Today there is a movement happening in the blogosphere that is pushing environmentalism to the fore. Blog Action Day aims to have thousands of bloggers posting their take on the environment in order to increase the dialog around the environment. Some of my favourite bloggers have already provided their views, from C4Chaos’ writing on conscious capitalism and bright greens to Lighter Footstep’s call for individual action and wise leadership. Also check out the contributions of Integral Options Cafe, Craig Photography, and Integral Praxis, three of my other daily reads.
I try to keep my own stance pragmatic and wide. I’m in favour of using technology in every way we can to increase efficiency and quality of human life while simultaneously reducing harm to our environment. This, as far as I can tell, if entirely possible and is actually a major thrust of innovation already. Genetically enhanced plants, more efficient devices and smarter public transportation are among the tools we have emerging as viable changes for preserving and benefiting the environment. And we should be cheering on innovation and existing technology as a way to protect our world and to create the quality of life everyone can flourish with. We should not give up advancements for some romantic ideal of returning to nature. Spider Robinson, in “Sustaining the Planet” (PDF), sums this up nicely:
Good thing. My only alternative is to go back to the woods like I did in the ’70s, and live the Natural Life…until I run out of axe-heads, woodstoves, kerosene, nails, and other crucial things I can’t make myself, and die nobly ever after, of cold and hunger. Been there, done that, was unable to weave the t-shirt.
Some still doubt such things as global warming and urge against believing that humans have a tremendous impact on the earth. I don’t think the evidence points to that, but there is one simple and compelling argument that I was impressed with for whether or not we should work to reduce our emissions. What’s the worst that could happen?
What isn’t asked here is what do we do if we can’t slow or reverse global warming, whether it is caused by us or not. I think that if the worst predictions are accurate we can’t do anything now to stop global warming. What options do we have then? I think we have to seriously look at what we need to do to adapt to a world that is changed tremendously. Our lives and those of countless others will be threatened and the lifestyles that breed better humans will be lost. Can we afford not to plan for the preservation of a humanity far stronger than it has ever been before? Can we afford not to look at how other life would be changed?
And even if we just improve our technologies and live in ways that are more sustainable, what have we gained beyond survival? I don’t think any short survey could encompass all the benefits we can reap from being spurred into change by a concern for the world. If we shrug off fear, at least let us embrace the hope that we can create a better world.