Sunday, May 2, 2010

Big footprints splash oil

They talk about preservation so certainly they care; but mansion walls and floors are decorated with the body parts of endangered animals. They talk about conservation so surely they recognize its importance; but it is so much work to unplug televisions, desktops, laptops, chargers and coffee makers after every use. They talk about new energy sources, so undoubtedly they see the need; but wind turbines spoil ocean views and endanger little birds.

As a gunky oil slick larger than the island of Jamaica slimes its way across the Louisiana/Alabama/Florida coastline, everyone watches in horror. There is a disconnect between the heartbreak at the environmental ruin and the country’s insatiable oil appetite. Species of animals have died out in this generation and everyone thinks they are doing their part if they give money to a telethon fundraiser or pay for a membership at their city zoo.

Residents of the land of the free have taken that all too literally. Nothing is really free, none of us are free from our obligations to the planet, and we will certainly not be free of the harsh environmental consequences of our behaviors.

‘They’ must become ‘we.’ Talk must be replaced with active commitment to reducing our energy consumption. We must shun companies with poor environmental records and reward those utilizing innovative solutions to environmental concerns. We must buy food that is grown and produced in the most responsible ways. We must not underestimate the role we each have to play, and must become aware of everything we each can do to lessen our footprint on the earth.

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