May 13, 2020

If It's Not Essential, It's Not Necessary

I know that something that is not considered essential would be non-essential. But what is that? Not a very glowing term, is what. Maybe we should think about that a bit more as we adjust to where things appear to be going at this strange point in time.

I think it important because when we understand what non-essential means, it gives us a greater appreciation for those things we call essential, but may have taken for granted in the olden days of 2 months ago.

I have been learning a lot about what we now look at as "essential workers" on Canadian farms (also essential). 

Right now up the valley from me, farm workers are actively gearing up for a new growing season. Who are they? Not locals, as one might think. 

The vast majority in the fields are temporary foreign workers from the Caribbean, some of which have been coming here every spring for the past 20 years. To put food on my table. 

I didn't know that. Even though I ate food that was carefully planted, tended, and harvested by their hands, they were invisible to me.

From now on I will recognize them, and their farm employers, for their contribution to my life, and be grateful for their labour. Food, after all, is one of my all time favourite things (along with air, water, and warmth).

To continue, one could look up the definition of non-essential and see what insights that might offer. 

Ouch. Not. Flattering. You do not want to be in that category.

Just look at a selection of other words that could be used interchangeably. I am surprised that anyone from the establishment would call any GDP-boosting business activity in terms that have the power of these blistering words.







unnecessary, and


Never has there been a more honest statement about the majority of what we call a normal, functioning economy. It's all there in the dictionary.

How much of the economy is needless and uncalled-for? Look at how much is shut down now. It is surely a massive amount, since a lot of it depends on endless waste.

Is it thirty percent? Fifty percent? Eighty percent?

What does work even mean in these times when that labour can be considered needless by the very system that propels people to do it to survive? Why were millions of people employed in needless work?

As usual I have more questions than answers. So many questions.

However, it is clear to me that much of our wasteful economy will need to be shut down permanently before arriving at a level where what we are consuming in one year equals what the planet can provide in one year. 

Anything more than that leads right to ecosystem collapse.

Now is a great time to start the global economic downsizing (rightsizing), because if it's not essential, it's probably not necessary. Let's keep it shut down.


  1. Anonymous5/13/2020

    I hope everyone's safe and staying safe. I just read that the virus is mutating and getting much more dangerous. I don't want to alarm anyone but it's time to get right with God, cause this is getting downright scary! Stay home and stay safe, guys!

  2. Most food production here in the USA relies heavily on workers from other countries. We are finding out just how important those workers are now that there are food shortages. They are invisible to most people which is a shame considering how much they do for us.

    You could hear a cheer coming from my lips when reading that many big retailers won't survive this pandemic. Why did we think we needed these mega stores anyway? I hear much chatter about shopping locally and buying things made in North America. I celebrate all people and cultures, but we must shrink the economy in order to survive as a species.

    1. I have been asking myself, "When did that happen that we stopped planting and picking our food? And slaughtering our own meat?" Invisible indeed.

      We also try to source our stuff from as close by as possible. The world is shrinking again, and it should.


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