and i’ll take you

two polar bears

I always find it hard to hit my stride on gloomy Mondays. I keep imagining myself somewhere in a deep comfy armchair in front of a cheerful fire with a cigar in one hand and a book in the other. There’s a dog at my feet and George and Atti are stretched vulgarly near the fire. Stinky is behind me on the PC playing Championship Manager. Talk about wild huh? Haha. Someone read one too many Enid Blyton books on Willow Farm.

There’s this blog I like to read about a guy in NY who tries to live as simple as possible and to reduce his impact on the environment. His year-long experiment includes eating only local foodstuff and living without electricity. There are a lot of people who slam him for even trying, for being ‘too radical’, for being a ‘hippie’. I loved his answer to all those who choose to look the other way, those who pretend or have convinced themselves that one person’s action is useless against the raging onslaught of global warming.

“But at the heart of my reasons for engaging in the No Impact experiment is my desire to engage a very personal question about how I want to be as a person. (And I really mean to direct this question only at myself. I don’t mean to imply that anybody else should be asking this question of themselves).

The question is: when things seem futile, do I want to be the kind of person who lets the “chips fall where they may,” or do I want to be the type who tries to do something anyway?”

Indeed. It was heartening to read about a Penang couple doing the same.

My own beliefs about global warming/cooling is that it’s been happening since the dawn of time and will continue till we humans are no more. The only trouble now is that we humans are accelerating the process and doing harm to the environment and ourselves by almost every means imaginable. Just thinking about global warming but ignoring other environmental problems is like refusing to eat at McDonald’s coz it’s unhealthy but stuffing yourself with ajinomoto and aspartame in other eateries. When I refuse a plastic bag at the supermarket, I am not thinking about how my action could possibly reduce carbon emissions, rather I’m thinking how it would be 1 piece of plastic less in a landfill somewhere or how I potentially saved 1 turtle from death. When I turn off my PC at the end of a workday, I don’t think about cyber emissions (well, only a little bit), but about a polar bear drowning somewhere coz there are less ice floes for him to hang on to when he gets tired. Do I ever think my actions are a drop in the ocean? On bad days, yes, or on those days I’m rushing and I forget to turn off the lights. But mostly the little things I do make me happy and I think in the end, that counts too.

OK, enough green stuff and chest thumping. How about attending Karen Armstrong’s talk this Saturday? I’ve called the organisers and they say to just show up early as they’re expecting a full house. The talk is free and will last 1 hour. I bought a book of her’s a long time ago as a birthday prez for pop, but everytime I go home I forget to take it so I’m not familair with her books, though I’ve read a couple articles she’s written. All very nice and thought-provoking. Should be a good 1 hour.

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2 Comments

Filed under environment, miscellaneous

2 responses to “and i’ll take you

  1. Hey, Happy Monday 🙂

    /start chest-thumping too

    When I was at Chamang falls the other week I was picking up trash as I was walking downriver and back up. It was sickening how people leave junk all over the place and expect others to pick up for them. (I’m guilty of the smoker’s sin of chucking cigarette butts everywhere though… but only if I can’t find a bin)

    In Koh Phangan last week there was plenty of litter on the beach but there were people who are paid (or volunteer?) to pick them up. I picked up every other bit of broken bottle if I see one in the sand though, and pile up the rest of the garbage in one spot. Mostly for myself… since I’ve been dancing all over the place barefooted and keep tripping on buried bottles 🙂

    Even kayaking around randomly, in an hour I found a grand total of three mineral water bottles floating in the sea.

    … and the next person in line at the cashier at the shop always get a smile and a “have a green day” salute after I refuse a bag.

    /end chest-thumping

    But honestly I forget about all this right after until someone brings it up… and all I have to say is, “why don’t you do it too?”

    Someone asked me (rhetorically) before that how can people (in this country) talk seriously about religion when our rivers are polluted? They talk about the imagined filth in the hearts of others when they ignore or even contribute to the filth in the environment–that was my reply, she was obviously preaching to the converted.

    In my own experience, when I own up to my alternative, so-called “fucked-up” views on religion, even those in sympathy (these days generally those who disagree with the Lina Joy court decision) will say to me that it is better to keep quiet, don’t even try, I’ll read about you in the papers and send flowers when you’re in counseling (yeah right).

    No Impact guy put it exactly right, all this is about addressing very personal i.e. independent beliefs, through very personal i.e independent action and though I won’t go to extremes (I love my motors but bioethanol rocks!), I think that it’s the attitude we need to move forward.

    I might be going to Karen Armstrong’s talk, so maybe I’ll see you there? Apfel Studels!

    ps. saw some great rock formations while kayaking at Angthong and wished you were there so I could pick your brains. The mushrooms I ate gave me some pretty cool ideas though hehehe

  2. i’m ashamed to say, that while i believe very strongly that one person’s action can bring good for the environment, i’m in the same camp with your friends when it comes to loved ones’ ‘alternative’ views on religion and government. why? coz being green is harmless but speaking out (on these issues) lands you in very uncomfy places. i’m a very selfish grouch.

    apple strudels! i think i can recognise you by now.

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