Monday, October 15, 2007
Blog Action Day: Credo
This post is my contribution to Blog Action Day. I am one of over 15,000 blogs participating in this year's action: the Environment.
Credo: Why I choose
I was struck by how difficult it was to come up with a topic on which to write for Blog Action Day. This is not because there is any lack of “environmental” issues that catch my interest, but because it seemed impossible to prioritize desertification over deforestation, pollution over procreation, or climate control over conservation. It is that sense of impossibility, of moral inclusiveness, that defines my own environmentalism.
At a party several weeks ago, a friend brought up his skepticism about global warming. His basic argument (and it was a good one) was to ask: Why is global warming any more important than fighting AIDS, or cancer, or working to make sure people have clean drinking water? The quick and easy answer? It’s not. If we are going to make the fight against climate change a moral endeavor, we can’t say it is more important than trying to fight hunger or poverty. But at the end of the day, we all have choices to make. And there are many. So why have I picked Global Warming?
First, a disclaimer. I’m operating under two assumptions. One: Global Warming exists and is a problem. Two: Only we can do something about it. Because I believe that the evidence overwhelmingly points to these truths, I make my choices accordingly. For this reason, I’m not interested in mudslinging, catfighting, or even bantering, with those that argue the veracity of climate change. Consider it a type of figurative energy conservation.
My approach is to consider the biggest picture possible. The truth is that many of us living in the US could likely adapt to some of the worst case scenarios of climate change. We have what I would call “the privilege of adaptation.”* But my own sense of morality obligates me to look at the rest of the world and consider it, to some extent, my responsibility. While I cannot simultaneously plant trees in Kenya and combat desertification in Sudan, I can embrace those regions of the world under a blanket of global humanity. I see the fight against global warming as a fight that will work from the top down. I’m not working against AIDS advocacy, or water purification, or the sustainability movement. I’m working for them. I’m making those efforts worthwhile by fighting to ensure that the better world they are trying to create will still be here when they reach their goals. I want to be a steward of the planet to honor the work of those who are stewards of humanity.
There are plenty of people who would take my “environmentalism” to task. I eat meat, for example. Those interested in running a hypocrisy check could probably find a few environmental no-nos in amongst my compact fluorescents, water-saving showerheads, and devotion to public transit. Most human beings are incapable of all-or-nothing, and I will not argue with zealots or purists. At the end of the day, my mere awareness of a horizon bigger than the Boston skyline entitles me to walk confidently amidst my own ideas of activism.
I will continue to advocate for better emissions standards, alternative forms of transportation, energy efficiency, etc. all to combat what I consider to be human-induced climate change. I have to do this for the people whose relationship with the earth is not buffered by layers of technology and man-made construction. I will endeavor to make my government listen and take the lead in promoting environmental responsibility. And in the end, if it turns out I was wrong and global warming really was just a hoax, I will have no regrets because the things for which I will have worked so hard have merit outside “An Inconvenient Truth” and IPCC reports. I will have sustained an idea of global citizenship, and for that, I will have no apologies.
*I’m indebted to HM for a discussion on this topic.
I will be including other interesting Blog Action Day posts in my "Posts of Note" box to the right. Check them out!