Saturday, April 23, 2011

Change starts "here"; Change starts with "you"; Change starts with "me"

We have problems galore ecological, environmental, climate, energy supply, rise of corporate fascism and more. As a result many voices are calling for change, change in how "we" do things. When an oil spill or nuclear meltdown occurs a call goes out to stop doing that dirty stuff. It's an environmental disaster, yes, that threatens to harm all of us, yes, and perhaps it should be stopped. I've watched (or listened to) dozens shows recently reacting in horror to the nuclear catastrophy, or to natural gas fracking, or to last years oil spill, and vehemently calling for those operations to stop. I hear them say this, and while I agree, I scream at the radio or podcast asking them if they themselves have stopped using the products of those technologies?

All of us who enjoy the fruits of modern energy technologies are in part responsible for the existence of oil wells, coal mines, tar sands strip mining, mountain top destruction, nuclear power plants, and all the rest. The freedom to leave a light running without thought is a gift brought to us by those facilities. (And, yes, I had three lights still on even though it's mid-day, and I just turned them off)

At the other end of that light bulb is an electricity generation plant most likely burning coal or natural gas. Here's a couple videos I recorded about this:

The pattern is one of pointing at others such as the government demanding that "they" do something about this mess. Right? Why does the government allow the oil companies to keep drilling for oil? Why is the government ignoring environmental laws and allowing nuclear plants to be built on top of earthquake faults, or allow oil drilling to happen when the oil industry has no effective tested method to stop blowouts, etc? Why are "they" allowing "that" to happen?

Okay, there's some truth to these questions .. but the real question is, what are you (and I) going to do to change our own habits?

These companies doing the oil drilling or coal mining etc aren't in it because of evil intent to purposely trash the planet. It's just a means to the end of running a profitable business, a business that provides a service to paying customers. You, me, everyone. I have a gasoline powered car sitting outside which in a few hours I'll drive to a place 20 miles away to visit with a friend. A hundred years ago, before the age of oil really kicked in, that journey would have taken all day. Today it's a 30 minute drive.

That freedom was gifted to me by the oil companies and oil wells and I am in part responsible for the Gulf of Mexico oil spill disaster last year. And so are the rest of us who enjoy the gift of oil derived fuels.

There's a two way street of responsibility. Yes, "they" are responsible for operating their machines in a wise and safe manner, and "they" are failing at doing so. But more importantly "we" are responsible for wisely choosing the products we buy, the services we enjoy, and our lifestyle. "We" are also failing at responsible wise product choice and seem instead to be collectively intent on buying cheap poisonous crap.

If we as individuals or collectively change our habits I firmly believe that "they" will (eventually) take notice. It won't be easy because of entrenched investments "they" will want to defend and therefore act to keep "us" tied to the habits "they" have given "us". We must be strong in making wise and responsible choices to change our way of life.

See also:

Stand up for Real Change

This world doesn't have to become an uninhabitable nuclear radiation poisoned wasteland

Higher Purpose: Japans earthquake and nuclear crisis asks us what we really want