22 April 2008

Tuku's Earth Day Plea

You can’t save the planet. You can replace all the incandescent bulbs in your house, drive less, bike more, buy green power, take shorter showers, eat locally, go vegetarian, buy fair-trade coffee, super-insulate your home, drive a hybrid, telecommute, brew your own biodiesel, grow veggies, recycle milk jugs, stop flying, fight less & pray more, put solar panels on your roof, maintain a worm bin, stop watching TV, walk more, compost food scraps, exercise more, stop eating fast food, wear organic cotton clothes, take the bus, move closer to work, take eco-vacations, plant trees, shop at the local farmers market, and it still won’t save the planet. Not even close.

Which isn’t to say you shouldn’t do some or all of those things. On this Earth Day, we (and I mean ALL of us) are facing a remarkable litany of environment-related problems, from global weirding (aka climate change) to food shortages to shrinking water supplies to melting glaciers. And a good chunk of those problems can be traced to human activities.

We may not have any control over larger environmental factors. But the human factors are just that… things we do or control. And while none of these things alone will make a difference, by doing them you may be setting an example to your family and friends and coworkers. Maybe you talk to them, or perhaps you set up a blog or give a public talk about your experiences. Maybe you influence a thousand people, or maybe just one. But if you do nothing – if I do nothing – those people may also do nothing. And nothing will get done.

So try some of those things. Do them because we need to treat the planet with more respect. Or do them because you want to maintain something like your current lifestyle and delay theOliver Mtukudzi - Nhava CD cover inevitable – the end of oil, the end of the internal combustion engine, the end of cheap plastic crap.

Or heck, do it because Tuku told you to. In this song, he sings about how people have wrecked the environment by chopping down trees and dumping trash in rivers, leaving no shelter from the sun and no place to bathe or fish. And he asks the people to do something about it.

What are you doing?

[mp3] Oliver Mtukudzi: Pindirai
from the album Nhava

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1 comment:

Karl Eklund said...

During the Industrial Era (1500CE-1950CE) there was a general movement of upward social mobility, and a belief that social status was to be certified by the ability to waste resources. Around 1950 it was realized that if the next layers to be upwardly mobile (women and people of color) wasted resources like the Western Establishment did there wouldn't be enough to go around. So the Western Establishment tried to stop upward mobility but now everyone believes in the ability to waste as a measure of self-worth. We can save the earth, but we have to change the religion of waste. It may be that Western Civilization has to collapse first.