Blog Action Day: Environment

Monday, October 15th, 2007

I registered my blog for Blog Action Day because I thought it would get me more readers, not because I’m passionate about the environment. Of course I care about the environment, but I think I could have rallied more readily around Blog Action Day: Darfur, or Blog Action Day: Global Poverty. But here we are, Blog Action Day: Environment fully enveloping us in the blogosphere, and so let’s do it.

Here is what I have to say.

The environment does not have a soul, and it is not superior to humanity. I’m sorry Mother Earth-ers, but it’s not. Every good thing that the environment does for us is not because it is nobly seeking to serve others, it is just intrinsically useful. Just as nature does not intend to do us harm when it brings floods, fires, and earthquakes, so it does not rain to bring us relief, it rains because that is part of the water cycle. It does not produce food because it wants to nourish us, it produces food to reproduce and strengthen its own species. Nature is self-serving. Probably if the environment did have a soul it would be just as greedy as we humans are.

So, I propose that nature is not as selfless and benevolent as some would suggest. Maybe if the earth did seek so desperately to please us humans it would make sense for us to abuse that, to take and take without ever giving back. This too is the nature of things, isn’t it? But here we have an environment that has proven its ability to sustain itself, to prevail, to defend and even attack, when necessary, and suddenly this environment is something to respect. Suddenly it makes sense that we would seek an alliance with nature, not because we are able to mutually benefit each other (what, really, has man brought to the table?) but because we are not as strong as nature, and we do not want nature as an enemy.

This is all pretty secular of me, who at first planned to write a post about stewardship. I hope it’s evident that I’m only half serious. Because really, we are destroying this planet. And maybe the earth could muster up its survival instinct to produce a catastrophe so great it would wipe us parasites out forever, but it can’t really do that–not strategically. Equally lacking strategy, though, we seem to beg for such annihilation.

I don’t know a thing or two about global warming. I haven’t seen the Al Gore film and I saw only ten minutes of the Jake Gyllenhaal film. I’d like to deny it as much as the next person, but I don’t think we can really afford to be ignorant anymore. Truthfully, the idea of a warmer climate is difficult to disparage. “Where concerns about the world getting warmer/The people thought they were just being rewarded.” But surely this is stupid. Clearly we are wasteful, we use unclean power, and we are reckless even with our renewable resources. It’s simple logic–have we forgotten that we reap what we sow?

But things are changing. However slowly, I think they are. I know we’ve done some serious damage–we’ve put some holes in the ozone layer, we’ve permanently exterminated numerous species of plants and animals, we’ve clogged our land and water with synthetic waste–but we’re learning. I’m actually fairly optimistic about the changes we’ve been making, the ones we talk of making. And when hope in humanity fails me, I can look beyond that, to the source of all this. Yes, the Creator rears his head again (aha, not such a secular post after all!) And while we might like to think we can screw things up irreparably, or fix things, or even just control things, it would be wise for us to remember that ultimately the fate of this world is far out of our hands. What we do have in our hands we must use responsibly, and here I’ve slipped a bit of stewardship in after all. Really, though, why can’t we just take care of this green earth? Here we dwell! This is our bed that we make in the morning. These are the clothes that we put away in drawers. Sweep the floor. Recycle. Conserve water. Yes. This, for now, is home.