I enjoy pretty much everything there is that has to do with the outdoors. Some of my most peaceful moments have been while walking through the forest, sitting on a beach, or boating (minus the loud engine). Accordingly I have a great respect for nature and enjoy learning about the plants and wildlife therein. My plan is to continue that learning process and hopefully enhance it by sharing what I learn. I intend for this blog to serve many purposes, but in the immediate future it will be a place for me, and hopefully others, to share ideas about reducing our individual impact on this planet, protecting wild spaces, and in general just to comment on the things we enjoy most in the great outdoors. I welcome all opinions as otherwise you cannot consider every aspect of a subject. However, I would ask that every opinion be expressed in a respectful way and considered with an open mind. Often there is no single right answer. Thanks.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

"It's not easy being green"

In the words of Kermit the Frog: "It's not easy being green".  My gradual change to "green" living has probably been snail paced compared to some people and I still have several habits that I know I need to change.  Some days I feel that my efforts are having an impact while other days I feel like there is no point and I should just give up.  It is not hard to stumble upon articles featuring environmental topics as they are quite plentiful these days. While most articles are informative, the emotions evoked can range from inspiration to utter discouragement.  Personally I like the inspirational ones as they encourage me to keep changing despite the articles that say it is too late.  But those discouraging articles are hard to ignore.

Many articles allude to, if not graphically describe, the multiple potential and occurring disasters that face our world today.  To name a few: melting of the polar ice caps, water pollution, air pollution, oil spills, nuclear incidents like that in Japan, increasing damage from extreme weather... Really it would be so much easier to pretend that it all did not exist, because if I take the time to acknowledge all the possibilities I start to wonder about the point of living on this earth at all.  Are my two beautiful children going to see a world that is decimated by our irresponsible actions? Will I see it in my lifetime?  Will this planet just give up and become unable to support any life?

I think most humans consider ourselves as highly intelligent beings.  If you simply take into account all of the things we can do that other living creatures cannot it sure looks that way.  However, I am starting to think that we are like a computer user that knows enough to get him or herself into trouble, but not enough to get out of it.  When it comes to making decisions that would decrease consumption, decrease use of energy at home, decrease waste, or decrease car usage the standard complaints I hear are that it costs money, or that it is not convenient.

Merely calling the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico last year costly and inconvenient would be a huge understatement, but most of us still drive our cars.  The current issues facing the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power complex in Japan are, and will continue to be, costly and inconvenient, but I have not heard of any immediate plans to start decommissioning nuclear power plants.  Yes, recycling, taking public transit, composting and all other green measures can take a little more time and sometimes cost a little more money.  But what price do you put on having a healthy life for yourself, or for your children?  Without health all the money in the world is of no use.

I am not trying to be alarmist I am simply pointing out two recent events linked to our "intelligent" use of technology that have had significant negative impacts on many people in this world and will continue to do so for many years to come.  Obviously the financial costs of these types of disasters are still not high enough to offset the profits that can be made.  Incidents like these are written off as isolated.  It is easy to read them, be horrified, but go on with life believing that "nothing like that will happen here".  After reading the article Any BC radiation increase 7 days away it is quite clear that even disasters that happen thousands of kilometres away have an impact.   Given that mass emigration to another planet for a fresh start is not a viable option at this point it is probably worth thinking about the challenges we face today and what steps we can start taking to help ourselves.

We can continue to dismiss the issues as non existent or too scary to contemplate, acknowledge them but give it up as a lost cause, or attempt to make a difference.  I have chosen to persevere in my gradual transition to healthier habits despite articles that tell me it is too little too late.  Call me crazy but I still insist upon believing that individuals can have an impact on the environmental challenges we face.  In my latest attempt to reduce my truck usage I will be buying a bus pass for the month of April.  I figure I will save some money on gas, survive the slightly slower commute, and get over the inconvenience of having to wake up a little bit earlier each morning.  It may not be the easiest choice, but in the end it is not about cost or convenience it is about health and a future.

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