Saturday, January 22, 2005


The Industrial Lifestyle

One of the first people to awaken me to the dangers of industrial civilization was the Japanese farmer/writer/activist/academic Tsuchida Takashi. I listened to him speak once, then started on two of his books that should be considered a set: “The Industrial Lifestyle Will Lead to Ruination” and “The Agricultural Lifestyle Assures Our Future.” The former shows where we are going, and the latter where we should be going. Tsuchida does not have a shock-jock style of writing. He sounds pretty low-key, in fact, but he minces no words in calling the industrial system “criminal.” And our crimes are obvious when we see the exploitation and destruction required to feed the maw of the industrial machine and keep consumers consuming. At the same time, more and more land — including precious farmland — is covered over with factories, malls, and their parking lots, as well as housing developments for the people who work in the factories and shop at the malls.

Tsuchida was originally on an elite career track at the prestigious Kyoto University when he had his epiphany. Shortly after, he found himself out on the streets in his spare time, pulling a hand cart and picking up trash for recycling. It was the beginning of his own transformation. And now through setting an example, he is showing that grubbing around in the dirt is not a task too menial for anyone, that it is in fact something we should all do if we are to have a more secure future and a more just world.

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