Why Should We Care?

Annette del Sur publicizing salvage campaign, 1942. Taken from Wikipedia.com.
Annette del Sur publicizing salvage campaign, 1942. Taken from Wikipedia.com.

There were a lot of comments to my last post (many thanks) and since only some are offered in the Comments section I would like to share some good points with you.

“Those of us who try to avoid using plastic or paper bags at the grocery store, walk or bike whenever possible, recycle paper, cardboard, plastic and food items that can be mulched, sometimes feel as if it is hopeless because of the millions who don’t…and don’t care either.”

I hear you. And I feel your pain. But herein lies the challenge. I agree that we are not going to beat this by going bagless, hybrid or organic. No amount of bus rides, CFLs or tap water is going to turn this thing around. It is bigger than all of us and requires international action. But it also requires a new consciousness of our interconnectedness and our relationship with the planet. Humankind must emerge from its so self-involved adolescence. So, as you lug your reuseable bags while biking to the store after turning off all the lights and unplugging your cell phone charger and shutting down your computer–remember that you are modeling behavior that is the new standard of the right way to be.

“…nothing will be done until the rich nations of this world begin to suffer and the situation is almost too late to reverse. That’s if we’re lucky. Otherwise, be glad that you are living your life now and that you won’t be around to see what the future has in store.”

My sister would reply that in fact, she plans on being back so she’ll pay attention to the now, thank you very much. I can’t count on that but I care when I look at my grandchildren and try to imagine what life will be like for them. Supposedly, with enough political will, we can demand that our leaders address the issue of global warming. I understand your skepticism, however; as a student of political science I know that there are many forces pushing in many directions. I console myself with the stories of World War II and how the US pulled together–and did some remarkable things! So many examples! Because canned goods were needed to supply troops overseas, Americans turned to Victory Gardens, planting 20 million of them to provide vegetables for their families. Drivers received coupons for 3 gallons of gas per week…not to save gasoline but to save on automobile tires and the supply of rubber.

And, as the 1942 poster above depicts, the people were asked to conserve, collect and recycle everything from rags, metal, rubber and paper.

“…There are lots of people with their heads in the sand about what we humans have unconsciously been doing to our earth. This is not a liberal vs conservative matter and getting into stereotypes clouds serious issues for our survival…This is an ethical matter and ignoring evidence worldwide is unconscionable.”

It will take some time to bring some into the fold but overall I am hopeful. And that’s why I’m here.

2 thoughts on “Why Should We Care?”

  1. Your last quote about this not being a liberal or conservative issue, but an ethical one, is very effectively stated for me. Our biggest struggle, it seems to me, is the regaining of our lost ethical ground. I personally want to uncover this discipline in my life, and I can't force anyone else to do this. I only waste my time getting upset and judging others' ethical vacuum. As I see it at this point in this Baby Boomer life, the only hope that remains anywhere is the dedication and commitment to inner work towards a refined set of ethical values, and the persevering faith that this kind of path will eventually lead me to real and enduring happiness. And courage becomes protection in this worthy goal. I'm not there yet. I have a long way to go, and I may not make it there in this lifetime, but at my death, it is the only possession I can take with me. Some wise person once said: "The only possessions we have are our actions." Wow . . . both bad and good actions go with us. So it seems a waste of time to fight a designated enemy on the outside when our own worst enemy remains to be conquered on the inside. Luckily, our best teacher and master is inside too!

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