Archive for August 3, 2010

But What About the Micro-environment?: A Challenge To the “Green” Generations

    You hear a lot these days about environmentalism – everything from international quotas for air pollution to how many sheets of toilet tissue we should use per bathroom visit. Preaching on the subject has become a religion for some people, and public school curricula encompass ecological studies from kindergarten on up.

Doesn’t it all boil down, though, to the glitzy repackaging of a decades-old idea? A lot of us baby-boomers grew up with the concept that intelligent stewardship of resources is a sign of good character. We learned it from parents who had lived through the Depression and had honed “reduce, reuse, recycle” to an art form long before our children and grandchildren ever had it written into a classroom teaching module; we were instructed in it by scout leaders who taught us to leave our campsites even better than we found them; we heard it promoted by Lyndon Johnson’s wife Lady Byrd, who spearheaded a “Beautify America” campaign.

It was called conservationism back then, and it was basically good common sense applied to everyday life: don’t do anything selfish or shortsighted that will make living conditions worse for others; respect other people’s property; don’t waste food or material goods or electricity; don’t litter.

This uncomplicated logic suggests that our own neighborhoods should shine with examples of good citizenship. One would think that would be the easy part. But if we can’t master the easy stuff, is there any hope for developing this universal sense of accountability we keep hearing about?

So why the curmudgeonly rant? Well, I’m a walker. I walk the sidewalks and paths around my neighborhood six days a week, come rain or shine or sleet or snow. I walk to the grocery store and the produce market and the Post Office (conserving gas); I walk to and through the local parks (saving gym fees); I walk to the library (preserving brain cells); I walk to the corner store (supporting local merchants). These trips are fraught with glaring indications that attempts to nurture interest in “sustaining the planet” have not taken root. (more…)

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August 3, 2010 at 9:10 pm Leave a comment


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