Thursday, April 29, 2010

Saving the World

We've had comments requesting the topic of global warming. An excellent way to begin. Now, the prospect of global warming isn't generally that touchy - most everyone agrees that it's real and it's happening and it's serious. But here's our question: Do we care?
It seems harsh, sure. But often global warming is such a distant, big-picture issue that we find it difficult to really, genuinely muster up encouragement. We might attend a benefit if we're invited, and we'll nod along as Cameron Diaz lectures us about the power of hybrid cars on TV - but we can't find it in us to take action.
Here's how I feel. Looking at pictures of the Holocaust stirs up sadness. Reading about the sex trafficking business in third-world countries brews anger. But thinking about the ozone layer....personally, it doesn't really get me going.
Meanwhile, if I'm being told to take my charger out of its plug when I'm not using it, how can I stop the feeling that my changes are minor and insignificant? How can I motivate myself to alter my lifestyle for the planet if I can't see, touch, bear witness to the rewards of my actions? The benefits of helping the planet are huge. Unfortunately, they're not tangible.
There are, however, a few wonderful exceptions. The government provides tasty tax benefits for solar powered homes; there are, similarly, plenty of government-funded rebates on hybrid and electric cars. There is the fact that being "all about green" is very, very fashionable; so if you're in a big environmental campaign, you're the It Thing in your community. That's a reward everyone can enjoy; if you're in a big environmental campaign, that is.
But what about the little things, like turning off the faucet when we're not using it, and taking shorter showers? Those are the changes that are most realistic for everyday people, but they don't offer any benefits you can enjoy. Nothing much other than the thought that you're doing the right thing.
Thoughts? How can we change this and make the threat of global warming more real, more powerful so as to inspire Americans to make a difference? How can we show our people that the changes they make really are helping, and offer them attainable rewards?



  1. interesting insight,
    i will that honestly i can't make myself give a hoot about global warming, even though i know i should.
    i have never heard this viewpoint voiced before, good of you folks to get it out there on the blogosphere, because it's a reality. if the green maniacs want other people to take up their cause, they should really inspire these people more. the government, also, should take action.

  2. I want to stop hearing the tree-huggers tell me about simply the "why" and the "how." i need the "why" and the "how" AND the "how to appreciate the why." if that makes sense. i need them to tell me why i would ever care about the reasons why global warming is bad.
    this is why you guys have a good point in this post.

  3. Human beings are selfish people. We need, as Alit pointed out, TANGIBLE BENEFITS. This is where the government comes in. I think Obama has a lot on his hands, but he does need to take more action on the environmental side.
    Al Gore all the way!

  4. This is interesting, I agree with Barb, I haven't heard this opinion actually said before. But there's a point here.

  5. the motivation to be green is the thought that you're helping out. that's enough for me. i don't need tax rebates or recognition in my community - i save energy because i love the idea that i'm doing my part and giving back to this beautiful planet.

  6. wow meredith! I am actually VERY impressed.

  7. nice article with an interesting perspective...... what is your opinion on people who deny global warming?

  8. This was very intellectually stimulating and progressively written. I appreciate your true sense of what is realistic and your blatant honesty for the subject, Meredith. I would love to say, echoing the sentiments of Lacey (^^^), that we are all just good people who want to "give back to this beautiful planet", but unfortunately that would an abrasive lie. Thank you for your grand insights and true-to-form perspective on this relevant and important issue.

  9. very interesting! some great points that I had never though about before!