Environment


After watching the movie Religulous recently , I have come to a strange question to pose to the” conservative-drill-baby-drill-praise-jesus-praise”! crowd. So maybe some of the effects (greenhouse gases and their potential consequences) are invisible but so isn’t your God? Although it’s not something we can immediately see, its something people continue to live and believe in based on what MIGHT happen with their lives.

One argument is that “God controls” the Earth and the Earth will come to an end when he wants it to and there is no way we can control. But according to these beliefs, we have this thing called free will that lets us have choices. If we “left everything to God” why would we ever work for anything when we’re eventually going to end up in a predetermined place? Perhaps we DO control our lives and just like we can get up and slap the person across from you, you also have the same power to do harm to the land that your survival depends on.

I feel like I may get some hate mail for this but I’m not trying to undermine anyone’s beliefs. I believe there is a God but I don’t have a religion. If I do, it’s practicing care and consideration for life around me and not letting conservative politicians send me contradictory messages. What Would Jesus Do?

I often think about the power of reproduction is often an environmental factor that is ignored. We often like to conveniently ignore the values that we hold dear to our hearts (like books!) in our conservation efforts. Baby-making happens to often be one of those values.
Some reasoning behind this:

– Our fear of “disappearing” after our deaths
– Societal pressures and expectations
– Justification that your kid is going to do more good than bad for the Earth
– the need to “have your own” kid and not adopt someone else’s

This author poses the idea of having a “last generation” in order to prevent more suffering to the human race.  I would have to say I disagree with this plan.

I think that pain is a natural part of life. Surely, past generations have seen less hopeful circumstances than we have. Imagine what would have been lost if they would have thrown in the towel back then. One might ask if we’ve made more positive progress than setbacks but I am a firm believer that the human race needs to struggle in order to produce something beautiful and WORTH LIVING FOR.

We have set up unfavorable living circumstances for the future, but, being a fairly passionate activist myself for a variety of issues, I find it extremely fulfilling to work towards change, even when opposition is pushing back at full force. In fact, I am more apt to wanting to raise a child in hopes that they will do more than I have and move society forward.

I completely understand those who choose not to reproduce, especially for environmental reasons. I only hope that these same people are doing so to fully put their efforts towards making things better and not because they’ve completely given up hope. I also hope that these same people would not judge those who decide to have kids. Everyone has their own way of contributing to the world and we should never strop trying, no matter what method we choose.

Also, adoption seems like a great way to help save the world while simultaneously raising someone to continue those efforts. I feel like the author of the NYT article fails to raise this important point. So many people look over this option, when in reality, before we continue to consume more resources (or have children) perhaps we should try to take care of what we have and take a responsibility to forgo our selfish ideas of an “ideal life or family” and try doing things a different way.

I have a political science background and many times people tend to think I have a strong opinion on everything or am up to date on the latest oil spill development, renewable energy legislation, etc. Instead of giving in to the pressure to read new developments each day, I choose to give in to the fact that just being angry or having an opinion against my government isn’t going to do me much good. In fact, I chose to complement my political science degree with a second journalism major and this has taught me that what I read in the news isn’t necessarily what I need to know or what I should know. (In fact, this blogger has an interesting point on the tendency of the media to point fingers without taking any responsibility)

For example, the news wants to deliver the ugly fighting and bickering between our federal government and BP on the recent oil spill. In response, we’re angry that Obama isn’t doing enough, that big oil isn’t regulated, that no one is taking full responsibility or acting quick enough for the sake of our environment. I’m sorry to say but I have faith that our government really does care about the environment and wants to fix the solution. We are seeing an extreme tragedy occuring in terms of our environment but THINGS ARE MUCH MORE COMPLEX than we think, but at the same time, our response, as citizens of this country, needs to be so simple. In the time we spend denouncing our government and demanding results, we can start producing our own.

I recently read a book about Mister Rogers where he describes the difference between an accuser and an advocate. While an accuser sits around and discusses the injustices of the world, an advocate does something about it. I think he’s on to something. And so is this man, Doug Fine, the carbon neutral cowboy who decided to decrease his need for petroleum by dramatically changing his living habits. I know that most of us are a long cry away from raising our own goats to make our own ice cream and powering our diesel truck with vegetable oil, but we can realize that the power of big oil companies originates in our demand for it.

So while others continue to bicker and political decisions progress slowly in the wake of upcoming elections, I think it’s time we become the advocate. It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood! Why don’t you explore it with your bike, or research the products that use petroleum?(there is no way we’ll completely be free, there are so many products, but we can make significant decreases) Think of the real cost involved in the products you buy and the costs that taxpayers incur costs from a $6 billion per day clean up.

If I have any disappointment in our leadership, its their failure to stimulate a movement of change as a result of disaster (if you click on any of these hyperlinks, make sure its this Op-ed in the New York Times). With a captive audience and all eyes on oil, it’s time to look at that oily reflective gulf surface and find change within ourselves instead of waiting for it to come from Capitol Hill.

From GOOD collaborator Frank Chimero’s blog, http://blog.frankchimero.com/

“One final paragraph of advice: do not burn yourselves out. Be as I am — a reluctant enthusiast… a part-time crusader, a half-hearted fanatic. Save the other half of yourselves and your lives for pleasure and adventure. It is not enough to fight for the land; it is even more important to enjoy it. While you can. While it’s still here. So get out there and hunt and fish and mess around with your friends, ramble out yonder and explore the forests, climb the mountains, bag the peaks, run the rivers, breathe deep of that yet sweet and lucid air, sit quietly for a while and contemplate the precious stillness, the lovely, mysterious, and awesome space. Enjoy yourselves, keep your brain in your head and your head firmly attached to the body, the body active and alive, and I promise you this much; I promise you this one sweet victory over our enemies, over those desk-bound men and women with their hearts in a safe deposit box, and their eyes hypnotized by desk calculators. I promise you this; You will outlive the bastards.”

From a speech to environmentalists in Missoula, Montana in 1978 and in Colorado, which was published in High Country News in the 1970s or early 1980s under the title “Joy, Shipmates, Joy.”, as quoted in Saving Nature’s Legacy : Protecting and Restoring Biodiversity (1994) by Reed F. Noss, Allen Y. Cooperrider, and Rodger Schlickeisen, p. 338.

This quote speaks to me when I think of what I want to do in the future, what I’m doing now, how i enjoy the things around me, how i interact with the people around me. I’m in a unique position where I have limited time in the place that I’m comfortable at, where the people speak the same language and where I’m familiar with most of the gems I’d like to uncover before I leave. It’s moments like this where I am able to look past what NEEDS to be done right now (bills, homework, planning) and realize that those things will be taken care of eventually but I still manage to become so entangled in that train of thought. Must. produce. results. Adventure calls! Where are we going?!

Failed attempt at a staged adventure (beautiful runs along the reservoir are highly recommended though!)

Taking a breather in nature's chair (don't get mad at me for posting this, Ms. C!)