Browngirl Going Green


The Personal is Political (aka the Earth is My Home)
January 27, 2010, 11:34 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , ,

Today I Googled ‘environmentalism’ and hit the ‘News’ search button. This article was the first page that turned up in the results. Which is cool, because there should be more widespread media coverage of politicians doing things to support environmental justice. But it’s also a little scary that in a country where there are thousands of organizations doing environmental work, that something as obscure as this came up first. I hope this means that GoogleNews is tuned to search for obscure indie journalist reports first!

There’s definitely been a lot of buzz in the environmental world since the Copenhagen talks on the climate crisis in December. Last week I attended a reportback, sponsored by Movement Generation, from some of the US grassroots delegates that were there during the conference. The consensus seemed to be that Copenhagen was a failure, and that progressives need to do a lot more to connect all the different issues we work on—whether we work on affordable housing, economic issues, conservation, public education, juvenile justice, etc.—to the climate crisis. I wasn’t able to stay long enough to hear how people proposed doing that, but I’ve been part of the progressive movement long enough to know that some of the barriers to bridging these different sectors can be very entrenched and rigid.

I see the connections between the economic crisis and the climate crisis very clearly. Capitalism and industrialization have created whole societies that value natural resources only as commodities, not as precious sources of sustenance and survival. The rapid and unending accumulation of wealth has become, for many, the ultimate ‘American Dream’—so why are we surprised when that accumulation also forces others into poverty? Why are we surprised that our debt-based economy has collapsed, when it was built on little more than speculation (aka gambling)? And why are some of us still shocked that the Earth’s resources are becoming more and more scarce, that water is quickly becoming the next natural resource over which wars will be fought?

Which brings me back to the purpose of my blog, which I think I’ve strayed from a bit since my first post about a week and a half ago. As the big picture policy fights and politicking rage on, how will I—as one individual woman of color who cares about the future of humanity on this planet—make a difference? This question goes beyond just signing a petition, composting my organic food waste, or taking public transit more often. It calls into question our whole way of living, and makes me want to, once again, take a hard look at how we live, day by day, in this society. Am I being frugal with our abundant resources, or wasteful? Am I being grateful for what I have, or resentful for what I don’t have (and probably don’t really need)? Am I encouraging other people to do their part?

Unfortunately, the folks who don’t believe that the personal is very political, especially where the environment is concerned, unfortunately still wield more power and influence than those of us who feel this in our guts and bones and hearts. I care about the Earth because the Earth is my home—even if there were another planet to migrate to, I wouldn’t want to. I want to take care of my home, and I know we can.

So what will I do—and what will you do—to take care of our home?

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