What makes us what we are?
An age old question to be sure. Granted, how others see us is part of the public answer. Yet our private self-definition is predicated on our makeup and what is inside of us. The composite view is all of our parts; our persona, outlook and values. However we arrived at this amalgamation, the end game is that we are what we are.
But back to values. It is no secret that environmental issues are of significant importance to me and have been for some time. How we treat our faltering world and everything in it touches me deeply and moves me to action, even if those daily actions don’t always square with observers and passersby. We are what we chose to believe.
In that vein, here is what I believe:
Our world is fragile. We need to care for it as we would our families.
We are slowly, surely poisoning our world. Our planet is threatened by pollution, the hubris of self-centered resource consumption and ill-use of those resources.
Politics and ideology should not hold sway on environmental discussions and policy making. The environment suffers from political ideologies for the wrong reasons. Global warming and sea level rise and green energy (among other issues) ought to be free from politics. Ideology – often for no reason other than business rationales – runs counter to the greater good.
Science. Science is the fact-based arbiter and measuring stick of change in our world. It rightly reduces the impact of emotion and opinion from decision making while providing sureties. We ignore science at our peril.
Citizen action. Of course, donations and support to environmental causes are well-intended. Yet donors shouldn’t then effectively cede the heavy lifting on environmental work to others. Instead, citizens should look for hands-on ways to involve themselves in neighborhood and local activism.
We must overcome indifference. Per the point above, we must set aside the notion that a better world is the work of others. To pass-the-buck abrogates our personal responsibility and societal obligation to leave the world a better place than we found it.
Support environmental education. And this is far more than a school issue. It is a throughout life issue and civics lesson. Case in point: Folly Beach, South Carolina has banned styrofoam and single use plastic bags on its beach and effectively all over the island. Why? Because citizens were informed – educated – about the disastrous visual and health consequences of styrofoam (polystyrene) and plastic on their all-important marine environment.
Americans do not recycle enough. The U.S. has, at best, a lackluster record on recycling. As noted in a recent post, we recycle a paltry one-third of recyclable products – while we consume an outsized and disproportionate share of the world’s resources of fossil fuels and metals. We pale in comparison to recycling efforts/habits of other developed nations. While we’re at it, we could focus more on green energy, too.
One piece of litter per day can make a difference. While you are out for a daily walk, resolve to pick up one piece of litter or trash. Let me know how you feel about that simple public act. I’ll post your comments. One piece may be one piece, but it is the aggregate that counts.