Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Happy Earth Day! I feel a rant coming on...

I both love and hate Earth Day. I am happy there is at least one day out of the year which attempts to remind all of us dumb, gluttonous, narcissistic Westerners that we really ought to pull our heads out of our asses and wake up to what is going on in the world around us. But at the same time, amid the raising of consciousness and awareness, I sense a smarmy helping of self-congratulatory glad-handing. I mean, how many people really are buying that the President is "green"? I believe it was Ronald Reagan (a stellar specimen embodying the greedy, thoughtless American stereotype) who had the solar panels installed by Jimmy Carter removed. Dubya has as much as said he thinks global warming is a fantasy.

And do we really believe all these goofy-ass green marketing ploys? I am sorry but I do not for a minute think that new cleaner from Clorox is devoid of harmful chemicals. It bugs the crap out of me that the company once known as ChemLawn is now known as TruGreen. Painting your factory a charming shade of avocado or olive does not mean you suddenly stopped making asbestos-flavored widgets and suddenly started making organic hemp-fiber thingamajigs. Although it'd be nice if that were true.

I sometimes get cynical about the idea that one person can make a difference. Those of us who reduce, reuse, recycle, try to reduce our carbon footprint, all that happy horseshit, we see how this whole global warming thing is going and we feel despair that no amount of composting, bottle returning, xeriscaping, thrift-shopping or other -ing meant to help Mother Earth is really going to make a damned bit of difference once Long Island, Los Angeles and Miami start sinking into the ocean. The polar bears have spoken. The bees are departing Dodge, and are no longer interested in pollinating plants to feed our fat, wasteful, sloppy, stupid asses any more. Las Vegas is running out of water, and there are still too many damn SUVs on the road. Trash lines the sidewalks and streets and mars the beauty of my walks in parks and woodlands. I want to strangle people but I usually just shrug, or cry (sometimes both).

But then I see a gorgeous spring day like today, full of promise and colorful blooms and sun-dappled shade, and, well, the cynicism melts away a tiny bit. And I have to believe there is a future, and I am willing to work for it. I am willing to admit I am one of many, many humans who fucked up along the way. And I am willing to be part of the solution.

Every Day is Earth Day, people. I think I wrote that a few years ago, in an article somewhere...ah, yes, here it is. Read it and weep. I did. For we are no closer today than we were then to solving the problem of how to protect the planet (and by extension ourselves) and undo the damage we have done. I honestly believe this is not about cycles and patterns of human evolution over the millennia. It is about too much, too many people, too fast. Speeding up our karma with alarming velocity. If anyone has any bright ideas, I am all ears.


Dave Coulter said...

I read a book over the winter called "As the World Burns."

The author (Derek Jensen, I think) does a good job of taking people to task about how we're all worked up about stuff like recycling but we're not really tackling the bigger issues.

I have had similar misgivings when I think about (for example) prairie restoration. In Illinois there is only 1/100 of 1% of the original prairies left.

We have done a lot of damage to our world, and we need more posts like this. There's plenty of work out there that needs doing. :)

Peg said...

I completely agree. Small efforts are helpful, of course, but we need a huge overhaul to our infrastructure to really guard against future disaster, which I truly believe is where we are heading. Loss of habitat and green space is one of the most important issues, IMHO.

Luna said...

You are right to by cynical about the faddishness of the "green" movement. It should be called the "green moment." A recent sale at Macy's offered to give 10% of each sale to a "green" organization -- so come on down to consume for the environment! What crap. What will happen to all these efforts once environmentalism isn't the "now" and "wow" thing anymore? Caring for the earth is a forever thing, not a fashion statement.

Peg said...

Amen (or pagan equivalent)!

Texas Travelers said...

Ditto what the others said.
Great post.

Reduce, reuse, recycle.
Our motto exactly.

Come visit,
Troy and Martha