21 April 2011

Earth Day 2011 - The War on the Environment

Every year we observe Earth Day by going to festivals and donating to organizations to support a commitment to work on causes ranging from going green to stopping pollution.   “Woo hoo…. Earth!”  While writing this piece, I burned electricity watching a commercial about the best dish detergent to wash the oil off ducks.   Next commercial featured dune buggies racing through the desert.  I’m so happy (whining). 
That company is using the oil spill disaster that killed people and tons of wildlife to advertise a detergent that is made of chemicals that poison our waterways.  Speeding through a beautiful desert spewing noxious fumes for the hell of it… really?  Flip the script already!  I’m still waiting to see the commercial about the detergent company at the detox center saying, “My name is ____ and I’m a polluter.  I’m here to say that I’m going to stop.”  Clap, clap, clap.  “Watcha gonna do?”  “Well, I can’t quit cold turkey, but I’m going to start by taking the diethanolamine out.”  DEA is a foaming agent and a carcinogen.  Suds don’t clean dishes.  If the oil doesn’t kill the duck, the detergent will… painfully slow. 
Some politicians want to cut, slash and burn the Environmental Protection Agency and gut the Clean Water Act.  The EPA’s mission is to protect human health and the environment.   To p-r-o-t-e-c-t … all of us.  The CWA is the structure for regulating point source (discharging from a single location) pollutants into waters.  I’ll stretch it, but those politicians want to allow certain people to kill us… but not softly, of course. 
What is this reckless mad war on the environment?  It is money.  That’s it.  It costs more to do it ‘like’ right.  I don’t dig that notion.   Raise livestock humanely and there is no need for high-priced antibiotics; grow organic and there is no need for expensive pesticides; keep chemicals out of detergent and there is no need for costly solvents to dissolve those ingredients.  VoilĂ , I just made it ‘like’ right. 
Each of us is an eco-tyrant.  Our mere existence has an adverse impact on the environment.  Most of us are mini-tyrants; just a small footprint on the earth.  Many of us have ameliorated our impacts by doing ‘green’ things.  We are the eco-warriors, rebels supporting the cause.  Fight the power!  Earth Day is about all of us and our future.  We are the ones we have been waiting for to make the world a better place.  “… for you and for me…”  It’s not hard or expensive to do the right thing.  Just don’t walk down the aisle reeking from the perfumes obscuring the smell of those poisonous detergents.  Make your stuff at home.  Turn off the lights.  Put the trash in the can.  Done!

07 April 2011

The Darker Side of Green

Do we lack interest in the environment to our detriment?  Yes, we do. 

Our environment is fundamental to our health.  Health and vitality are determined by environmental factors.  Our community does not have control over broad decisions that affect our environs.  The chemicals and radiation are produced by industry and we are the customers.  Transportation, development and land uses are determined by business and governments and we are the users.  We need to change these realities and make decisions from the base consumption level that will tilt the environment towards our favor.   How?  There are many ways and lots of ideas to help.
The starting point is us.  We can avoid living in degraded conditions and buying chemical laden food and products.  We can keep our neighborhoods clean; cook healthy meals at home; and make our cleaning and personal products ourselves.  We can reduce excessive driving; try not to live too far from work, family and friends; and we can vote for representatives who support our agenda.  My family has changed over the years and we re-use, recycle and make stuff at home as best we can.  We compost and we have started our organic garden.  It has been hard to change habits, but we are now rewarded with lower utility bills; smaller grocery tabs; and good health.
Do we lack interest in green jobs to our disadvantage?  Absolutely. 
We also disregard the potential for high-paying careers and business opportunities in biology, ecology, botany, geology and other environmental disciplines.  We could be working in the beautiful outdoors hiking, researching or boating in consulting, recreational and public service domains.  Getting paid and having fun; sweet!  We could be making development decisions; grant decisions; and corporate decisions involving huge amounts of funds that could affect the bottom lines; dollars and our environmental future.  There is an extreme absence of persons of color in green careers.  Why?  There are too many reasons to count and not enough studies to back up theories. 
The initial effort begins with us.  We need to be educated in these fields in order to make a difference.  The ready, willing and able are the ones who can take advantage of opportunity.  My parents prepared me by allowing me and my siblings to run through the woods and streams.  Our Dad owned a fish store when we were kids.  We grew up with a house full of fish, hamsters and dogs.  We were not wealthy, but we had parents who supported us and allowed us to explore.   Education was most important in our upbringing; following the footsteps of our educated aunts, uncles, grandparents, cousins and other extended relations.   We must educate ourselves and our children in ecological topics and support our families as they learn and grow towards green professions.
The darker side of green must materialize; otherwise, the negative trends of economic distress and environmental injustice will continue to adversely impact our community. 
Black Organic is here.   Are you coming?