Jim Webster: Green needs support
July 15, 2015
I read with amusement the recent letter to the editor about "Environmental Religion." I thought it was very creative writing but, unfortunately, lacked substantive points to contribute to the debate about climate change or sustainability of the planet. The writer pointed out that "environmentalism has become the religion of choice for modern atheists," which is surprising as the Pope recently put his views clearly behind policies that promote planet sustainability. Here, the Pope is particularly concerned with the affect of climate change on the world's poor.
Putting religion aside, it appears to me that it is not yet universally "cool" to recycle, reduce waste, conserve water and reduce pollution. Why? Perhaps the benefits are too far in the future or seem cerebral in nature. It also takes effort to think and act green, as we have not grown up with these practices ingrained. For instance, we still do not all universally buckle up when we get in the car, yet we read all the time about people who are killed because they do not wear seatbelts. Texting while driving is going through a similar phase of resistance, despite the evidence it is more dangerous than being drunk while driving.
In the short term, there appear to be more losers than winners in attempts to reduce pollution and waste: more regulation, lost jobs, dislocation, etc. These are important considerations and need to be addressed and managed.
In the long term, without best sustainable practices, we will all be losers. There is plenty of evidence in our history that past human societies can create their own demise. It is probably true that the science of climate change will never be fully settled among various interest groups. There are extreme views on both sides, and some people will only realize their folly when the ship sinks.
My hope is that common sense prevails, and we learn from history and the experts. We need low-risk policies if we want to live, say, as long as the dinosaurs did.
Ultimately, I would like to see sustainability practices become as "cool" as having a Starbucks coffee or using an iPhone. Pun intended.
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