Sunday, February 21, 2010

On the green revolution:

It snowed 3 feet in Washington D.C. a few weeks ago and for some Americans that’s an excuse to give up on the hard work it will take to make our society sustainable. (Never mind that climate scientists have long predicted that more powerful storms would be one more symptom of what’s ailing planet Earth.)

Is it me, or is this easy-way-out attitude completely un-American? Did our forbears found a great nation on greed, gluttony, denial? Manifest destiny at any cost? Well ok, maybe they did, but they also worked hard and never gave up. They invested in the long term as they built the infrastructure of their communities. They adapted to harsh conditions, endured and overcame hardship again and again. If we humans manage not to kill ourselves off, what do we Americans want our legacy to be? Do we want to be remembered as the indulgent fools who took advantage until there was no advantage left to take, or as the scrappy revolutionaries who survived because they reinvented themselves to meet their new reality?

Whether or not you believe climate change is being caused by humans, sustainability is good. There’s no controversy about reliance on foreign oil. There’s no ambiguity in mountaintop removal. There’s no up-side to an oil slick.

While we continue to do nothing, the problem we face gets harder to solve. While we make our excuses and our political calculations we get closer to the day when our fate is sealed. My understanding is that we won’t know that day has come and gone until it’s too late.

We can all buck up and begin the hard work of changing ourselves and our way of life TODAY, or we can keep hiding our heads in the snow…or the flood waters or whatever’s in store for us next as climate change advances inexorably.

No comments: