tirsdag, april 22, 2008

Happy Human Day

Just to show that I occasionally still have brain cells to think about the world at large, a post about Earth Day. I approve of Earth Day, I encourage all to participate in it in any and all inventive and imaginative ways. But after a day spent in part thinking about the significance of it, my one recurring thought is a memory of a Lauren Becker essay (delivered as the introduction to a Point of Inquiry podcast from around Earth Day 2006) on the real meaning behind the yearly event. Her point is that none of this is about saving the Earth because, let's fact it, the Earth was here long before we were and will certainly outsurvive us. What we're really trying to preserve is ourselves, who are as a species far more vulnerable.

This really resonates with me. Not least because everything on this planet is interconnected. Because our actions towards the environment, the Earth and everything on it, do affect our future. But also because humans as a species are self-centered survivalists, just as we should be. Is this cynicism? Realism? I have no idea.

What are your thoughts on this day? Have you done, or will you do anything particular to commemorate it? What do you do throughout the year to help save the humans?

*Photo credit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Earth_flag_PD.jpg*

9 kommentarer:

Robyn McIntyre sagde ...

It's a little planet, but it's really beautiful. I love Earth Day and have been celebrating it since the 1970s. I recycle conscientiously, compost household waste and have reduced garbage to one very small bin a week. I also support local, state, national, and global efforts like beach and forest clean up days and encouraging sustainable farming of plants and fish. Of course, since I live in Santa Cruz, California, I would HAVE to! Congratulations and best wishes to you and your baby!

Devil Mood sagde ...

To be honest, I only heard that it was Earth day until the evening when I took a look at the paper. Had a crazy day.
But you make a great point, it's about ourselves, what else could it be about? It's always about ourselves. Bah, we're so boring and predictable. lol
I recycle, walk or take public transports, I don't eat meat, I'm not a compulsive buyer..but I don't do nearly enough,it seems.

missalister sagde ...

I love everything about the Lauren Becker essay! Bravo I say. I think the sort of consciousness-raising method, giving a cause a special day, or an hour even, like Earth Hour, is essential, is force-joining, is fun even. Otherwise, self-centered consumerists like me that don’t get out enough, might stand a chance of remaining ignorant of the nitty-gritty details! Details like the eye-opening ones at The Story of Stuff. That’s what radically affected me, anyway. So now I’ve gotten the big hint and have been starting slowly doing what’s easy to do (like recycle as much stuff as possible, use less paper and electricity, use eco-friendly light bulbs and cleaning products, bring reusable bags to the grocery store) while preparing to move forward to what’s harder to do (like buying a hybrid vehicle when it’s time).

Anonym sagde ...

i am opposed to saving humans. if we've toxified our own environs enough that we're choking on our own trash, I'd say large-scale depopulation is perfectly okay.

kimananda sagde ...

Robin, welcome. You live in a beautiful part of the planet, to be sure. I've always claimed (and I believe it, too) that if I were to move back home to the Bay Area, that I'd most like to live in the SC mountains (probably more Boulder Creek than Felton, but either would do).

It's interesting though that you say you do all the things that you do because you have to, living in Santa Cruz. There is definitely a social element, a community element to all kinds of environmental work. But my question still remains, what type of personal or philosophical view do you take on the issues raised by Earth Day? I'd be curious to know more.

Ms. Mood, I used to be more tuned in to Earth Day when I lived in California, just because there's a bit more news coverage of it (and because it's California, and we're into that sort of thing there, as shown by the previous commenter). I hadn't thought about it in years though, and didn't read about it until late in the day either. And is it boring to think about ourselves? I wouldn't like the species to die out because I have a survival instinct. And I know I could do more to help both the planet and humans.

Miss Alister, I'm glad you liked the essay, and 'The Story of Stuff' was quite compelling also. It's a good point about the symbolism of Earth Day as consciousness raiser. In my case though, it seems to cause as much guilt for what I don't do, as more awareness of what I could do.

Dok, being a human, I'd vote to save us. I know, I know, I'm a hopeless idealist. ;-) The issue is why we are toxifying our environment on the scale that we are.

Anonym sagde ...

I can cite books claiming that humans toxify their environment because they were designed by aliens to do just this - our pollutants are just heavily processed versions of substances already existing on the planet, after all, and the aliens drop off some humans, fly on to the next planet on their route, and basically make the rounds every several million years to harvest all those already-processed-for-them minerals and scoop up the surviving humans to use as a starter culture on the next planet down the line.

the authors may, of course, have been joking. consider this, though: most of the dinosaurians are extinct. A few, like crocodiles, are still around for us to gawk at. it stands to reason that the planet does not allow any particular dominant life form to stay the dominant life form indefinitely. eventually most of the humans will be extinct, and whatever is in charge next will find the remaining humanoids fascinating and marvel at the idea that inept, foolish creatures like us ever ruled the planet.

kimananda sagde ...

It's an interesting theory, about the aliens. The other theory, about the dinosaurs, is much more plausible. I'm sure that when we do finally go, something else will become the top of the food chain, something which we probably cannot even imagine taking that place now.

Anonym sagde ...

if history is anything to go by, it will be something humans regard as a food animal. maybe sapient chickens. they can, after all, play tic-tac-toe.

kimananda sagde ...

That could well be. I vote for the pigs, though. Just because I read Animal Farm at a very impressionable age.