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Earth Day

I'm old enough to remember when "Ecology" was actually a subject in school. They had an American flag with green and white stripes to symbolize how we were all "united" in our need to take care of the planet.

I really think that some of the kids didn't get the message of taking care of the planet and how important that was, as we have gotten to 2011 and we are dealing with some pretty dire circumstances, many of them caused specifically by giant conglomerates and corporations only interested in monetary gain. I'm guessing those kids were the ones that ignored the concept of what the Ecology movement was all about and probably laughed at or mocked the Earth Shoe wearing, folk song singing, hippie freaks that helped to found it.

Was it just the culture around the concept that made it so easy to parody? Was it the messenger, not the message that made this into a point of derision? I mean, I didn't listen to a lot of John Denver music either, but that didn't mean I was willing to ignore the concepts of things that would help preserve our world. I've always turned off the water while brushing my teeth, so it's a little shocking to me that people need to be told to do this, even now.

Of course the problem is that corporations are the biggest offenders when it comes to these problems. Plastic bag manufacturers alone are basically coating the planet with a polyvinylchloride like surface, and adorning trees all over with their works. But there's no hard line against them, no Eco-Police to patrol, to ensure that improvements are being made.

Don't get me started about the nasty cocktail that the Gulf of Mexico has become since the BP oil spill and "cleanup" because that alone is a microcosm of the very problems we have to deal with when trying to get a corporation, whose main objective is to make as much money as possible, not to preserve the planet we're living on, to do the right thing.

Here's what needs to happen. This is a global effort and it will require a global response. Companies that do things that harm the planet in the name of profit must be sanctioned. It's the only way to get them in line. The question is how to enact and enforce sanctions, and prevent those that are supposed to enforce the laws from being bribed somehow and not reporting?

Granted, we all want Earth to remain a viable healthy place... there may be other planets out in the universe that are capable of sustaining human life, but we have no way of getting there, and at this point no hope of even getting back to the moon, let alone exiting our own solar system to reach those other places. So we have to nurture the nature here. And as individuals we can all do things in our own lives that will cut back on waste, that will help grow things in our own backyards. But that still doesn't touch the companies cutting down the rainforests, manufacturing products that poison other parts of the world and not treating every place on the planet like they are intricately connected.

Earth Day makes me feel like we're running forward, but really we're on a treadmill and we're not going anywhere, and I want that feeling to stop. I'm looking to the experts in this area and hoping they have some answers, a plan, concepts that we can do, collectively to make these improvements... because, as we all know, people do want to do the right thing, but they need instructions on what that is!


( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 22nd, 2011 10:16 pm (UTC)
Mr.P and I got the garden ready for spring today and a bit of spring cleaning in and around the hse. Yay.

But on a larger, esoteric, level I want to say that I think you're right. Earth Day has a positive vibe to it, but it's often very glocal or micro level, so where are the macro level improvements? A good question in a world which has just experienced a nuclear power plant crisis.

xo M.
Apr. 22nd, 2011 11:06 pm (UTC)
the problem with something like "Earth Day" or "Breast Cancer Awareness Month" or "Black History Month" or anything like that means we are compartmentalizing it... we think about it for that time frame and then put it away until the next time. And we're now at a point where we don't have the luxury to just not think about the planet all the time. In fact with the series of earthquakes that have occurred around the Pacific Rim, it almost seems like Earth itself is giving us a wake up call!

Certainly the Japanese Nuclear Power Plant crisis is proof that we are all interconnected and in ways we never would have even considered. We have to be smarter and think on that macro level now, because it's not just one country or even one continent that might be affected by a disaster.

The biggest polluters are chemical companies and oil companies, "energy" providers and they also have the lobbyists on Capitol Hill to pay their way out of cleaning up their act. Even if everyone in their private homes were able to do everything to be as eco friendly as possible, to reduce our carbon footprints to their absolute minimum, with corporations spewing stuff into the atmosphere and destroying flora and fauna as they go, we're still doomed...

This will take effort, but we need some sort of battle plan to achieve it!
Apr. 22nd, 2011 10:43 pm (UTC)
Part of that mocking was probably just a sign of the times. Especially after Watergate we seemed to learn that caring was uncool
Apr. 22nd, 2011 11:14 pm (UTC)
I think there was a bit to that... clearly cynicism reached its apex during the Nixon years, which should have been the time the focus should have been on setting up boundaries for corporations, etc. but then again the recession that happened after all that meant everyone was more focused on just treading water, rather than cleaning it up.
Apr. 23rd, 2011 02:00 pm (UTC)
Really? I don't remember it like that at all. The Carter presidency was very focussed on green technology and even put solar panels on the white house roof. The oil shortages were a real wakeup call for many people who absolutely weren't 'hippies.'

Then the price of oil went back down, Reagan took the solar panels down, and we went back to thinking we could drown ourselves in big cars, useless gadgets and meaningless crap without any adverse consequences.
Apr. 23rd, 2011 03:33 pm (UTC)
Well, keep in mind, Carter followed Ford, and that was when all of the green tech and various other stuff started happening... So that was a couple of years after that.

But I don't think the Oil Crisis really "woke anyone up" as far as caring for the planet... it just made a lot of people angry and worried about getting gas to power their vehicles, and wondering what the goverment was going to do to keep the prices down. If anything, that moment may have led to the US oil companies realizing that any time there was a "situation" in the Middle East, they could just ratchet up the price and people would have to pay it... what was the alternative?

Funnily, President Obama is about to put solar panels back on the White House!
Apr. 23rd, 2011 05:28 pm (UTC)
If you thought the "tire guage" stuff was bad...
Funnily, President Obama is about to put solar panels back on the White House!

Really? Cue the adolescent sneering and sarcasm from the right in three...two...one...

I highly recomment Rick Perlstein's "Nixonland" as the authorititive take on the the split in the American psyche about these things. It goes back a long, long way, and it isn't going to disappear anytime soon. It's also the ONLY book on the 60s that bears any relation to that era as I actually remember it.

The really depressing thing is that a lot of the over the top rhetoric from the extreme right sounds utterly contemporary, even though it's 40 plus years old. These people haven't changed a bit.
Apr. 24th, 2011 07:16 pm (UTC)
What if we all came together in solidarity -- those who believe these things on the surface like you and me -- and those who believe them underneath -- and said "no"?

What if we got rid of the monetary system all together and adopted either a barter system, or a society where everything is shared? After all, the monetary system is the root of all the problems we're having as a species and an ecosystem.

What if we changed our whole way of thinking, since that is also the root of the problem?

When approaching this problem, why not focus on its root?

As side notes: It is completely disrespectful what we are doing to destroy this great gift we have been given -- the earth -- our mother. We do not need to find another planet because we already have one. All things must come to an end, that is the way of the Universe, including humans and the earth's current ecosystem, but it does not have to be by our own doing.

Additionally when we solve our bullshit problem of human greed and fear, we can then turn our attention to understanding the Universe and our place in it through Science, Astronomy, Space Exploration and Study.


( 8 comments — Leave a comment )

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