Are you sick of hearing about the environment? Do you roll your eyes every time someone declares that we humans are fouling the air we breathe, the water we drink and the food we eat? Do you rate Al Gore’s documentary, “An Inconvenient Truth” an alarmist film to appease the greenies and scare the rest of us? If you answered yes to any of the above you are neither a narrow-minded conservative nor a boring hackneyed liberal. You belong to the party of the powerless, living in denial because you simply don’t know whether to move right, left, forward or stay the course.
Despite dire reports from our intrepid astronauts, who see clearly what we cannot, most of us remain in a state of suspended paralysis. We think because we are watching on television the glaziers melt, the polar bears starve, the seas rise and the planet convulse in one cataclysm after another, that none of it is real, none of it impacts us directly. It’s entertainment news! Never mind the staggering number of fires, floods, twisters and storms at home and abroad. The Weather Channel presents these man-versus-nature disasters as exciting programming you won’t want to miss. It’s all entertainment news!
So let’s continue the entertainment fantasy. What if a wacko like me told you that a violent hurricane is the virtual purging by mother earth of the insulting impurities of chemicals, pesticides and toxic waste that are poisoning her seas and killing her pet fishes? What if I said that in virtual reality, an earthquake is the planet groaning under the impossible weight of the concrete and steel that’s replacing the plants that provide us with (gasp) OXYGEN?
Have you boated down the Amazon lately? What? Where is it? Have you ski-boarded in the Sahara where every sand storm in the encroaching desert is carried by wind currents across the planet to North America? Jeez, plant a tree why don’t they? What if an alarmist like me told you that every volcanic eruption is the sound and fury of earth vomiting the carbon monoxide we force down her gut because gluttonous industrialists insist on burning finite fossil fuels like coal and oil, which are NOT RENEWABLE?
What can we do to change these dynamics? Not in a decade. Now! We can pay attention, be conscious. I’ve nothing against industrialists, just their short-sightedness. I’m neither an environmentalist nor a scientist. Like everyone else, I’m someone trying to breathe and eat clean stuff so I won’t have so many allergies so I don’t have to purchase medication I can’t afford, medication that is packaged in plastic that is NOT BIO-DEGRADABLE!
When I was on Mount Kilimanjaro in the late 1970s, it was covered with snow. Today there is none, even on the summit at 19,335 feet! In 1953 Sir Edmund Hillary and Nepalese Sherpa guide Tenzing Norgay were the first men to reach the 29,035-foot peak of Mount Everest. Every inch of the highest mountain in the world was sacred and pristine. Today it is littered with the 200 frozen bodies of those who paid over $65,000 each for the privilege. They and other climbers have left a trail of filth, frozen excrement and toilet paper (locally called the white man’s prayer flags). A clean-up crew recently brought down over two and a half tons of that garbage.
In the musical, “The Lion King,” the following dialogue between King Mufasa and his son, Simba says it all with great simplicity:
King Mufasa: “Everything you see exists together in a delicate balance. As king, you need to understand that balance and respect all the creatures, from the crawling ant to the leaping antelope.”
Young Simba: “But dad, don’t we eat the antelope?”
King Mufasa: “Yes, Simba, but let me explain. When we die, our bodies become the grass, and the antelope eat the grass. And so we are all connected in the great Circle of Life.”
For information about renewable resources like Biomass, Geothermal, Solar and Wind, visit http://rredc.nrel.gov/. The U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy manages the website of the Renewable Resource Data Center. There’s even a Kidzlink. Kids know more than we do anyway. It’s just that we don’t bother to listen to them.