12/12/2005

Leading the Greed?


(photo from Sierra Club's Hotline E Newsletter)

Tis the season to reflect on what we have, and be appreciative. For some, this means considering a list of furniture, marginally ok cholesterol, a minivan, 1.3 children, satellite radio, a full closet. Appreciation means different things to different people, there are the knee jerk items- and then there are the things we consider when we think a little bit more about appreciation and who we are. The list evolves when we approach it with an eye for accuracy. Like the surfing enthusiast that goes out once a decade, how consistent are our life choices with the things we say we value? Do we say we value children but consistently choose money or self? Do we say we appreciate freedom, but limit our world to 'faux news'? Do we say we love nature, but find our lifestyles to be at odds?
Appreciation can include many things we take for granted without having to pay for them, fight for them, or work for them. Things like easy water that we depend on at the tap, reliable and clear. Many countries do not have such luxuries. And yet many have unspoiled natural places that are dissappearing in America. Forests, animals... trees and lakes. How often do we think about these things in our list? Would we consider them more if they appeared on a credit card statement, or came with a user fee?
I am not a perfect tree hugger. I have many 'things' and I know that I waste more than I need to. I mean not to be one of those whining preachy types. I make mistakes and am a work in progress, with goals that perhaps I will never attain. But I am blessed by the fact that the things I love most are at least relatively "free". Its hard to judge others that cannot feel this way because I know that what I love comes naturally, and therefore many of my choices are easy to make. Its easy to choose my family, the activities I like. People say "it comes so easily, you can multi task and do activist stuff, mom stuff, community stuff, voluntary stuff, read, cook...". To that I say that when we act from the heart, the burdens- the workload- feels lighter. When people talk about what I have given up to be with my kids, I have to remind them that I am fortunate and not despairing. I cannot take credit for what seems so effortless.
I know some people around here that hate the deer, the boulders, the trees, the distance to stores and malls. They move here often because its on the 'big' lake, but less expensive than the city, and perhaps they have a distorted sense of what they want. Perhaps they THINK they appreciate these things. But what they do is chop down the trees, plow everything under, plant green grass, slap vinyl everywhere, and plop in a rubbermaid mailbox as the finishing touch.
And then they complain endlessly about the drive to the mall, the lack of good stores, nothing to do, nothing to see. But they would say they came because of the beauty of this place they rarely walk in.
Our government of course reflects our society: short term, talking out of both sides of our mouths...everyone else should take steps to curb greenhouse gasses, but not us. We actually pay think tanks and so called researchers to debunk 'myths' like global warming, call environmentalists alarmist hysterics. They make us uncomfortable because often we know they speak the truth and we curl back up into our vinyl world and want to forget.
There is a disconnect between what we SAY we want and what our policies REFLECT. The fact that the US was absent from the table in Montreal when we are the self-proclaimed leaders of the world should make us take pause. The leaders of what? Of sustainability, innovation? Problem solving? Stewards of the earth? Leaders of greed?
This photo is from the Sierra Club's E Newsletter, which you can subscribe to called "The Hotline" which will update you on matters of climate chaos. No big time commitment, nothing to buy, no huge complicated enviroweb. Just what our attention spans require!
As we think about what we 'have' this year, perhaps we can think about how transient and unfulfilling these 'things" are. Perhaps we can try to think about whats at stake here and resolve to take some steps this upcoming 2006.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Always ranting about the planet... whose fault is it, the politicans or the people that elect them? Blame the stupid people that do not vote, blame the dumb people that do not watch the news or read anything. Blame the bible belt that cared more about gay people getting married than about death and war.

Anonymous said...

Excellent, love it! »

Anonymous said...

Excellent, love it! » »

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