Monday, January 23, 2012

An intriquing essay about Environmentalism

I've been reading and reading about sustainability, minimalism, the 'simple life' mentality, 'green' living, 'green technology' and plastic free and non-consumerism blogs.  Some blogs are focused on new technology and news, others on business, while some are personal blogs about living as eco-friendly as possible in different situations.

One blog entry caught me attention about Environmentalism and how it has changed.  I originally found it through The Good Human blog entry called, "Environmentalists need to stop pretending it's ok" which was a more focused critique of environmentalists saying and not doing plus 'greenwashing'.  The essay that was referenced titled, "Confessions of a recovering Environmentalist" published in The Orion is a more personal reflection of the changes in Environmentalism that the author sees.  Almost, is not more, interesting is the discussion that takes place within the pages of comments to the article.  As with most comment sections in blogs you have the BS you have to wade through, but I there are some thought provoking, intriguing and deep discussions that are worth navigating through the BS.

I, personally, think the articles make strong points and bluntly state the hard truths of the future (like the trouble of 'green energy' destroying natural habitat and decreasing biodiversity).  However, I would disagree about the culprit being 'sustainability' or the oversimplification of 'sustainability'.  The Sustainability movement is just the evolution of the Environmental movement for this day and age.  I stand by the idea that changing something to be slightly greener (or more sustainable) is better than doing nothing at all.  I'm not saying that what we are doing is THE solution, but a step towards more and hopefully more effective solutions.  Name it what you want, but any step to decreasing our negative impact, not just carbon, is a step in the environmentally respectable direction.  Also, the whole debate between spirituality versus practical is a philosophical cycle that doesn't go anywhere.  To me, the black/white perspective is limited and unrealistic.  Finally, the idea, romantic or not, of a static Movement is crippling to the flow of time.  Yes, the Environmental movement of a few decades ago is very different than the one today; but why does that make the one today wrong?  To think that the movement today should be like the movement of the past is wishful dreaming at its best, and naively ignorant at its worst.  We can't go back to the past, but we can make sure the FUTURE resembles the ideology or the values of the past.  I personally think the idea of a pristine environment of the past environmental movement helped create the separation of human and nature.  But I don't think the past environmental movement was worse or better than the one today; just different and appropriate for the time.  I would wager that in a few decades from now, the Sustainability movement will seem old fashion, romantic and make us nostalgic like the Environmental movement of the past.  I think the most important aspect of both is the drive to DO something and not just talk and debate about the philosophies of said perspectives.

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