Conservatives v. Conservationists

Posted on July 17, 2009. Filed under: environment | Tags: |

Does anyone else find it ironic that conservatives tend to oppose conservationists? I bring in the subject of the environment, because it pops up a lot in the book I’m reviewing, Affluenza. I think its conservationist stance will turn off conservatives. Personally, I am sick and tired of the equivalent of sibling rivalry between the two groups.  One side vehemently denies there is anything wrong, the other thinks we are already doomed unless we changed  yesterday.  While neither side will fully come to an agreement, there’s a big middle ground we should find and some acceptable compromises .  So, kids, we’ll call you Conny and Connor, come sit at the kitchen table and let’s discuss this rivalry.

First of all, stop arguing over  science. I love science, but science is not foolproof.  We do NOT know it all- not by a long shot.  Sometimes when we learn new things, it puts things we knew before in a different light.  For example, we discovered that high levels of cholesterol in our bodies caused plaque buildup in our arteries, leading to heart attacks.  We also discovered that eggs were high in cholesterol.  For a while, eggs were bad guys.  We were advised to severely limit their consumption to like 1 egg a week.  Rash conclusion? I figured it was a good idea to not O.D. on eggs, but at the same time, if this conclusion were 100% correct, the average lifespan of a Chilean would probably be something like 32, as they consume dozens of eggs a week.  Now, further studies have revealed that there are different kinds of cholesterol, LDL and HDL and one kind needs to be elevated and another needs to be lowered. Eggs aren’t all bad cholesterol, and unless you have a huge genetic disposition to high cholesterol, you can probably eat as many eggs as you please.  See how that works?  The knowledge we first gained wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t complete, either.

Bottom line?  Don’t jump to hasty conclusions.

As it is right now, most studies are backed by one side or the other, specifically looking for something to support their stance.  Each side accuses the other of manipulating data and poor science, which most likely sometimes is true, other times not.  If everyone could just hold back their pride and judgment and try to have studies done together, on a variety of factors and look objectively at the big picture, we would have a much better idea of what is going on right here on our planet.  We would be more likely to come to a consensus on what our choices related to our environment should be.  As it is now, you’re just wasting time, money, energy and hot air.  Both of you!

Kids, NOTHING and I mean NOTHING good will come out of your constant bickering. All your “is nots”, and “is toos” are turning everyone else in the house’s stomach. There is a difference between disagreeing and making logical arguments and plain old bickering.

Remember, Neither one of you know it all.  It’s O.K. You are still worthwhile.  You are both important.  You both bring different qualities to our home that are important.  Let’s just accept that and let go of some resentments and rigid thinking patterns.  Take some deep cleansing breaths, will ya?   Connor is reticent to change.  It’s understandable.  Change is often painful.  On the upside, he can help us recognize what things are good and important to preserve.  He can help impulsive Conny to look at things more carefully before she just leaps in and changes things with no thought for what those changes might bring.  Conny, on the other hand, could gently help Connor let go when necessary of old things that are not working for us.  Conny can help us look outside ourselves and see what we might be missing or not appreciating.  She can help us build a better more compassionate world.  For the love of Mom, would you please start appreciating your differences?

Please keep these things in mind if you are going to tackle the subject of global warming:

-Climates are not stable.  Mom has been around almost half a century now and has seen changes.  Some changes may be concerning, others may be natural waxing and waning.  Be careful not to confuse the two or decide too quickly which one is which.

-There have been increasingly more extreme climate conditions more frequently over time in the past century or so.  Ignoring this fact is a little bit silly. Pretending to know exactly what it means is too. Being careful and learning as much as possible about these changes and whether our actions can make a difference would be sensible.

-It appears the world has been cycling between warm, tropical times and icy, frozen times, with much more amenable times luckily, most of the time.  This has been happening independent of what plant and animal life there was on the planet at the time.  Indeed, both extremes existed before humans did.  Obviously, there is more at play here than human influence on the environment. Logically, many of the possible factors influencing the global climate are completely out of our control.

-However, our presence on this planet has had an impact on it as well.  We do leave a foot print.  It is unrealistic to expect us and other forms of life to not leave a footprint.  We are going to create both positive and negative effects on the planet and the other life around us, just by existing.  It will not help to stop breathing, or ostracize obese people, or decide cattle have too big of a carbon foot print so we should stop raising them, or any other number of absurd assumptions or actions.

-It would make sense to learn as much as we can about our impact on our environment. It would make sense to try to be gentler on our environment and make the best possible choices to make our footprint as positive as is reasonably possible. Even if we didn’t  have global warming on the table, there is a case for being better stewards of this planet, for our own health and welfare at least. In that vein of thought, Connor maybe you could lighten up and relax and let some change happen anyways.  Probably, we could find better ways of doing things with less negative impact to the planet.

-In all the arguing about whether or not global warming exists or if it does, whether it is a natural phenomenon or a man made event, you are both ignoring something much more important.  Sooner or later, on a small or large scale, people on our planet will have to adapt to changes.  Eventually, there will most likely be some big changes that will effect us in major ways.  Odds are, even if humans are totally responsible for this, we won’t buckle down and work together to fix it until it is too late, so why don’t we all just work together on ways to adapt to major insults to our survival instead of becoming extinct and leaving this planet to the cockroaches? Because that would just be pathetic, really to leave this all to those disgusting little insects, just because we were stubborn and uncooperative.

As for new technologies, it’s a good thing to work on new technologies.  It is all right to consider new ways of doing things.  As a matter of fact, putting all your eggs in one basket is not a good idea.  Having different energy options for example, just makes sense.  At some point, you may need another option for a myriad of different reasons anyhow.  Why not just work together on what might be the best methods and make them the most available? It might turn out that all this will lead to new forms of energy that are all around just better. Be open to new technology, Connor.  It’s not going to hurt you, and it might make you some money too!  Even if it seems unlikely the human race may outlive the supply of fossil fuels, it’s a bad idea on so many levels to  expect problems to just go away like that.

Conny, it is unrealistic to expect an immediate ceasing of all uses of fossil fuels, for example.  Take a deep breath.  Even if the sky is falling, your hysteria will not turn your brother around.  You are going to have to find better ways than a tantrum to convince him.  Work on your charm.  Try to play on Connor’s motivations to get him to do what you want.  Look for baby steps like choosing the least damaging sites or uses for fossil fuel, or more cleaner technology for their use.  We don’t have a better way to do some things yet, so accept where we’re at.   Then you will both be happy.

Lastly, please stop all the hype!  I am not going to sit around trying to figure out which one of you two comes up with all these stupid, pointless “green” campaigns and products that are gimmicky and don’t improve anything.  They bear all the marketing savvy of Connor pretending to appease Conny, or it could be Conny, trying to take a page from Connor’s book at the expense of any real useful change.  Whichever of you it is, just stop it.  It is counter-productive.  For example, selling a cleaning product that is supposed to be made from natural plant material and hyping up it’s greenness, and selling it’s concentrated form in a little tiny plastic container with an empty spray bottle, so I can mix it with water is insulting to my intelligence. It’s true you’re not shipping around a bunch of water, but we aren’t seeing the savings in the retail price, and how much plastic are you going to waste on all those tiny little refill bottles?  That doesn’t sound very green to me.  Selling a gallon of concentrate and letting me use my own spray bottle sounds way more green to me.    It respects my capacity to measure and fill a container all by myself as well.  And let’s not even go into all those green “credits” schemes.  Supposedly, Conny, you are trying to lower our carbon emissions, not get us to save a million ways only to blow all that lack of emissions on some big plane trip later.  What is up with that?  Just stop it, will ya?  It makes mom really irritable.

In conclusion, if you both want to avoid these big long lectures from mom, and truly make our home a better place, why don’t you respect yourself, respect your siblings, truly work on cooperating and coming up with creative ways for you to both be comfortable together.  Then the whole earth, I assure you, will have one less thing to worry about.

Lecture over.  Questions?  I have a few.  Am I the only Mom out there?  Also, what do you think the best green changes out there are?  What are the worst?  What ideas do you have on making this a better planet?

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