Won't You Be My Neighbor?

| 4/8/2008 10:55:00 AM

NeighborsWe need to relearn neighborliness, argues Bill McKibben in Orion (article not available online). It’s a skill we need in order to wean ourselves from our fossil fuel–fueled independence. Not only for the predictable reason that cheap fossil fuel may soon run out, but because “we weren’t designed to be this distant from our neighbors—we descend from apes who spend most of the day grooming each other for the practical purpose of removing lice and for … building the deep bonds that give their lives security and meaning.” Plus, by going it alone, we’re defying a deeply rooted national character. De Tocqueville called us a nation of joiners, not a nation of “drive-around-by-ourselfers.” Rather than wait for the oil to dry up, or “weird weather, rising prices, and falling profits” to take their toll, McKibben urges us to rediscover the benefits of mutual reliance now.

Lisa Gulya

Image by junitha, licensed under Creative Commons.

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