natural capital would be exhausted, having been devoured by the mill, and the resulting debt to Nature would be infinite.  But long before then, payback time will come for Mankind.'”

You can see the entire review here.