Going green starts with personal change

By Clyde Davis: Local columnist

I suppose the problem addressed in this column is like other common questions, in that the answer lies, not in knowing, but in doing.

We know that, if we do not develop alternative energies, our modes of transportation will radically alter when fossil fuel runs out. We know that we have changed our environment more in the 200 years since the Industrial Revolution than in all of the previous millennia of human presence on earth.

What course of action can we take?

I, for one, hope to analyze my own lifestyle this new year and, while analyzing, make changes. It only begs the question to analyze without making alterations in the process.

After all, there are many government studies waiting for “analysis” to come in, before they commit to the ecologically sound course.

I have to admit to having only recently read Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, though I have read many other articles and books wherein it was mentioned.

I also have to admit that I have never seen Al Gore’s film, An Inconvenient Truth, though I am familiar with what others say concerning it.

I started taking smaller, obvious steps several years ago.

As a woodworker, it has been a long time since I bought any of the exotic lumber pillaged from endangered rain forests. Actually, it is kind of unusual for me to buy any lumber; much can be harvested from the scrap piles of construction sites, and most customers react positively when informed that a piece was made from recycled wood.

To me, that attitude proves most people truly want to do the morally right, the environmentally sound, thing.

The question becomes, what can we do to influence government, big business, and nations which frankly do not seem to care what happens to the world of our great grand children?

I leave it to your own opinion whether our own nation is consistently among those that do not care.

In some ways, we are like children when confronted with this, and we need to be shaken out of our childish view, that things will always be as they are. Only by moving to some kind of moral adulthood can we take charge of our own future.

The view that we somehow own the earth and its other inhabitants, to do with as we will, is based not on any authentic Judeo-Christian view, but on a much later redaction of that view, concocted to justify certain postindustrial Western practices.

It is almost a no-brainer to realize that the worldview of the Hebrew herder of the Pentateuch was much more akin to that of Navajo shepherds than it was to a contemporary suburbanite; that the subsistence (i.e. family-run) farming practices of the Settlement period were nothing like agribusiness, and that the Galilean fishermen who formed the early disciple cluster could not have conceived of a practice that would destroy the very sea their lives depended on.

No doubt these people believed, as do most, under the surface today, that life would go on as it did, would always be so.

The difference was they practiced a lifestyle under which that was a reasonable assumption. We do not. We are using huge amounts of resources to travel, heat, light, and entertain.

I don’t know of an easy solution. I can only say that, while urging and supporting and using my vote to make sure the experts stay on top of the problem, I will begin monitoring my own behavior.

At least I remember pretty well how to ride a horse, and I have a really good bicycle…