We’ve heard much in the media from Republican pundits and carbon energy promoters of the folly of environmentalism and the inability of man to intervene against pollution and its effects. Indeed, we heard talking heads scoffing that pollution is even a problem or that it has any ramifications to the planet or to our health and safety at all. Generally, anti-environmentalism and anti-clean water and clean air is a “conservative”/Fox News position. These folks rail against Democrats and the environmentally conscious as being radical crazies, looking to take away everything you love.
Yet, environmentalism isn’t a political cause or movement. Environmentalism goes back as far as the Bible and likely beyond, and more recently to names you should know, like John Muir, the Sierra Club, the Boy Scouts of America, the EPA, our own AQMD and so much more, both old and modern. Environmentalists are people like you and organizations you support, caring deeply about “our land.”
“This land is our land” and it is literally ours together to care for. It’s not ours to propagate partisan political fear for. And our land is certainly ours to willfully pollute.
Good earth stewardship isn’t partisan. Being anti-pollution isn’t partisan. Conservation of resources isn’t partisan. It’s straightforward, logical prudent living. Yet today, the right-wing sow-fear crowd has turned it into a partisan wedge. They sell fear of environmentally intelligent policies…
As if cars don’t actually pollute.
As if plastics aren’t really filling our oceans and waterways.
As if burning stuff, coal, gas, and all the rest, doesn’t impact what we breathe.
And as if we could just slash and burn and consume and throw away everything mindlessly, without any repercussion, any result, any consequence.
“Dig it out, pump it out, burn it up, use it up, throw it out” – forever and ever and ever, and don’t worry. None of this matters, they suggest. They say there’s no consequence to forever pollution.
But in the real world where science lives, environmentalism recognizes that we’re living on an irreplaceable planet with nearly 8 billion human mouths to feed and lungs to fill – and that we’ve got to do things right to keep everything in proper working order. Call it, “global housekeeping.” Most of us keep our house and yard clear from debris and toxic substances. Why wouldn’t we want to keep our global house clean?
So many conservative players offer no solutions, only conspiracy theory fear. Perhaps they should practice locally, right in their own homes, what they’re advocating globally: Forget environmentalism and just let everything spew out.
Put a hose from their car’s exhaust back into the cab. Roll the windows up and give it a spin, and after 20 minutes tell us how it’s going.
Or forget taking out the trash. Just dump the junk in their backyards. They won’t notice – at least for a few weeks. Keep on piling it up for a for a year or a decade (let alone a lifespan) and see how their yards look and neighborhoods smell and just how many rats are running around.
And all that fast food paper and plastic junk and all the packaging from every last thing we consume? Stuff that junk in spare bedrooms, then the attic, until all that never-biodegradable stuff spills into front yards, off curbs and down the street.
And then there’s the, ugh, human waste. Those naysayers can cut their sewer pipe and pump that stuff right into their family pools. (It won’t take years to know what the neighbors think on this one.)
Get the picture? All our waste, all our pollution doesn’t just disappear because we send it somewhere else. Our human waste and pollution footprint is enormous and getting larger, fast! Yet, “Out of sight, out of mind” is the anti-environmentalism logic. But with 8 billion humans and 1.2 billion cars, things are backing up noticeably… and ever quicker as billions join the middle-class, mega polluters.
Taking cheap shots at environmental mindedness is easy when one can mindlessly blow killer exhaust into the air and throw literal mountains of trash into our hillsides without direct, immediate cost. But if we had to pump this junk into our cars, pile it in our yards or flush it on our gardens, “environmentalism” would soon take a dramatically more urgent meaning. “Conservation” would be a good word, not a fear-bait trick.
Picture our household and automotive waste and multiply it by billions of people over years and decades. It’s easy to get the picture of the trash heap we’re fast creating.
Reject reckless anti-environmental propagandizing. We, everyone in the world, must improve our environmental stewardship. To abuse this sacred concern for political gain is itself toxic mind pollution. Reject the old, worn politics of fear baiting. Instead, let’s keep clean houses, clean yards, clean communities, and a clean and increasingly pristine world.
Gary Horton’s “Full Speed to Port!” has appeared in The Signal since 2006. His column regularly appears on Wednesdays.