Still in Diu, although we’re braving the bus again tomorrow to head back to Ahmedabad and thence to Rajasthan. It’s been a pleasant couple of days here – we’ve befriended the lovely Mr Oscar de Souza, the chef at one of the local restaurants, who’s been plying us with excellent seafood and delicious curries. The beach didn’t quite live up to the visions I had of the sparkling, crystal-clear waters of the Arabian Sea – ’twas more like Port Phillip Bay on a bad day – but still, it was good to have a dip and lay back in the sun for a bit. All in all, life could be worse.
Laying back on the beach, though, I got to thinking about… well, layers of reality is the best way I can describe it. Such considerations are a major theme of The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, which I’m still reading (and enjoying immensely). This is an idea that I quite like anyway, but spending time here has got me thinking about how the reality of the West – the way we live our lives in Australia and its economic contemporaries – is founded on and dependent on the way the rest of the world lives. In other words, the way the West lives is not sustainable – it relies on an uneven balance whereby the rest of the world essentially funds our lifestyle.
This is hardly a revelation, but still, visiting a country like India has kinda made such considerations more… more real, I suppose. There’s a general assumption in the West that we have a god-given right to have as much of anything as we want. The whole model is founded on limitless growth, whereby population and standard of living can keep growing indefinitely. This is our reality: we can have meat for dinner every night, we can use as much petrol as we want, we can use as much water as we want, etc etc. But this reality is unsustainable: the only reason we can live like this is that the rest of the world doesn’t, because there isn’t enough to go around. There’s no way the planet can support enough cows to feed 6 billion people, nor that it can support our paying $1 a litre for petrol and driving down to the corner shop every time we can’t be arsed to walk.
It’s kinda like a pyramid scheme – those at the top survive by standing on those below. Again, this isn’t an earth-shattering revelation, but I suspect that things will be rather different by the time our generation dies off. The way we use the car will change fundamentally as oil prices rise. The way we use water will change if our population and consumption continue to increase. The way we eat will change (or at least, it should do).
Anyway, enough musings for today. I sound like George Monbiot. Aiii!