Sod the environment

D.l.P. and I are pondering where to spend New Years’ this year. Seeing as we’ll be out somewhere in the New Zealand country side, not too many options seem to present themselves, except of course a quiet one in, which might be nice. But I was thinking of maybe giving Phat 06 a shot – sounds like fun. Except that it sounds suspiciously like the kind of thing my ex-flatmate A. would go to. I used to live with A. in a shared house in Newtown, and A. wouldn't have a bifter without going on and on about how lovely and peaceful and just generally at-one(derful)-with-nature it would be if we could only have this very cone somewhere in the rainforest. Or perched on an escarpment in the Blue Mountains. Or out on the reef. I liked A. but I’m not Nature Boy and don't view nature (especially Australian nature) quite as rosy as A. did. So the whole Phat 06 thing does remind me somewhat of what my favourite way cool writer dude John Birmingham wrote in Dopeland: Taking the high road through Australia’s marijuana culture, tongue firmly in cheek and in passing doing a very good impression of the always entertainingly mad Miranda Devine:

“[I’m] one of those smokers who couldn’t give a toss about the wonder of nature. I know that dope culture as defined in a place like Nimbin glories in the natural environment and generally considers the city to be a profoundly anti-human space – good for nothing but inspiring Jeffrey Smart paintings. But really, fuck the environment. What’s it ever done for you? Yeah, sure, bits of the environment are nice to look at, or sit in, or eat, particularly when you’ve got a real buzz on and a severe case of the munchies. But on the whole the environment is a really tough motherfucker who would kick you to death given half the chance. The environment and humanity have been at war for over a million years, ever since we discovered we had an opposable thumb and the environment didn’t. That meant we could use tools to chop it down and dig it up, which meant over the long arc that we were a lay-down certainty to KICK ITS FUCKING ARSE!

But of course the environment had quicksand, deadly snakes, tsunamis, sharks, schools of intelligent piranha that can swim down a periscope and eat your brains out through your eyes, giant nuclear ants, tornados, the Russian winter, those big fucking worms in Tremors with Kevin Bacon, werewolves, malaria, the Ebola virus and cataclysmic asteroid impacts – which, while technically not part of the environment, can be contracted in on a casual basis to destroy the civilisation we’ve spent so long building with our nifty opposable thumbs. So don’t feel sorry for the environment. Like a juicy Illabo lamb, it would eat you alive if it could.

You don’t believe me? You think there’s nothing more exquisite than sundown viewed from a mountaintop with a nicely rolled jay of organically grown bush buds. Well then, why don’t you light up and spend some time in the environment, nature boy? The real environment, that is. The one with actual poisonous snakes and no decent cocktails or complimentary bar snacks to speak of? Because the sad fact is, if you had to make your way in the natural environment as opposed to the built version where you spend ninety-nine percent of your time at the moment, you would die. That’s right, die. A really fucking ugly death it’d be too, screaming and vomiting up hot blood, like (…) Scooby Doo: The Movie.

(…) You know what the environment really thinks of you? It thinks you’re a pussy. You drive everywhere. You sleep in a bed. Your food comes out of a microwave. The closest you get to rubbing up against the environment is pulling a cone and falling asleep on the banana lounge out in the backyard. (…) If [the Greens] got their way and shut down the petrochemical industry, (…) the environment would squash them like bugs. With no cars to pollute the atmosphere they would fall prey to an army of vengeful super-birds, just like in that Hitchcock movie. Giant trees would begin to take over the suburbs because there would be no fuel for bulldozers and chainsaws to keep them in check. With our brave fishing trawlers sitting idle because of the lack of fuel, the oceans would fill up with dangerous sea life again, arrogant fish of all shades which would be free to nip painfully at your dangly bits as you stood in the shallows, sucking a joint and feeling oh-so-superior because smoking the blessed herb had put you in direct contact with the mind of God or Gaia or mother nature or whatever.

So don’t talk to me about how a smoke at dawn lets you sail into the day to commune with the environment. The only environment I’m interested in communing with in the morning is a well-run café with an extensive breakfast menu.” (pp. 138-141)

Mind you, New Zealand’s environment is a lot less threatening than Australia’s, so I might just head to Phat 06. You never know – I might meet Gaia.