Finally, someone I can listen to!
Until now, the most credible person I could find to listen to was either Dennis Miller or someone along those lines (and by credible, I’m talking about what makes sense to me, not what so-called scientific credentials some lab coat has).
Until now, the message that made the most sense to me was that the world’s climate is changing, but it’s part of a natural cycle, and that what we’re doing has nothing to do with it.
Well, I still believe that the current round of global climate change is part of a natural cycle, but I’m not so sure that we’re not helping it along.
See, I’ve always listened to Art Bell, who is a staunch believer in global warming - but of course even Art will tell you that ninety percent of what’s heard on his show is made-up baloney. Most folks who listen to that show do so for the sheer entertainment of hearing someone call in and claim to be an alien from outer space.
Then you’ve got that weirdo Al Gore, whose own now-famous energy use claims have proven to be about as accurate as his older claims (he created the internet, his mother couldn’t afford her medication – the list is decades long).
I’ve even posted here on Tengu House, looking for anyone who could point me in the direction of someone I could listen to, who didn’t strike me as either completely off their rocker, or just someone who had some ulterior motive.
David Suzuki, the Canadian environmentalist, is that person. This is who I was looking for. Now, mind you, I’m not completely on board with everything he’s saying (like, Canadians are smarter than Americans because they have his TV show and we don’t). But I do like his credibility, which is to say, I believe that he actually means it. And, I don’t think the man’s completely crazy.
Here’s what I’m trying to get across with this post. I still don’t believe that auto emissions are a powerful-enough problem to be destroying the world. And I still don’t appreciate the environmental left (a largely unfair characterization, I admit) accusing the hole in the ozone on my Jeep, if you follow my hyperbole.
But I do believe that global warming is real, and that proper efforts at conservation and energy reduction will help. Finally, after all this time, I’ve found a popular, as in mainstream (in Canada, anyway) environmentalist global-warming-banner-carrier to whom I can listen, because he’s obviously not a hypocrite.
David Suzuki and his family produce one bag of garbage a month. The rest is recycled, or else not produced in the first place. He’s been teaching on environmental issues for decades, and is well-respected in both the scientific and environmental communities, basically worldwide. See, it’s not just about how you and I are ruining the world, with this guy. It’s more about biodiversity, and about all of the hundreds of little things that you and I can do better, that might help.
It’s about not being so destructive. It's about helping, taking small steps to begin to correct some of the problems that we’ve allowed to seep into our everyday lives. He campaigns for the rights of all people to be able to eat healthy foods, for example (as opposed to truly healthy foods being available only to those who can afford organics and the like). He supports efforts to curb the use of PBDEs and other toxic chemicals. And, here’s the kicker: he actually lists, on his website (www.davidsuzuki.org), different ways to reduce some of the negative impact that humans have on the rest of the natural world – simple actions, such as turning your computer completely off when you’re not using it, using your clothes dryer less often, keeping your home furnace clean.
These, while not exactly ground-breaking in their brilliance, are the kind of environmental solutions I’ve been looking for – as opposed to some scatterbrained millionaire in Hollywood telling me to take a bus more often.
I also like the efforts of David Suzuki's daughter, Severn Cullis-Suzuki, who addressed the UN Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro at age 12, in 1992. She helped launch an internet think tank called the Skyfish Project in 2002 (which is no longer active, evidently), and is a member of Kofi Annan's Special Advisory Panel. She frequently speaks about the importance of eating locally-produced food, for example - things I would never have thought about.
These are people, in my opinion, who are actually worthy of not only respect for their efforts, but of actually being heard. Worthy of being listened to. And worthy of being taken for real. Their slightly out-there politics aside, there are real, non-whacko ways in which you and I can contribute to the success of human efforts to reduce our impact on the rest of the natural world. And in my estimation, tuning in to the Suzukis is a great way to start.
Gonna hit ya with a BLUE UPDATE:
Well, more of a clarification, actually. I've always been torn on environmental issues. Sort of. It's difficult for me to explain my precise stance on such things.
Even back when I was a hardcore right-wing Republican (further right than that, actually), I was also a Greenpeace volunteer on a sea-turtle project in Florida. That was years ago. And I've always disagreed with the monicker "eco-terrorism," preferring instead "eco-vandalism," because I didn't see where any terror was involved (referring to the destruction of equipment, where no lives were threatened). I see now that this little distinction is also championed by David Suzuki.
My point here is that ecological issues are important to me, as I think they should be important to everyone who lives on this planet - which is almost everyone I know (a little joke there). But they're also sidelined by people in the US who are so easily marginalized as nuts. When you live in a suburban world, and your idea of seeing nature is mowing the lawn, it's hard to visualize how much damage is being done by humans. Then, if you add to that the rants and tantrums of the Meslissa Ethridges of the world, or other celebrities who ride in limos while decrying your Tahoe as an ozone-killer, etc etc etc, it's awfully hard to keep listening.
I was on the sea-turtle project because it was easy to see the problem, and the solution wasn't something that made me a crazy person. I didn't have to put a logging family out of work by chaining myself to a tree - I just had to help some little baby turtles take their first little paddle-steps in the right direction.
Does any of this make sense? There is such a thing as environmental whackos, but you don't have to be one of them to be concerned about eco-issues. You don't have to be a nut-ball to work to correct some of the little things in your life that can make a difference. When I was in Thailand, for instance, there was the issue of beach litter. Some of the folks out there, locals mostly, directed us to throw our plastic water bottles into the sea. It was simply the most convenient place to toss your trash. Of course, we just packed out the bottles and all was hunky dunky. But that's an example of the kinds of solutions I'm talking about. That's the attitude I'm looking for. Reduce your own level of waste, by using less of what you don't need. Use public (or mass) transportation more often. Turn the lights off when you're leaving the room. Use more recyclable materials - and then recycle them. But being a hypocrite doesn't help the envirnment. Ill-infomed snobbery isn't an endangered ecosystem. And not everything I do, every single day, is destroying the world. We're so obsessed with liberal guilt (that's liberal with a lower-case L) that we've begun teaching our children that we've screwed them out of a future.
That's why I'm so enamored with the message that David Suzuki puts forward. Yes, it's a problem, but you don't have to go berserk about it. In fact, going berserk won't help. Screwing in more efficient light bulbs will help - especially if everyone does it.