Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Is it Working For You?

We live near the back entrance to the Mendocino Botanical Gardens. Today, I took Teddy (our Corgi) for a short walk, or so I thought. Unless Gail and I both go, Teddy usually isn't interested in the “long walk” which consists of a 1 mile trek through the gardens and out to the the ocean. To my surprise, he not only kept going, but he was running and pulling me much faster than his usual short-legged gait. Past the vegetable garden, around the huge Christmas Heather in full bloom, and all the way out to the bluffs.

Here we stand at the edge of the continent. A shift in perspective. Teddy poking his nose into gopher holes and me - watching the waves, feeling like a part of a bigger whole. Focusing my sight on the horizon, sensing the planet – part of the solar system – part of the galaxy – part of the cosmos. I start to think about what I had read earlier in the week.

One of my favorite bloggers is Beth Terry at Fake Plastic Fish. Recently in a blog titled Saving the Planet (aka Plastic, a**holes!) she linked to George Carlin's rant about human arrogance related to our concept of “environmentalism”. Click on the link above, watch George and then read Beth's blog for perspective before reading on.

Hilarious? There must be some truth in there – why else would we laugh?

So here we have a 4+ billion old planet that is being “screwed up” by us humans who have been here a mere 100k, at most a million years. In addition, we talk about plastics lasting thousands of years (as if that is a long time). So what is the bother? In another billion (or million) years, humankind may not exist – neither would plastic. Global warming would not be an issue because there may not be anyone to make it an issue.

Teddy and I start for home. He is still full of energy – running ahead – showing me the way. I couldn't help but wonder; so what's Georges point? Is it really useless to do anything about plastics – or the environment? It seems to me that this would be an endorsement for apathy.
Apathy does not work for me, neither does cynicism.

The bigger question: What works for you in your life, and is it really working?


  1. Great post, David! I'm not sure how to take George's rant either, and unfortunately he's not around anymore to ask. (Cuz, you know, if he were still alive I'd be picking up the phone and giving him a call.) But such an energetic guy couldn't be advocating apathy, could he? I think his tongue is planted firmly in his cheek. And I think we all do what we can to make this world a nicer place in the here and now. If we do that, the future will take care of itself!

  2. If you can't laugh at yourself, you miss some of the fun in life.

    I don't know when, or how, it started, but somewhere along the way I started making small changes to my not-so-eco-friendly lifestyle several years ago. Small changes, such as switching to reusable straws, are easy to accomodate. And one by one, friends and family start to notice that maybe it isn't so hard to live a more eco-friendly lifestyle.

    Keep up the great work!

  3. Actually, I find that if I can't laugh at myself I miss MOST of the fun in life.

    Well said, Jane. In a few sentences you have stated what I want my whole blog to be about!!

  4. Hi David

    I say 'no thank you' to plastic straws, am a big fan of reusable personal care products, and will try to keep a spoon handy at all times -- I love yoghurt when I'm out and about. But the yoghurt containers bother me so I'll try to minimise the amount of single-serve yoghurt I buy. And also other single-serve items -- my favourites are nuts and dried fruit.