Thursday, December 6, 2007

Me On My Soapbox Again

I had to cut this out from an e-mail to a dear friend of mine because I wanted to save him from opening up a manifesto while he was at work. I started talking about wooden toys, and then got all discombobulated and went on my usual rant about the environment. Erik just thinks I'm getting weirder in my old age! I bring my own cloth napkins and tupperware for leftovers when we go out to eat now, and I have banned all plastic shopping bags and paper towels from the house, instead using reusable bags and cloth towels. All of our cleaning products and body care stuff I'm transitioning over to all natural and biodegradeable. The bigger car we bought with the baby in mind is a Hybrid. I hear stories about floating islands of garbage in the Pacific that are bigger than Texas, and while I'm sure some of the things I hear are grossly exaggerated, it worries me what kind of a world my child will know. Will she know what a tiger is the way I do, as a living creature that can be seen? Or will she know one as I know a dinosaur, some mythical creature that exists only in archaeology textbooks and museums?

While I love my country I look at the government and this administration in particular's lack of concern for the environment, and penchant for band-aid solutions rather than fixing problems at the source, and I worry. I heard on the news the other day that there is a proposal with the USDA right now to pasteurize all green vegetables before we are able to buy them for consumption, coming out of the e. coli and salmonella contaminations of lettuce and spinach crops. Instead of truly fixing the problem by making sure runoff from nearby cattle ranches cannot contaminate groundwater and irrigation systems of agricultural crops, "they" propose a solution that may have inherent catastrophic consequences to human health, especially when most people as it is don't have access to good organic food that have vital nutrients and minerals intact.

I know I'm on my little soapbox now, but really it is something that I have become passionate about, and I believe that everyone can and should do their part for mother earth. I know that in just three months of cloth diapering I have saved about 700 diapers from going into a landfill. I have saved pounds of trash from infant formula packaging from the landfills just by breastfeeding my child and feeding her what she's meant to be eating. Those two choices alone make a difference. I can only imagine how much more of a difference if more mothers made those choices, but the lack of concern bothers me. I don't know if it's ignorance or irreverance, or both. I get into a foul mood every time I set foot into Babies R Us (I have no need to even go there except to return things people give us that I am opposed to using) and see people with carts full of infant formula and disposable diapers.

I had someone the other day give me the argument that "the earth will adapt to whatever happens to it", and honestly that truly floored me. Every other species on earth has to adapt to their environment, so why should humans have so much hubris as to think in our case it's the other way around? Why should our piddly little species think that the earth gives one whit about what happens to us? Just because we have opposeable thumbs and the brains big enough to have dominion over the animals and fishes, as the saying goes, do we have to use our powers for evil? It is folly to think we are so important that we have dominion over the earth as well. We can rape it and use all the resources up, but in the end it is impossible to "own" something that we need for our very survival. Remember this, that it is the earth that ultimately owns us. That fact becomes immediately apparent when one thinks about death. What is death except the relinquishing of control that we seem to exert, the giving up of the pretense that we have any power at all, and sinking back into the earth which reclaims us as her own. Just as people avoid thinking about their own death we avoid thinking about the end result that our doings have on the environment. Despite our big brains and opposeable thumbs we are no better than any other animal; not looking ahead to consequences, to what happens after renders us simply the most powerful and destructive animal on the planet, but an animal nonetheless.

No comments: