Why Aren’t We Saving Mother Earth?
I think that we all owe the Earth a hell of a lot more than we are giving.
For over a month now, thousands upon thousands of gallons of oil have been pouring into the Gulf of Mexico. The Executives of the three companies involved are busy trying to shift responsibility to each other, and while they focus on that, part of the planet is being destroyed.
While we watch the disaster unfold, with terror, disgust, sadness, fear or indifference, there is so much talk of blame. Blaming the oil companies, (perfectly reasonable) blaming the Government for not forcing the oil companies to do more (also perfectly reasonable). What I’m not hearing, is a lot of talk regarding our personal responsibility for the choices we make each day that create this insatiable demand for more and more. Be it oil, oil by-products and over-consumption that leads to other serious environmental consequences.
We all vote for the corporations that are destroying our Earth, and exploiting our people with our money. That’ a pretty powerful endorsement.
How long do we continue destroying the only home we have in order to feed our insatiable egos with material posessions? Until she has nothing left to give? Then what? What will it take to get us to start making better choices?
We, are collectively responsible for all of the devastation on this planet, and we need to change now. We need to stop waiting for the Governments and Corporations to do something and start doing something ourselves.
To be honest, when the spill first occurred, I un-subscribed from all of my news groups, continued to forget to turn the tv on, avoided all the newpapers… This is not so that I can avoid thinking about it. That would be impossible. But watching CNN with tears streaming down my face quite frankly is a waste of time and energy, and it doesn’t make me a good person. I don’t need to view pictures of dying oil-soaked animals so that I can feel better about myself. The fact that I care is not enough.
I have to do something! Something concrete that will make a difference to the future, no matter how small that difference is. The point is to try. We all need to try much harder.
I haven’t owned a car in about 15 years. I live very comfortably using my feet, public transit and my bike, and the occasional taxi to get where I need to get to. Not having a car is inconvenient at times, but it isn’t a hardship. I also know families with children who live comfortable full lives without driving anywhere. They are teaching their children to care, and be responsible. Walking and using public transit as a family creates more quality family time, and more physical activity which equals better health. There are blessings to be found within every sacrifice we make, if we choose to see them.
Still, I’ve been known to lie awake at night fuming over the fact that I’ve designed my life around protecting the planet for the children of people who don’t care enough not to drive gas guzzling SUVs everywhere. But that is just as useless as crying over news reports. It won’t fix anything, and I can’t change anyone. So, what can I do?
We will never give up the convenience of driving. It’s not a solution that most will ever be willing to embrace so does this mean we’re doomed?
I’m wondering what would happen if each of us committed to doing everything we can? I’m not talking about being more diligent about recycling, conserving energy, etc. Those things are easy so most of us happily do them. Committing to doing everything that we can would mean making some serious changes that affect the way that we live. It would mean making the future of this planet a larger priority than our immediate comfort and convenience. It would mean caring, really caring, about our children’s future.
I’ve decided that instead of being angry, or devastated, I’m going to change. There is more that I can do, so I’m going to focus on that.
A year ago, I started bringing water from home to one of my workplaces instead of buying plastic bottles. (The pipes in this building are old and rusty and drinking from the taps is not an option). As of now, I also commit to not buying soft drinks anymore. This isn’t something I do every day, but often enough to stop. This is a tiny step towards the health of the planet as well as my own health.
Starting tomorrow, I will make sure that I carry my coffee mug with me. No more take-out coffee cups. (note to self; buy a bigger coffee mug).
I’m committing to a minimum of 5 vegetarian meals per week, with the goal of eventually giving up meat all together. The amount of energy it takes to raise animals for food vs. growing food is substantial. Factory farming has a huge negative impact on the environment, and it’s also cruel, so this is a step in the right direction. I must also mention that this is not easy for me, as I am and always have been a hardcore carnivore. The point here is that we have to stop only doing what is easy.
I often work 2 or 3 different jobs at a time just to make ends meet, which is exhausting and time-consuming, and I’ll admit that take-out fast food has been a very large part of my life for quite some time now. It’s pretty impossible for me to come home after a 12 hour day on my feet and 9+ km of walking, make a full meal and clean up afterwards, so I often grab what I can. As of today, I’m going to make an extreme effort to stop that. I can get more organized and plan better so that I have food available when I’m too busy to cook. I won’t starve myself, but I will drastically cut my consumption of take-out packaging and unhealthy food.
I am going to start paying much closer attention to everything that I buy and consume. I have no doubt, that if I committed to it, I could cut my garbage and recycling down. After all, recycling is helpful but still requires a lot of energy.
Finally, I publicly commit to keep trying. If I use my imagination and ingenuity, I’m quite certain that I can do more. Baby steps, but steps non-the-less. As I grow and learn I will add to what I’m already doing.
So, if I can do this, what can everyone else do? How important is saving the planet to you? Are you willing to make changes to your lifestyle so that not only do we have a future, but we have a future that doesn’t include mass devastation due to our own arrogance and greed? Have I just alienated all of my readers? I think it’s worth the risk.