Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The Absurdity of the Environment as a Controversial Political Issue

I had the most profound epiphany in regards to the environment while cruising through the local industrial park. With my eyes planted firmly on the enormous coal power planet expelling a constant stream of white smoke into the sky, I began to ponder why the environment exists as a partisan political issue much like defense, taxes or social services in this country.

After a few moments, it became clear that arguments relegating the environment to the domain of one political party (in this fantastic two-party system of ours)--you know the one-- is specious. The following might sound obvious but we ALL live on Earth and thus we ALL have the responsibility to ensure that subsequent generations can inhabit this planet.

Of course, the inevitable rebuttal is "there is not enough evidence to support the existence of global climate change" or "the destruction of natural habitats is a natural byproduct of progress." The sad fact is sentiment such as this completely misses the point and merely illustrates how the environment is constrained within the political polemic in the United States.

Whether or not a person's stance on Climate change or holes in the ozone should not be a catalyst to say... influence one's desire to recycle nor should it be the basis for a political platform. This is not a matter of political ideology, beliefs or opinion, it is a mixture of common sense and obligation on the part of humanity. The environment should not have ever been politicized, the point remains the same, humanity has not fulfilled its unspoken agreement with the world which sustains and supports it as a species.

A disturbing passivity has been borne out of a collective laziness. It has become easier to thrown one's trash out the window while speeding down the interstate or to engage in the consumption of wasteful products then recycle or purchase products comprised of said materials. This is not a condemnation or a "finger-wagging," for I am as guilty as the next. All this begs the question, "what is to be done?"

This is a question --while simultaneously appearing deceptively simple-- with a solution chock full of difficulty. Honestly, I cannot answer it as I am not an environmentalist, I am but a simple and altogether willing iconoclast illustrating the point that environmental politics is not a question of party affiliation. It is a question of willingness to make slight behavioral changes... like recycling a plastic bottle in lieu of tossing it in the trash.

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