April 9, 2013

Why Am I Doing This?

Why do I choose to be "green"?

How can I do otherwise? The scientific evidence is overwhelming that we are collectively fouling our nest. There are now so many of us doing that, that the planet's many and varied defense mechanisms are at the end of their power. We must turn around the situation before we get wiped out.

Because it is not a matter of saving the planet. The planet will carry on. It won't be the same planet, however: Climate will be different and erratic everywhere. The nitrogen cycle will be significantly different from before we started using fertilisers. Aquatic life will eventually adapt to the oceans we have acidified. Perhaps life forms will evolve that can digest the plastic waste that's swirling around everywhere. Flora and fauna will certainly be different. Cockroaches will thrive - cockroaches are a hardy species and will thrive under the most improbable circumstances.

But humans are not cockroaches: we won't be able to live on a befouled planet. Our agriculture, the basis of our civilisation, was developed within a very narrow range of global mean temperatures. We are about to leave that range, and we don't know how to plant food crops that can live with that deviation. [ GMOs, you say? GMOs may be good at one particular thing, say herbicide resistance, or drought resistance. We don't know how to genetically code for drought and flood resistance simultaneously; and that is what will be required in an erratic climate ].

Already fruits and vegetables in our markets are not what they used to be. For instance, it has been hard to get good bananas this year. And my apple farmer's harvest has been decimated. A sick feeling comes over me when I see apple and cherry trees blossom in December: it's not natural. Come March, there are fewer blossoms on those trees that will eventually ripen into fruit later in the season.

I'm a mom. This is the high-probability sequence that gives me nightmares: Climate change will lead to widespread famine. Famine leads to mass migrations, like that of the 1930's Dust Bowl, but at a larger scale. Mass migrations lead to violence. I fully expect to witness resource wars in my lifetime. The road to extinction will not be pretty.

If you think of it in those terms, it's easy to accept a carbon tax, to steer away from plastic goods, to spend the extra for organic food that was grown without synthetic fertilisers.

Living that way is more expensive, absolutely. But tell me: what is money, in the face of the extinction of the human species?


This post is part of Green Moms Network blog writing challenge.



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  1. Great post. I may have chuckled at "But humans are not cockroaches" ;) But it's true. Human's resiliency has its limits.

  2. Excellent points. "We must turn around the situation before we get wiped out. Because it is not a matter of saving the planet. The planet will carry on. It won't be the same planet, however." Love that line, especially!


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