Friday, December 08, 2006

Re-thinking globally

So, every couple of all the times, I read something about the environment/ global warming and get all angried up. This week, it was this article in the NY Times about how ski lodges are having to manufacture fake snow for all their skiers because there's no real snow anymore. Which, you know, is a polluting act in and of itself. And I read this and had my typical reaction which was: "Oh damn. Global warming. I should turn down the thermostat and drive less today." Which was completely in line with the general message I've been getting about environmentalism since I was a wee tyke in a moderately progressive elementary school: the best way to affect change is small, personal decisions. Use fewer paper towels, turn that soup-can into a pencil holder. And, for the first time, this week, I started to wonder if this advice has been a giant disaster from an environmental standpoint. Yes, if we all made incremental changes in our individual energy use, the environment would benefit, but we're not. Nowhere near it. So, I can sit in my apartment and feel good about my carbon footprint, but so what? I've been exhorted by the leaders of this movement to be a responsible individual when maybe I should have been told to scream or dance or write a letter or just generally freak out about stuff like how much fuel the airline industry burns, or what to do to ensure cleaner factories are built by American companies abroad. I love my worm bin, but my worms are a very tiny drop in the bucket. Anyway, I'm angry and het up and if anyone has more political-action-type-things they want to suggest in addition to the individual-responsibility stuff, I'm all ears. Phooey on acting locally.

2 comments:

Ashley said...

Just to make things even harder, here's Norman Borlag saying phooey on organic farming. http://www.economist.com/world/international/displayStory.cfm?story_id=8380592

rose dakin said...

It needs an economy-wide response, and until the government sets the standards, the economy will always fail. The problem is, then, that the government is failing us. On so many fronts. But then democracy trumps even the environment, where there are conflicts, so the secret is to talk to as many people who don't get it (yet) as you can. And you already do that! On a stage.