Today is Earth Day 2008. Do you know your carbon footprint? If not click here to find out what is and how you can reduce your footprint starting today.
A few of us are old enough to remember the first Earth Day and the skepticism with which it was received. The unfortunate truth is that we face a crisis far more acute today and the doubters are stronger than ever. The common belief today is the problem is to great for any of us to do anything about it.
Michael Pollan addresses these issues in an article in the NY Times Magazine entitled “Why Bother?“. He comments “Let’s say I do bother, big time. I turn my life upside-down, start biking to work, plant a big garden, turn down the thermostat so low I need the Jimmy Carter signature cardigan, forsake the clothes dryer for a laundry line across the yard, trade in the station wagon for a hybrid, get off the beef, go completely local. I could theoretically do all that, but what would be the point when I know full well that halfway around the world there lives my evil twin, some carbon-footprint doppelgänger in Shanghai or Chongqing who has just bought his first car (Chinese car ownership is where ours was back in 1918), is eager to swallow every bite of meat I forswear and who’s positively itching to replace every last pound of CO2 I’m struggling no longer to emit. So what exactly would I have to show for all my trouble?”
It does seem daunting and an impossible task. However, Mr. Pollan makes a persuasive case that we can in fact make a difference. “For us to wait for legislation or technology to solve the problem of how we’re living our lives suggests we’re not really serious about changing – something our politicians cannot fail to notice. They will not move until we do. Indeed, to look to leaders and experts, to laws and money and grand schemes, to save us from our predicament represents precisely the sort of thinking – passive, delegated, dependent for solutions on specialists – that helped get us into this mess in the first place. It’s hard to believe that the same sort of thinking could now get us out of it.”
The truth for addressing the climate change crisis does in fact reside with us as much as with our leaders. It is similar to how we can and will end homelessness.
We encourage you to read Mr. Pollans essay as well as review some of the interesting ideas in the NY Times magazine. You could learn about negawatts, hypermiling, organic ready to wear and more intriguing ideas. Click here to read more.