Environmental Pragmatism

I care about the environment very much. I recycle. I conserve whenever I can. I turn off lights. I try to have as little impact on the planet as possible. If I could afford a hybrid car, I’d definitely have one. My purchases are green ones whenever that option is available and within my means. I have no doubt whatsoever that global warming exists, and that scares me silly.

But I do drive a car. I live in a big city. I consume. I rely heavily on infrastructure. I struggle to reduce my consumption of meat. My refrigerator is running even as we speak. I’m willing to bet that yours is, too.

There is a certain amount of damage one does simply by virtue of the fact that one is a modern human being. This saddens and frustrates me, but there you have it. This attitude is why I could never be considered environmentally radical.

I genuinely think that while we have a long, long way to go, we are trying. Every day at work I look down at the ship canal that cuts through the center of Seattle and I marvel that it’s so crystal clear. I’m sure that wasn’t the case in the 50’s.

I love that we have invented more energy efficient lightbulbs and appliances. I think it’s wonderful that our sewage doesn’t run in the streets like it did in the 1800’s, but make no mistake, the sewage still exists. At least now it gets treated, for what that’s worth.

I’m glad that we’ve taken lead out of gasoline and house paint. When I enter a modern building I don’t worry about asbestos. We have, at the very least, learned from some of our massive mistakes.

So I’m not bitter about the environment. I’m worried about it. I believe we all have a very important part to play in conserving it. But I haven’t given up hope.

[Image credit: eurocontrol.int]
[Image credit: eurocontrol.int]
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13 thoughts on “Environmental Pragmatism

  1. Wow, this is an amazing and positive way to look at the problem ahead. Although we need to act fast, and as you said we have a long way to go, I certainly agree with your positivity that we have come a long way already. This makes it easier to believe that we can change our ways for the better!

  2. Reblogged this on The Environment Matters and commented:
    This view about climate change is very inspiring as it is a very positive approach on how far we have already come, rather than how far we have left to go. Please read this, and consider it as a motivation that we can make a change because we have already started our journey to a green future. Now it’s time to finish it!

  3. lyn sutton

    Live like you’re really poor and you’ll be richer for it and so will Gaia. When you’re poor it’s easy to recycle, reuse, reduce, re-purpose…you don’t have a choice. Resources are precious so you use them sparingly. Who knew poverty had a positive side.

  4. lyn sutton

    Just being pragmatic because I’m so poor the likely hood of affording a wind turbine is comparable to me having a unicorn for transportation. I did see a rainbow the other day though, and it didn’t cost me or the environment a thing. 😉

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