Friday, April 22, 2011

Earth Day: The Call to Revolutionary Stewardship of Our Environment

Watch the full episode. See more NOVA.

Today is Earth Day.

Can't tell you how old it makes me feel to tell people I remember the first Earth Day. It's memorable for one main reason...it ended up being the second time in the same year (and in my entire life!), that I had to spend time in detention! I was in junior high, and I and my fellow classmates spontaneously decided to walk to school in demonstration/celebration. No, we didn't get permission from parents or school and arriving some two hours late didn't help our cause...

Let me confess that I am not a rabid environmentalist. I still struggle to remember to separate recyclables There are a couple of cans of aerosol deodorizers around the house. And I don't compost (I need help in the landscaping/gardening area!).

But we do live in an era in which the environment is increasingly important, both to the ecological balance and to the economy. Our country's failure to make a full commitment to new technologies which will make us less dependent on foreign oil, more environmentally friendly and open up new opportunities for jobs, as well as new efficiencies is that we have tied our economy to the energy production industries of the 20th century. So we slog toward the energy independence we say we crave, while making it a political football that we kick down the field of public policy...even though we know its good for us.

Is it expensive? Of course it is! In the same way that cars, phonographs and telephones were expensive before the mass production that drove down costs. It just seems to me that a serious commitment to support innovations that will employ the energy, environment and economy saving technologies that we know already exist can be the means through which we can transform the lives of millions of Americans and once again become leaders in the world of innovation.

We have plenty of models...one of which is seen below in the re post of a video which shows what actor/activist Brad Pitt is doing in his efforts to help restore a neighborhood in New Orleans. We can make our poorest neighborhoods more economically and environmentally sustainable if we can summon the political and public will to match innovators and investors in ventures that create even more models that prove our capacity to reinvent the way our culture thinks about our stewardship of world.


It's our dilemma and my fear is we are not yet brave enough to seriously commit ourselves to a solution...

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