Today is Earth Day--the day anyone with a shred of environmental conscience is roundly chided by those driving Escalades up and down the freeways (and never offroad--Sports Utility my ass). People who care about the future of the planet are called, among other things, tree huggers and alarmists. We're communists, right Fox News! Part of some vast conspiracy to keep your viewers from making money by developing the world!
And on the heels of one of the coldest winters in the last quarter century, these flat-Earthers have strong temporal evidence (never mind that the sample size is a single season--not hundreds of thousands of years of core-ice samples) that, in their grand world view, climate change is not happening!
And sorry, piling into your SUV and driving ten miles to your local grocer to purchase free-range chicken and organic produce with your re-usable bag is not living a sustainable lifestyle.
Take stock of your life and think about how you can reduce your impact on the planet. The single greatest thing you can do is to monitor the amount of waste you create and plan your consumption more carefully to avoid creating more of it. Ten years ago, the state of Florida set a goal of recycling thirty percent of its solid waste. According to the state's accounting system, 240 of every 1000 pounds of waste is now re-used in some capacity.
The state wants to push that number to 75%. Ambitious? Of course. Realistic? Hell no.
That'll never happen here. Florida's ethos is one of blatant disregard for the planet. The people here litter more than any place I've ever visited. It's really a huge disconnect. We live, literally, in a subtropical Garden of Eden. What do we do with it? We chop it down to cram more homes into the ecosystem. A quick drive up and down Atlantic Boulevard provides a stark lesson in the realities of our swamped economy. There are dozens--literally dozens!--of shuttered stores there. Instead of using them, we're now building one of the area's largest shopping centers on the corner of Kernan and Atlantic. Acres upon acres of wooded land was cleared.
And we wonder why the Florida Panther has to eat from garbage cans and the gopher tortoise is disappearing and why there are alligators in people's pantries and swimming pools.
My wife and I recycle just about everything (recyclery at 1745 Phillips Highway). We go weeks without taking the garbage to the curb. When Lyla reaches ten pounds, we have dozens of bummies (cloth diapers) and we'll stop using disposables, which sit in the landfills for years. We try to stack our errands to stay out of our cars (of course, in Portland we lived for two years without a car, but we can't do that here) and we support local farmers by shopping the farmers' markets. We grow our own fruit and vegetables. We don't over-fertilize, nor do we waste water on our lawn.
And we've only begun to scratch the surface of limiting our impact on the Earth. We need to do more, and we will, because we believe that things are spinning toward an unpleasant horizon.
There's a film that comes out today called Earth.
Go see it.
Then watch this.
I'm hopeful that my little girl will see the dawn of the next century. That's a neat idea to me, that Lyla, born on the first day of Spring in the year 2009, might welcome a fresh century.
But what will that look like? Hopefully....hopefully, hopefully, hopefully...it won't look like this.
Everyboday says, "There's still time to turn it around." Really? Is there really time? The time was yesterday, friends.
But if you missed that boat, then you can get on today. There's plenty of room, and your children and grandchildren will thank you for it.
Celebrate Earth Day by being the change you want to see in the world...