Tuesday, October 9, 2012

A Question of Sustainability

Are we on an unsustainable path?

The short answer is, “Yes.” We cannot continue to do what we are doing throughout the world. Sadly, this seems to be most extreme where I live: the United States.

There are so many things that people do, particularly in the States, that contribute to this wrong path. This includes the extreme resistance people have here towards anything that smacks of socialism. Unfortunately, socialism is often about combined effort for greater good. The U.S. has acted poorly on the Monsanto issue, the Gulf oil spill and all that goes with it, the Keystone XL pipeline, and so much more.

Additionally, the U.S. missed the opportunity some 25 years ago to push forward the relatively new technologies for solar energy collection (I’m mostly referring to President Carter’s installation of solar panels on the White House, which I believe could have set the stage for a different governmental attitude towards energy, had Reagan not been elected).

The U.S. cemented it’s stance of denial with the Kyoto Protocol. This constant elevation of capitalism (making money) over the future of humanity on this planet has turned the U.S. into something that I believe will lead to the U.S. becoming irrelevant to the world stage as anything other than a military force (if we aren’t already). We are seeing the start of this irrelevance as other countries take steps that the U.S. should have taken a long time ago. As Germany takes a lead in environmental policy, as Amsterdam initiates a public bike sharing program in the 1960s, as India takes a stand against Monsanto's lies.

This leads me to the long answer, which is “Yes, but that isn’t something that we can’t change.” As the Turkish proverb goes “No matter how far you've gone down the wrong road, turn back.”

It is never too late. The point of no return is the destruction of the planet (in regards to human life). Anything else can be fixed, or at least mitigated. We can change, and we can change now. The only thing we need to decide is, how much worse will we make it before we make it better? And when will you (the individual) begin to participate?

Each one of us can do even a small part, because those small parts, those tiny changes are magnified by the sheer numbers of the human population. If the populations of industrialized nations alone work towards sustainable living, participating in creating and supporting renewable energy resources, recycling programs, and personal resource conservation, we would see a huge change worldwide. Each of us has the power. The power to choose:
  • to use cloth bags for shopping
  • to use non-chemical cleaners
  • to foster native plant systems on our properties
  • to grow a garden
  • to bike when possible
  • to protest and educate people on chemicals and GMO foods
  • to support those politicians and activists who take up these causes
  • to raise our children with this knowledge and the mindset that we can make the difference

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