I'm going to do something I rarely (if ever) do on this blog. I am about to voice a political opinion.
In this day and age, we have so much. Families have a car for every person (or more), big houses, drive long distances to work, all kinds of technology in and around their home, and it's made the Western culture fat, lazy and greedy. People think Robbie and I are crazy for only having one car between the two of us. I always tell people, I work in my basement. Robbie's workplace is a five-minute walk from our front step. We don't need more than one car. Heck, we hardly need one.
And yet, I know families with only one person working outside the home, and one staying home with the kids, but they have two (or three) vehicles. They drive absolutely everywhere. They could easily walk to the supermarket or the park, but they choose to drive. Or they choose to have a gigantic home that's heated warm enough to grow tropical plants. Or they choose to run their dishwashers with five dishes in it. Or they choose to eat out.
It's all choices, and now, the culmination of our choices has led us to this place. A place where "dirty oil" is the ONLY oil, and species are disappearing off this planet faster than you can sing the ABCs, and our children! It's expected that the children being born now will be the first generation since the years of the Black Plague to live shorter lives than their parents. And it's because of our choices that we have no way to stop an oil well that has, for a month, been spewing black sludge into one of the most diverse waterways around North America. Even worse, as BP races to try to fix this catastrophe, to try to stem the tide of oil, which is now settling in the Louisiana wetlands, people are shrugging their shoulders and saying, well, not much we can do about it. We need oil to live. There are religious zealots excited about this disaster because, in their minds, it means that Christ is returning post haste. The sooner we trash the earth, the sooner Judgement Day will arrive. Hallelujah.
But look at it. Look at the carnage. Our earth is dying. We are the ones killing it.
Our life of leisure is not worth this. If the ocean dies, the earth dies. If the air is ruined, the earth dies. If the land is scorched, the earth dies.
People may think that we're all good seeing as we've mapped the human genome and can bend nature to our will, but here's a news flash. If the earth dies, we die with it. All of us. There are no people who can live on this planet without our ocean or our plants or our air. It doesn't matter if you've managed to breed a teacup-sized wolf, cloned a thousand sheep, grown an ear on the back of a mouse or can fly around the world at five times the speed of sound. We cannot survive without the earth.
So come on, people. Do we really need to wait for the governments of the world to tell us to cut back on our driving, think about what we're buying and consuming and to change our damned light bulbs? Half of you don't like your government anyway.
I'm not saying that we should all stop driving, use our houses for firewood and start tanning hides for clothing, but how about we start with recycling, using a compost, walking where we can, turning off lights when we leave a room, growing a vegetable garden, planting a tree, buying used before new, investing our hard-earned cash in companies that are trying to find legitimate energy alternatives, shopping locally, and turning off that TV and computer and cellphone and spending some time with our families once in a while?
We are humans. We were gifted, whether by nature or some deity, with an extremely useful brain. It may sound so cliche, but if we can figure out a way to put a person on the moon, surely, surely we can find a way to alter our own thinking, our own mindset to consider not just the here and now, but also the future, the consequences and what could be.