"“It has been a disappointment to me that so many people, including all too many environmentalists, thought the spirit of liberation of the 1960s was and is dispensable.” — Jan Lundberg"
One mark of a life well spent might be whether anyone takes a moment to write or say something publicly to note your passing. You could easily estimate the number of breaths that effort takes, in this case about 120. One hundred twenty breaths to sum up a person’s life.
My parents had three reasons: medical freedom surrounding birth, Mexican nationality for owning land on the coast, and being able to stay out of the U.S. military should I need to do so, through Mexican citizenship.
Dan Lundberg and I have in common these penchants: being the muckraking journalist, fasting for health, growing organic food, disdaining institutions, enjoying movies and plays, and setting out our individual future according to scripts we write for ourselves and loved ones along with anyone who might get close…. I owe to him my zeal, self-confidence and skills.
River rat: An extravaganza of the 'teens [Daniel Lundberg] on Amazon.com. *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers.www.amazon.com
Moving the family to Los Angeles, Dan got heavily into screenwriting (Gunsmoke, Jack Benny, World of Giants, and other productions), radio journalism, and promoting “Health Jubilees” about fasting and related modalities.***In the early 1950s Dan Lundberg created The Dan Lundberg Show, on KCOP’s (Copley Newspapers) Channel 13. Every Sunday evening for seven years, this “first talk show on television” competed in southern California with the national Ed Sullivan Show.
It was here that I was awakened politically. I was asked by my dormitory leader Michel Blanc, “Que pense-tu de la guerre au Vietnam?” (What do you think of the war in Vietnam?) I replied, “Je n’aime pas la guerre.” He retorted, kindly enough, “Il n’y a personne qui aime la guerre.” In other words, English words, I was not being let off by saying I didn’t like war, because Michel was pointing out, “Nobody likes war.” I realized that I had to be against what the U.S. was doing in Vietnam, but I knew almost nothing about it.
I didn’t want to return to the States, having already reached that liberating decision. The English-speaking high school I attended and the jet-setting social circle I enjoyed were exhilarating, while I learned languages and believed I would always taste the delicacies of life.***I met Xenia Anagnostopoulou, whom I was to marry, in Overseas School of Rome. I can still remember sitting next to her by chance, during our 10th grade first-day orientation when we were 15 years old, and asking her name… Our high school romance began a year later when we coincidentally ended up in the same high school in Greece.
But my father stood up at the end, causing me to go pale in embarrassment, and asked a question of Doxiadis. It was something like, “Aren’t you condoning or contributing to the industrial destruction of the planet by paving over nature? Don’t we need a little nature?”
My first job at the firm was actually during college, part time, 1970–1971, on every Friday night. Our team had to take down over the telephone the gasoline station survey-data from around the country, mostly just price changes for the grades of gas. It was an easy job and was suffused with camaraderie and free food.
When I found out about the present danger of global warming it was on a sweltering evening over dinner in the summer of 1988 in Washington with the chief economist of the Environmental Defense Fund, Dan Dudek. His bad news made me feel as if I lost some innocence as a child of the Earth. Yet this spurred me on to jump into the movement with all I had.
My new life in 1989 saw me happily caring for my older daughter full time, I had my stimulating work, and I picked up the guitar again — and have not put it down since.
I realized I had made a mistake: I could have and should have used the settlement from Lundberg Survey to exit the business/nonprofit culture entirely. I could have bought a farm and got close to the land.
“We are fast approaching many of the Earth’s limits. Current economic practices which damage the environment cannot continue. Our massive tampering could trigger unpredictable collapse of critical biological systems, which are only partly understood. A great change in our stewardship of the Earth and the life on it is required if vast human misery is to be avoided, and our global home on this planet is not to be irretrievably mutilated.”
Because this warning was not heeded, major tipping points have been crossed. I see humanity and our fellow species on an alarming slide down to an unknown and terrible chasm. Few people seem to realize or admit it.
My findings and interests in both lifestyle and cultural change came through years of promoting transport reform and land-use changes so as to end urban sprawl, which I still push as secondary priorities.***
Getting the word out, even when fraught with negativity, seemed to be what I had been preparing for since a very young age. I was influenced greatly by my father’s example as a reporter, author and talk-show host. After ending my oil analysis career in 1988, I was soon to find that I had something positive and exciting to share.
***[S]ongs and the usual activism aren’t getting us very far — or so it only may seem, as countless seeds planted may still germinate and grow into a sustainable, just society. But perhaps we need a new idea, a new approach.
There are days when I believe it could it be right under our noses. Can lifestyle and culture change be presented as an appealing solution, or do we have to see collapse before people go into action and cope with even worse chaos?
Demanding social justice is righteous, but our course must be well thought out; there are no second chances with a totally trashed ecosystem and climate. I have come to my assessment not just in my mind, based on research from various disciplines, but in my heart….
Songs of Petroleum tells Jan Lundberg's life story as a successful oil industry analyst who turned his back on fame and…www.amazon.com
In my quest and environmental career I have adopted “simple living” and even veered toward what one might consider to be primitivism — how “green” can we be to match the ecosystem’s and our species’ real needs?