Friday, February 13, 2009

How Do We Start a New Climate Culture?

As many of you know, we've been promoting participation in Climate Culture which GMU was invited to be a charter member of. It's a site where the Mason community can learn ways to be more sustainable. In participating, we can also win up to $20,000, as well. If you haven't already signed up, you can learn more about it at:

Below is a web log entry I wrote for it. This is the first web log I've ever written and it may be my last as well. I'm not really the kind of person who blogs. Nevertheless, I thought I might weigh in, just this once.

This web log (perhaps my one and only) is dedicated to Colin Bennett, who is awesome.

Many people suggest that as humans are supposed to be the highest form of life on the planet, it is our responsibility to be caretakers of or stewards to it. This incredible burden is ultimately a great folly in the understanding of the role of humanity on Earth.

Without humankind’s influence, the planet would thrive, the natural order of life sustaining itself. Mother Earth does not need humans to manage her. Instead of trying to be stewards of the world, we must learn to recognize that humans do not exist outside of the ecosystem, outside of Nature. In so doing, we learn that the only thing we need to manage is ourselves.

All the damage already done will need some help, but if humans stop creating evermore obstacles for Mother Earth to overcome and, instead, live more harmoniously with the rest of Nature, things could very well work themselves out in the end.

We manage ourselves by managing our behaviors. The actions we take in our lives can have profound effects on ourselves, our friends, our surroundings, and on the world.

Take a moment to pick up a plastic bottle, remove the cap, and recycle it. In that instance, if five people see you do that, and even just one of them changes their behavior for the better of all life (and, yes, recycling one bottle benefits ALL life), then that’s one more person than the moment before.

Sure, the actions we commit to on the Reduction Center on this site might help the university win this contest, but it’s more important that we are helping ourselves, our families, our future children, that starving child in Africa, or the thousands of children living on the streets of Mumbai and elsewhere by putting the Earth and all its denizens above ourselves from time to time.

Seemingly small acts can have far greater consequences (good or bad) than we often realize. A misplaced word could change a child’s perspective about the world around her; an errant cigarette butt could end up in the throat of a sea gull, killing it; and a plastic bottle, discarded unceremoniously on the street, could be picked up by someone who’s life YOU changed when they saw you do the same.

Join the new climate culture.