15 October 2009

My Personal Approach to Climate Change on Blog Action Day

I've struggled with how to focus my writing for this post.

I was drawn to re-iterate Steven Poole's Unspeak rhetoric of the shift from "global warming" to "climate change." You'd have to read the book to know the reference. Being that Rhetorical Theory was one of my most challenging and rewarding courses in college, books like quickly grab my attention.

But still. It didn't seem like the right direction to take this post in.

I googled "Climate Change and Cancer" because I've been thinking of Maura and because while reading the obituaries last week I was overwhelmed with how many people died from cancer.

Kate Duffy, a book editor died at the age of 56.
Rev. Forrest Church died at the age of 61.
Suzanne Fiol, an Avant-Garde Impresario died at 49.
Dickie Peterson, a singer for the Rock Band Blue Cheer died at 63.
Ben Williams, a Circus Performer died at 56.
Robert M. Murdock, a Curator and Scholar died at 67.
Shelby Singleton, a Nasville Producer died at 77.

The list is exhaustive. Its just an alarming rate. This doesn't even include....

Maura Desouza, a opera singer died at 22. Maura is the younger sister of one of my closest friends who died in May of 2009.

Can cancer be related to climate change and is there a way to write about it in a meaningful way? I don't have the time or emotional availability to delve into death and climate change right now. I'll shelve the idea for now.

I looked up Climate Change and the Theater Artist. (This spawned a post that will be published later on today).

I considered whether or not I'd be hopeful and optimistic or have a more doomsday approach. I personally believe we've passed the point of no return but I should be okay for the duration of my life. (I know. So dark.) It doesn't leave me hopeless though. Its like the titanic is sinking and you can either run around screaming and giving in to the panic attack or you can pick up a violin and play with the band as the ship goes down.

I wondered, left to our own devices what are our natural inclinations? Some people don't give a rat's ass about recycling and tofu and electronic cars and the detrimental effects of deforestation. Some people are fully aware of the effects and yet they do not care. What is to be said about that?

What do my own efforts at home mean, when I still have to walk out my door? At my job, I oversee our sustainability efforts and have the support, budget and freedom to try out all sorts of things and yet I always feel like I'm not doing enough. But there literally isn't enough time or energy for me to do more than I'm already doing. In regards to my theatrical endeavors...sure I can practice sustainable acts but I'm not going to tell the actor to read the script electronically. (Although I don't really work on shows that have real scripts in the first place.) It just made me wonder how can I be sustainable in a non-sustainable environment?

I won't even get started on my boyfriend. For as little as I consume...which I've found out through various calculators....he consumes probably 1,000 times more than that. If the average CO emissions are about 20,000 per person per year, I'm doing well at 7,000 (with much room for improvement.) If 20,000 is the average...yeah, he's probably at 100,000. He used to drive a hummer for goodness sake! Its gone now. But what's to be said for his multiple cars and motorcycles. I think for every green thing I may do, he counteracts that by two. So what does it matter? I suppose I'd rather play the violin with the sinking ship than freak out with an impeding panic attack. (I should stop saying that. People won't be encouraged to pursue a more sustainable approach to their paradigm of thinking. Please be encouraged. You can change the world one recycled bottle at a time. I'm being sarcastic but I also mean that wholeheartedly.)

I later googled "What Can I Do about Climate Change." I know. Lame. But I was getting a bit depressed. I came across the EPA's Household Emissions Calculator. Within minutes I was looking at my Electricity and Gas bill like it was German. I don't really understand the fine print of those bills. However, I was pleased to see my results. But also encouraged to push myself further.
Individual Emissions - Household Emissions Calculator | Climate Change - Greenhouse Gas Emissions | U.S. EPA
My main goals....
  • RECYCLE. I've located the local recycling center which is step one. I need to figure out whether they require me to sort. (I do recycle at work by the way) I also need to figure out how to store the recycling in my apartment so as not to disturb my pleasing aesthetics.
  • I need to become more conscious of considering the products I purchase based on their packaging and pre and post consumer recycled content.
  • I should become active in the various Green Meet Up groups I'm a member of. I am a part of three groups and I have yet to actually attend any of the events.
  • I want to continue to build my knowledge of all things green. One of the first steps was attaining a Certificate in Green Business which I love more than my college degree but I want to push it even further.
What I encourage is an adjustment to your paradigm of thinking. Think twice about what you buy, how you use it and where it ends up. Think twice about your time, resources, energy and how you can find efficient ways...often found in a sustainable approach for improving your quality of life. For a life so temporal, why we have such an inclination to make such permanent damaging thoughtless choices is a wonder to me still.

I will leave a footprint on this earth. That's a given. The quality and legacy of that footprint is all up to me.

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