Monday, April 4, 2011

For Japan

You know I can't say much that hasn't been said. Devastation, death, loss, all words placed in the headlines and shown at a rapid pace. Then we forget a bit. We forgot about our Gulf, we forget about those overseas fighting, we forget famine, we forget suffering. We choose not to look at the harsh light of life; it's a struggle, biologically, socially, emotionally. Somedays less than others, but a struggle none the less. And for what? Well, I'm not sure to be honest, that's too "What's the meaning of life?" for me and I, for one, choose not to conjecture rather than to say "Lunch in 30? Dinner at 6? Tea at 8?"

Japan is famous for its cherry blossoms. They burst forth towards spring, and then they shatter in a matter of weeks. Explosive beauty, and a violent fall. But regardless of tsunami's, earthquakes, loss, death, devastation, they still bloom. For who? For everyone and no one all at the same time.

branches explode with flowers
Homes cars lives memories washed out to sea
petals scatter in the breeze
from space comes violent beautiful life silently
space is shattered whole with blossoms

Friday, April 1, 2011

Touching Ground II: The Great Divide

Environmentalism is public thanks, in part, to controversy and arguments. But I'm pretty sure "all press is good press" applies well to this scenario. The fact is, people are talking about it which validates its message.

My thoughts on the matter, however, pose the question, "Why is Environmentalism political?" It has come to be associated with a certain set of people: White, liberal, pretentious, dirty, "hippies" are some of the adjectives that come to mind. I'm not sure how this stereotype was set up, and I think it'd be interesting to see it's origins, but maybe another time.

To be brief, the environment transcends politics because it's not a human construct. Yes, it's influenced by the actions of humans (and I'm not talking climate change here), but it existed before we did and will continue to long after we're gone. The biosphere doesn't care if you're liberal or conservative, Keynesian or otherwise, because it isn't some great "Mother Earth" as it's so often pinned to be, caring for its creation. In fact, the "care" we seem to receive is actually a brutal struggle in which humanity has to some degree, tailored natural cycles to work in its favor. The Earth does not freely give its fruits and vegetables to be nice, we get our nice shiny fruits because we work for them. So let me say first, go humanity! We are a part of nature but we are also working to survive in it.

We work to survive. But sometimes, we miss the whole point of survival. We take the land we have worked to hard to cultivate, and sterilize it with fertilizer and pesticides. We take our houses which we have worked hard to build, and fill them with toxic chemicals that fill our lungs. Pollution and disease also transcend politics. Whether you are a democrat or a republican, you can die from carbon monoxide poisoning; your children can still be born with birth defects from lead and mercury in the water. You will choke on diesel exhaust regardless of who you voted for. Anthropocentric ideals say no, reality says yes.

What I'm trying to get at here is that Environmentalism is a political issue, and it shouldn't be. Caring for yourself, caring for your family, and caring for others should not be debated. Your children have a right to clean air just as they have a right to clean water just as everyone should have a right to "Life, Liberty, and The Pursuit of Happiness". If you pollute my air, my water, and my land you are denying me these rights. There are fools in our political administration, children in suits arguing as if on a playground. Why is it that the Speaker of our House found it necessary to replace biodegradable packaging in the House cafeteria with Styrofoam weeks before oil rose above $100 a barrel? A power play? I don't think so, I think it was more of a school-yard taunt. In the same vein, why is it that democrats can't see the forest through the trees when small advances can be made in energy efficiency? Why must it be all or nothing? Because one toy isn't enough, they want them all and because of it they end up with nothing.

Ignorance isn't an excuse anymore. Everyone has at least some idea of what they can do to reduce their impact.

Environmentalism has never been a political issue, it's much too big for that, it's a human issue.

Be Well