Friday, April 27, 2007

We're All Environmentalists!

All throughout my adult life I've heard the term "environmentalist", often in a pejorative manner. For most of that time, I've thought the popular understanding of this word is utter nonsense. How can any living, breathing person NOT be an environmentalist?

If you would each take a moment, What does it mean to care about the environment we all share? We'll come back to this in a minute.

Generally, when we fashion words to categorize a person or a group of people, it describes something unique about them. If you refer to Baptists, you mean to describe Christians who hold to a specific set of beliefs and interpret the Bible in a particular way.

Likewise, if you use the word "Republican", you're referring to an individual or group of people who subscribe to a certain set of beliefs and share the same general world view.

If you say, "Firemen", you are making a reference to individuals who, as a profession, seek to put out fires -- unless, of course, you're speaking in terms of trains, then firemen means something different altogether.

But how does this apply to "environmentalists"? Every person needs a healthy environment to exist. None of us can survive for long without air, water and food. If our environment is compromised, then these essential elements are compromised too.

About the only way a person could not be an environmentalist is if they repudiated the human need for air, water and food. In other words, if any of us GENUINELY didn't care about these 3 things (and a host of others too), then our only alternative would be to kill ourselves -- divorcing ourselves from these things we loathe.

And yet, that wouldn't work either!! Even in death, each of us will continue to interact with the environment. Our bodies will decompose to provide sustenance for all sorts of microbes. Our death will provide life for others.

Even if we choose to have our remains cremated, the ash will take up space somewhere and, eventually, the ash will return to the soil, thereby giving life to other beings.

Consequently, not only can't we escape the environment, we ARE the environment.

So, how can any person -- alive or dead -- not be an environmentalist by default?

1 comment:

  1. Many private landowners still have resentment towards government micromanagement. I think this is where the ‘environmentalist/hippy-liberal headache’ grew legs. Hard working farmers, especially amongst the older generation, see environmentalists as wealthier and better-educated, but lacking of a certain practicality necessary for survival. They understand that provisional laws bring change in practice, and we all know how much our seniors enjoy change... thus creating a conflict of perception. Environmentalists are most useful in enabling land owners with solutions for sustainable growth. Accepting ourselves and one another as "environmentalists" should never feel like a shot in the foot.

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