Reflections while Sewing a Raincover

091201_sewingcover.jpgI have spent the last three days sewing three 100-inch zippers on a raincover for the mobile studio/RV. They’ll let us be active inside the vehicle — running generator and heaters —  while protecting it from rain and snow.

As I work, I think of the factory workers in China who constructed it. Perhaps, as in a documentary we saw, it’s mostly young women from the rural areas working long hours with few breaks, in a fenced-in company compound, with company-provided meals and dorms, on a rigid time clock. Is it really a better life than in the rural areas where the poverty is deeper?

I think of the California family-owned company that manufactures these covers: did they once have a manufacturing plant in the U.S.A.? Just yesterday I read of 65,000 people applying for 2,000 jobs at a VW plant. Would Americans now want to compete for the low-paying jobs making these covers? Could they even get a survival wage to cover their transportation to work from their (non-company-provided) housing and meals?

I hear on the radio of farm workers in Fresno, California, who do not have food security. It’s not because the food isn’t there in the abundant food-production region where they work. It’s because they have neither the money to get the food nor nearby supermarkets which offer fresh foods. They are wage-slaves with possibly fewer provisions than those factory workers in China. This much-touted industrial-capitalism economic system is showing myriad cracks.

I read some of Derrick Jensen’s Endgame Vol. II: Resistance. His thorough analysis demonstrates how this insane industrial civilization is killing the world. It weaves into my thoughts of all the institutions reinforcing this dominator society’s suicidal assault on humans, non-humans and the natural world. From Earth’s perspective, it’s a good thing that this economic system is breaking down.

My thoughts return to the RV cover. Decades from now, will local people be constructing such items closer to home? Might they even be re-using materials like this cover, sewing them into newer and possibly non-discretionary items?

This RV/mobile studio and its cover certainly aren’t sustainable. They’re part of our powerdown transition from a resource-intensive and wasteful industrialism to what John Michael Greer calls “scarcity industrialism.” The mobile studio enables us to affordably tape Peak Moment videos in distant places. From this tiny house we can videotape people living simply, using less energy and materials, leaving less toxicity and waste. We can meet transitioners pioneering re-localization where, in future, local people will be manufacturing items like this raincover in and for their own communities.

They and many others will point the way towards living sustainability, towards reconnecting to the one precious natural world we cannot live without, our true economy and deep home.

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