Here’s a radical idea – instead of America spending more money on defense, how about we spend it on building and upgrading our renewable resources so we don’t need oil. Solar, hydroelectric, wind power, etc. The countries we are at war with over oil will no longer have us as a customer. They will go broke. Our citizens will not have to be harmed by being soldiers. No more worries about oil leaks in water. The air will be clean. Seems simple.
Perhaps the story of Little Red Riding Hood isn’t about the wolf, but about the woods.
Perhaps it is about taming the woods, making them less dangerous.
Perhaps it is teaching us that forests must be tamed, must be mastered.
That if they cannot be civilized, they must be destroyed.
Is this why large stands of trees are seen as “undeveloped”?
Is this why they are seen as a resource to be exploited, rather than one that serves perfectly as it is?
And why does something have to serve to be considered valuable? How human-centric is that – that if it does not serve us, it can be destroyed?
How much “development” do we need if we no longer have trees to create oxygen for us?
Should there be a limit on how many people per acre there can be in a given community? Should there be a mandatory people to tree ratio to ensure enough oxygen?
And what about the animals living in the forest – untamed, wild? Do they not deserve a place to live? Why is it considered progress to evict them by chopping down their home in order to build new ones for people?
Is this the new colonialism? Is this not what white settlers did to the native people who were already here?
We’re all in this life together.
I can heal myself. I can be awake and mindful. I can plant trees or buy land that has them on it already to preserve them – but it won’t matter much if others chop theirs down and build malls (our new temples to the god of consumerism) complete with parking lots dedicated to cars (mobile air destroyers). Each parking space is a gravesite, a memorial to a tree. A garish monument, an epitaph, a mockery of what was there before. The air will get more polluted, and without trees, there won’t be anything to clean it. The Earth will get warmer and warmer, and my efforts won’t matter. While I’ve done what I can to help, others have done more to destroy.
I can protect that stream of water on my hypothetical piece of land, keep it safe from pollution, taking debris out when I arrive there, not putting poisons in, but what about upstream? Their actions affect me. Then, what about the people who buy this land after I die? Who says that they will keep it pristine?
How to live in such a way that it inspires others to live – that is my goal.
It is Christ-like to be an environmentalist.
Jesus said, speaking about how people treated others who were considered lesser than them, “Whatever you do to the least of these you do to me.” He meant that you should treat everybody like you would treat somebody important. Consider this – animals, plants are the “least” as well. Who says it just has to be for people?
If we are to “Love your neighbor”, then doesn’t that mean everybody and everything? God created everything. We show reverence to God by respecting God’s gifts.
Why find another planet? We will just have another to mess up. All that money on building a spaceship and terraforming another planet… Why not work on clean water and air here? Why colonize another planet? We need to learn how to get along and reduce our population here. We need to learn to live within our means, and be proper stewards of “our island home”, as Carl Sagan called Earth.
We don’t need laws for this. We need to change minds and attitudes.
Remember when you wanted to get a carbonated beverage years ago? Perhaps you call it a soda pop, or a soda, just pop, or a Coke as we call it in the South? Things have sure changed.
Back when I was growing up nothing was in plastic. If you wanted a soda to drink you would get it in a glass bottle. They were very heavy and fairly expensive. We saw them as treats. We didn’t drink them all the time or even every day. You couldn’t reseal them, so you couldn’t take one with you and drink it throughout the day. Because it was glass you had to be fairly careful with it too.
Back then, we didn’t recycle the glass – it got reused. Do you remember playing the game with the Coca-Cola bottles? They would have the names of cities on the bottom of them. Your friends would get bragging rights for whoever had the one from the furthest away. These bottles were washed and reused and sanitized over and over again.
Reusing them takes far less energy than melting down and reforming them. Why do we think that we are so environmentally conscious now with plastic? So many people don’t recycle that plastic bottles are huge burden on landfills. Because they are in plastic, we drink more and more, and thus pollute more and more.
Another benefit of the old way is that we drank a lot less sodas. Sodas are bad for our health. When we wanted something sweet to drink as children we drink Kool-Aid. Kool-Aid with its sugar isn’t the healthiest thing to drink, of course. But we are learning that sugar is better than high fructose corn syrup. And drinking Kool-Aid was better for the environment. It didn’t come in big wasteful bottles. It came in little packets and we added the water. You also had control over how much sugar you added. In general as a child I remember simply drinking water.
So perhaps the old way was in fact better. It cost less to our health, our pockets, and the environment.