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21 Sep 2010

My Own Private Ecological Disaster ~ Editorial

The prescient H.G. Wells once wrote that human history might soon become a “race between education and catastrophe.” I would add that this race started a long time ago, for criticism of the Industrial Revolution has accompanied its viral growth since its inception. And now, in 2010, amid a (supposedly) flourishing “Green” movement and increased awareness about the environment, we face one of the largest environmental disasters in human history. Siegfried Goodfellow has brilliantly formulated a Heathen take on the event, but sadly, the sheer scope and the methods used for the so-called clean-up, a chemical called Corexit which is as toxic or even more so than the oil itself, make it unlikely that we will be able to influence its dire outcome.

However, as suggested by Henry’s eloquent account of his journey to nutritional enlightenment, we can take personal action that positively affects ourselves and our immediate environment. One important aspect of his article is the fact that all our choices in life should be an extension of our spiritual selves – but this pertains not only to nutrition, but  also to beauty products, cleaning products, and other sources of environmental toxins such as carpeting and household plastics. The list is long and a proper guide would make a worthwhile future article.

Another all-too-common scourge inside and outside the house is paint that contains lead, which is a battle my girlfriend and I are in the midst of as I write. The ole house we inhabit, built in 1926, had started to flake off long before we moved in and chances were high that the peeling layers included lead-based paint. A test confirmed our suspicions. Before starting the project of preparing the wood to be repainted, we acquired a guide to doing the work safely, which requires wearing a proper mask & filter, putting down a large tarp, wet-scraping and vacuuming everything  meticulously with a HEPA filter, among other precautions. We are also removing dirt that contains flakes, as it is harmful to grow edible plants in such soil.

When first faced with the task, we asked friends that had done painting and handyman work and found a surprising amount of ignorance when it came to safety measures. One friend seriously recommended melting off the paint with a torch even though lead fumes are extremely toxic, others thought it was fine to just powersand while wearing a normal dust-mask or not take any safety measures at all. Knowing what I know now, I see peeling paint everywhere in this city filled with old houses, and wonder what percentage is prepped and repainted the proper way. However, by being well-informed and willing to face the hard work, we have been able to contain a small-scale disaster and win a small victory in the struggle to eliminate harmful chemicals from our immediate environments. In addition to just being common sense, this to me seems in tune with a spiritual way that is based on ethical behavior and a truly holistic view of the world.

Hex Magazine Issue 7 Editorial by Markus Wolff

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