Me and the world are suffering from too much information blues. Television news is a bad thing. Both for the bad news overload and the lack of choice of what you get to know. When I met my husband, he was working at ABC News in DC. So we know what that business is about.

And when you trust your television
What you get is what you got
Cause when they own the information, oh
They can bend it all they want …

sings John Mayer in Waiting On the World To Change.

What I really truly need to know about the world finds me and can get to me also. I have the privilege of knowing Mr. Harry. He is a liberal octogenarian who speaks his mind. He worked in the Budget Department of the government for a long time. He knows stuff. He says that we need to tell our government about how we don’t want them spending our money to help kill people in the Gaza strip. He may be eighty a lot but he’s very passionate about holding the government accountable for its actions.

I hear him loud and clear and I feel torn. Do I have any say? Will one voice mean anything? And it’s that immediate give up-ness that I don’t like feeling. Seems so contrary to the philosophical foundations of America.

Amelia ISland, Florida from Overwhelmed on

There’s sneaky extra bits of information that throw me off even more. When children and animals are involved. Hunger and crimes against humanity and I wander off into the helplessness zone again. I don’t want to be feeling helpless, confused, sad, and powerless. I don’t like feeling those feelings. Not at all. Here are a few other bits of information that put me there. (I apologize if it puts you there too. And you may want to stop reading now. But I’m hoping maybe you have some insight and thoughtful support.)

A fellow blogger Marg Hogan posted on her blog Destination Here and Now,  Don’t Eat Emus! They Contain Palm Oil, about the use of uncertified palm oil and its effect on the habitats of the orangutans. There’s palm oil in the β€œnatural” Jif peanut butter I found at the store. But I don’t know whether the Jif manufacturers are using certified palm oil or not. That feeling of not knowing if anything I use even has palm oil in it, if it’s certified, and feeling sad for the countries that pillage themselves and their native beasties for the buck. I hate that feeling. Ugh. ( Marg’s Easter Island theory is worth reading.)

I still remember the super panicky moment I had when, some years ago while sitting in the loo, I read an article in the Atlantic Monthly on the world’s dwindling food/grain supplies. Lots of statistics and authoritative people talking about food doom. Did I know there were food storage bins that measured the food wealth of the world? No. And the thought of them dwindling made me panic. Like it was my responsibility to feed the world. The world of food is definitely the biggest panic issue for me. (I’m making that a whole other article to follow.)

Tomato plants  from Overwhelmed on

The only power I have is in informing myself, using my choice wisely, and owning that it’s my choice to make. For instance, I choose to never shop at Wal-Mart. People can not believe this. They feel personally criticized when I mention that I won’t be shopping there for that item but thanks for the suggestion. Because I know I have a choice. Everyone does. I use that shopping/ buying/ choosing power to not choose to shop there. Why? Because they treat their employees like crap and they don’t support American made. Greed and cheapness won’t get my support.

So there you have it. While I feel empowered to be a conscious consumer and non TV watcher, I’m still overwhelmed by that which I have no control over. The diminishing world food supplies. The tendency of people to want to kill what they don’t understand. The rampant pillaging of natural resources. And the greed and self-serving qualities that seem to be extolled as virtuous. These things suck. Do what you can and let go of the rest I suppose is the best advice. There are so many good things about the world to still feel good about. The wonderful people you are interconnected with every day and don’t realize it. What do you think? What scares you most?

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  1. I keep thinking about your post today as I try to avoid radio news and online newspapers this week. It’s the overwhelmingly bad news that gets blasted, as you noted. I love that you say “What I really truly need to know about the world finds me” – that’s my new mantra.

    I’m horrified and scared by the crimes against children and women in troubled countries, and there’s no let-up in the reports of it happening. Hell on earth.

    I’m also a Walmart no-goer, and resent the constant “But you can get ____ for only 3 dollars!” Greed and cheapness indeed.

    Thanks for speaking up and out Shalagh!

    1. Thanks so much Dawn for your kindness. World is what it is despite what we want it to be. So we have to fine tune our receivers (remember the radion receivers we grew up with and all those knobs to play with?) I am glad that I committed to the post. Had to make two from one. There’s a food edition too. If it made a difference to just one person, then I’m glad to have given my voice to the subject.
      Thank you again and again,

  2. “There are so many good things about the world to still feel good about.” There are indeed. And as I’ve been reminding myself in recent months, as Steve’s wise-owl mum used to say, “You can’t take on everyone’s sorrows.” It will do your head in. But you can do your bit in your own circle of love. x

    1. You, my sister, had me going with this stuff and your kid and the orangutans. And I feel full circle complete now with what you,ve just said and you mother in-law was very very wise indeed. Sometimes it is not yours to pick up.
      Thank you for this,

  3. I’m not religious but here we are on the same hymn sheet again πŸ™‚ It’s serendipitous that octogenarians and nonogenarians (is that the word!) are speaking out, blogging and protesting and getting arrested because they feel the world has thrown away the hard won lessons of the past. I’ve come across so many examples of people like your older friend.
    My feeling is the system and the people are increasingly at loggerheads precisely because on the one hand is greed and power and on the other people have greater access to information than ever before and it’s creating a kind of conscious revolution where more and more people, like us, are opting out or beginning to, one way or another. In answer to this our governments try to convince us of their eternal wisdom by putting our countries on terror alerts, to breed fear and compliance but I think increasingly people are waking up to that manipulation.
    It seems inevitable that society as we know it is headed for collapse as the level of consumption is just not sustainable and the widening gap between the top and the bottom is just too great, people are going to revolt, maybe not in our lifetime but seems inevitable. I’ve taken heart myself at a lot of positive discussion and action of which there are already signs, community gardens, permaculture, off grid living etc. Seems the way we’ll survive is people will form small local communities, pool resources, grow their own food and take care of each other and you are so right, in your other post on food you talked about raising your children in these kind of practices which eventually people will have no choice but to face. Nothing else for it Shalagh, you will have to move to Ireland, buy a few acres and start planting. Me, so long as there’s wine we will manage πŸ™‚ Apologies for such a long comment, I could keep ravelling forever on these subjects πŸ™‚

    1. And it comes round again to smallifying ourselves. As we reach out to the reat of the world, we find that we can live well and happily on our homesteads. With occasional jaunts to the big city for culture, food, and not staying up really late nights. I thank you for your inspiration and can not wait to hear more of your permaculture adventures. And yes, oh yes, it would be a dream to retire there to your land and exist and write and have babies come to visit. At least part of the year? So happy to have your long winded comment here. So happy.

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