Hope Dies Last But Should It? On Wishful Thinking, Hanging on by a Thread and the Peace of Acceptance
There is this interesting digital library I learned about not too long ago called the Wayback Machine, which, among other things, archives what is happening on the internet by taking occasional screenshots on any random day that take you, well, way back to what a given website or blog looked and functioned like from 1996 to the present day. Yes, including the long-dormant blogs and bloggers I’ve been occasionally wondering about since 2003. Once you enter the URL in the search bar, the links still work and the adorably primitive early animations are still there, frozen in time, just as they looked back in the day.
As someone who was part of that first wave online with our scrappy little AOL dial-up, our Power Macintosh 7500 computer and microwave-sized monitor, going back and touching down on some of the early blogs and message boards has been warmly nostalgic, though the gossip, dramatics and flame-wars between bloggers and commenters that I was glued to at the time should have been foreboding for what was to come with social media if I’d been paying closer attention. That said, it’s been kind of fun in my off hours to travel back in time and see who was warring with whom on the vegan message boards in 1998, to look at the natural parenting blogs prescribing nettle tea, oil of oregano and co-sleeping for basically every ill, to remember the names and handles of strangers I encountered there.
It’s not all nostalgia for its own sake, though. One of the things that I can see with this remarkable reverse crystal ball is that VeganStreet.com, online since October of 1998, has been warning people about the climate catastrophe we’re now living with since our inception. While Vegan Street’s archived screenshots started a few months after we launched, if I wanted to, I could prove that we have been warning people about the drastically declining populations of wild salmon species, as well as the growing threat of antibiotic resistance, the expanding dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico, Clean Water Act violations by behemoth meat brands like Cargill and the inhumane treatment of undocumented workers at Tyson (and so much more) for 25 years. I don’t care to, though.