[photo by Arianna Rich]
Bienvenido. Willkommen. Welcome. Hey. Hi. Hello.
Welcome to Green Life Blue Water Where Eco Meets Life. I’m passionate about environmental rightism, not right as in adherence to the right as a political ideology, but environmental rightism, as in, doing what’s right by and for the environment and each other (so Webster’s, if you’re reading this, consider adding another definition).
We live on a very small planet, relatively speaking. Granted, you can’t walk from one end to another in a day, but you could fly. You could speak face-to-face with someone across the world in real time, visage and all, without leaving your kitchen. You could drive to the next state just to watch a sporting event or see a concert and still be home to sleep in your own bed. Our connection to the big wide world is in many cases instantaneous while all the trappings and delights of modern technology have made the planet downright tiny.
As a result, it’s increasingly difficult to separate our actions. A radiation breach in Japan affects fish in the Pacific Northwest. Failure to control industrial air quality in China affects ozone levels in North America. The Butterfly Effect, first coined by Edward Lorenz, a mathematician at MIT researching weather prediction, drew on concepts of randomness that the ancient Chinese set forth in the I Ching over 5,000 years ago. Also known as the Chaos Theory, it’s the idea that a small, rather insignificant event can result in totally random, unintended consequences that are difficult to predict. As it goes with weather prediction, so it goes with the application of pesticides to crops, the emissions from coal-fired plants to the air we breathe, the unintended ingestion of GMO foods, the addition of pharmaceuticals to the water we drink, each incident a small, unintentional action that collectively may result in far-reaching, sometimes catastrophic implications.
My daughter is reading To Kill A Mockingbird, the much revered tale by Harper Lee, in her 9th grade English class. Some of the concepts I felt were a bit hard to grasp for a 14-year old so we watched the movie together. This time around, I was struck by the scene where Atticus Finch prepares to guard the jail holding Tom Robinson. It’s a dangerous night — a lynch mob lurks — and Atticus knows this. He’s the sharpest shooter in town; Lee already established that fact in an earlier scene when Atticus kills a rabid dog threatening his children. Yet, Atticus doesn’t bring a gun to keep his vigil. He brings a book and a light which to me represented one of the central themes of the story: a light to overpower the darkness and a book to vanquish ignorance.
My hope is that this little blog shines the light of knowledge on some of the myriad environmental wrongs that plague us, ones we often feel powerless to define much less correct. The oft-quoted Margaret Mead-ism about not underestimating the power of a small group of committed individuals to change the world has never been more true than in today’s digital age. Collectively, we have the power and you don’t need to be a politician or a billionaire to access it.
Perhaps together we can make some sense of the issues and figure out ways forward no matter how small the steps. I look forward to our interaction.