Social, Economic, Enviromental Responsibility

Tag: Conservation

Let’s Get Wa$ted

Planet Green has a show called “Wa$ted.” In it a pair of eco-conscious heroes confront villains with their crimes and wrong doings.

Or there’s “Living With Ed.” Where Ed Begley Jr, an intelligent environmentalist, is presented as eccentric and slightly insane.

To be blunt: It sums up everything wrong with the “green” movement.

On the one hand, you have a vilification of everyday individuals who don’t know any better. And on the other, you have the environmental movement being presented as neurotic, slightly amusing, and ultimately forgettable. It’s fitting then that they come back to back on the daytime line up.

Like the late night “$0.30 a day” commercials that ultimately do nothing except play on emotions of guilt, and create no lasting change: the current Green movement is destined to be a fringe organization, who plays in shock values, guilt, and heartstrings.

Notice that Theodore Roosevelt isn’t mentioned much as a champion of the environment, nor is John Muir. Except these two men successfully created the National Parks system. Muir, it could be argued saved Yellowstone from development and Roosevelt championed the idea of “wild, untamed spaces.”

This is why we’re called “Conservance.” We’re old school in our approach. I like Ed Begley Jr, but I hate his show.  And “Wa$ted” is a waste. They aren’t influencing policy (Begley might be), or changing a cultural wrong.


Sunday Fun day!

Sunday’s are one of my favorite days. A chance to sleep in, to go to church, to drink coffee and have brunch.

Sunday’s are also excellent days to go outside and do something! That’s a big part of why Conservance came into existence; to help protect wild places so others can enjoy them.

So the challenge today, on this gorgeous Sunday is to go somewhere new. Jump onto the inter-web, talk to some friends, or do a quick search for local parks: and head out!

Don’t even finish reading. Go!

All Or Nothing?

It seems that in issues of great seriousness, there is no middle ground. The Civil Rights Movement was an all or nothing proposition. A calm, baby steps approach wasn’t the solution. It required a herculean effort to alter the fabric of society.

Martin Luther King, Jr spearheaded this movement. Many times he was asked to stop, to go slowly, to take “baby steps.”

He said no.

For myself, being an active conservationist, this is a difficult proposition.

When is my job done? When have I done enough?

That’s the question isn’t it? How will I know we’ve succeeded?

I don’t. For me, it’s going to be a lifelong process. There will be big steps required along the way, even well after I’m gone.

But it is a life changing, society changing process.

So, commit, get radical, be respectful, and change the world!

At Auction

Yesterday evening I had the opportunity to play auctioneer for the YMCA summer camp, Camp Willson.

I donated a few of our shirts, and some other items, and then got to know this years staff. I didn’t really get a chance to eat dinner, because I was having too much fun.

Soon after dinner: the auction started.

With items ranging from the silly to the useful to the awesome, the bidding was hot and furious.  And at the end of the night, we had raised…


Which is amazing, especially given the fact that the staff really won’t make that much money this summer.

As for our shirts, I was a little embarrassed to explain and auction off my own designs. Despite my confidence, I am a bit modest at times. But people began bidding on the shirts, and all told I believe they raised $100 or so.

All in all, not too shabby a Wednesday!

If The Worst Should Happen

Unfortunately, the green movement has misinformed the world regarding the effects of global climate change (I know I know, this is a hot button topic but stick with me). The world will not come screeching to an over baked end.

What will happen is this:

The world will warm, the climate will change, species will die out (they already are, see the article posted on our tumblr account about lizards going extinct) and life will generally get harder for everyone involved.

It is not going to be the end of humanity. Our unique ability is to adapt quickly, to survive.  But that’s just it: We’d merely be surviving.

What I propose is this: Let us thrive.

We rein in our harmful and self-destructive ways now (which could cause short term growing pains I’ll give you that argument), and have a lush and bountiful planet that fuels near infinite long-term growth!

Think of it this way: A million dollars now, or everyday the amount I pay you doubles. You start with a penny, and each day the amount doubles. Which do you choose?

Hint: You’d be a fool to take the million dollars.

Unnecessary Traditions

There is a new season of “Whale Wars” coming out. I’m not really a fan of the show, but I can appreciate the actions of the “warriors” to a certain extent. But what really strikes me about the show is how whaling came about to begin with, and why it’s still done today.

Whales were a huge source of food and resources for coastal dwelling tribes and Victorian Europe. But the majority of the world has moved beyond the need for lamp oil and blubber. But the damage had been done, certain groups of individuals began to identify their cultural heritage as being centered on whaling.

And in this age of liberal egalitarianism, no cultural heritage could ever possibly be wrong.

Except here’s the issue: The hunting and killing of whales came out of necessity. But the need to do that is no longer present, it’s become a luxury. And as such I would argue it is a mockery of one’s culture and heritage to continue it.

Yes I said it, and I will say it time and again: If a cultural tradition has outlived its usefulness then it is a mockery to continue it.

To clarify: I’m not talking about hunting as a necessary population control as is seen today in cases like deer, ducks, geese et cetera. But we’re talking about the hunting of certain species that are in danger of going extinct.

Whaling is just one example of it. We drive cars more often than we need to, because we’ve bought into the idea of independence that a car brings to us.  Chinese medicine has thousands of supposed cures that have no real evidence to back them up (Rhinoceros horn or bear penis come to mind). All of these wrongs are perpetrated in the name of cultural identity, and no one is willing to stop and say “maybe this doesn’t define us as a people at all!”

I would argue that the automobile doesn’t define Americans, so much as it represents our restless spirit. The desire to see the world, and be free to do it. That is our cultural identity; not a ten gallon per mile dinosaur of a truck.

What was born out of necessity but has outlived it’s usefulness in our lives today? If we’re holding onto them out of some perceived cultural identity then we need to stop. We’re mocking whatever sacrifices were made by those before us, and we’re doing ourselves no favors.

Earth Day (Sort of)

I think I might have mentioned this before, but work has me down in DC right now. Last Saturday I decided to get out and see my nations capital. I grabbed my camera, and jumped onto the subway.

First thing: I’ve been able to use nothing but mass transit for the last month. It’s spectacular. DC needs to work some on their buses, but the subway system is top notch. There isn’t much I can’t get to in DC using just my legs, the buses, the Metro, and some directional finding abilities. It’s not for every city, but every city above a certain size and population density should seriously consider putting in a metro.

So, I get on the metro, and head over to the National Mall. I’ve decided to see some of the Smithsonian. I hop off at the Smithsonian station, and walk up onto the Mall, and I’m confronted with this:

A Bolivian Dance group in full garb! Turns out I stumbled into some of the Earth Day celebrations that culminate in tomorrows rally.

I was all over that with my camera! What was interesting though was the article that came Monday in the Washington Post Express.

In it, the first head of the EPA noted that today’s pollution and environmental issues are not as visible as those of forty years ago. We don’t see the Cuyahoga river burning again, nor 168 deaths directly caused by smog.

In fact, things like climate change, carbon dioxide and monoxide, urban sprawl, waste disposal, are not in your back yard issues. We don’t see the effects directly, and won’t see the full consequences for upwards of a few hundred years.

I wonder if these issues mark the big turn for human civilization. Can we come together and begin to launch the large, multi-generational solutions and projects that will catapult us into the dreamt of Future. With a capital F.

We’re Closer Than We Think

We must abandon the puritanical inspired idea of “wilderness.” We’ve made some progress in redeeming that term, but the fact that we differentiate between developed areas and wild areas creates a dangerous disconnect.

By demarcating areas as wild, natural, wilderness; we’ve then marked areas as man-made, tame, artificial. This simple term immediately removes us from the natural world. Like the takers in Ishmael, we no longer work within the ecological bounds of nature.

This is all well and good if we have a measure of understanding and responsibility. Right now, we don’t. It’s impossible for our governments to work beyond a ten year window (quickly dwindling to four) and individuals ourselves are getting to the point of being unable to think about tomorrow. We’ve regressed personally, as we’ve progressed culturally.

I noted this idea as being puritanical. And it is. When the first European settlers arrived, they viewed the “wilderness” as the home of the devil. Of ghosts and evil things. By conquering and subduing it (ie: destroying it) they were doing the work of God. We’ve thrown off the other Puritan trappings regarding religion and sex, why not this one?

What I envision, and what I strive for; is harmony. Working within the natural world to better our lives and the world around us. Why delineate between wilderness and manmade? It’s interesting that we deforest areas to build corporate parks that then are landscaped to mimic the area that was just demolished.

This notion of “wild” is completely man defined. Every city has wildlife in it, up to and including medium to large predators (ie: coyotes, wolves, bears and mountain lions) yet we still think that because there are buildings and roads and the accoutrements of civilization that is in fact tame.

Do you know how many people died of wolf attacks and bear attacks last year on average? 2. Over the last hundred years, 1 person has died from a wolf attack and 1 person has died from a bear attack every year.

Do you know how many people died from traffic incidents? An estimate from the NHTSA shows that in the first half of 2009: 16,626 people died in traffic incidents.

Yet we’re more terrified of bears and wolves than we are of cars? We should be freaking out every time we see an automobile. Women should be asking for Dramamine tablets before riding, children should be panic-stricken, clutching to a sign post refusing to cross the streets. Yet we get into our cars, buckle our seatbelts, surround ourselves with the supposed safety of man made civilization and feel safe.

Let me posit this idea: If we would stop considering ourselves disconnected to the world around us, and start searching for the best solutions then the world would actually be a better and more beautiful place!

Humanity’s great ability is this: to refine and improve processes to their fullest and best potential. Instead of fighting with nature, what if we worked to improve nature? To implement changes and processes that enhance, and integrate the world around us into our everyday lives?

I’m not calling for the end of humanity or our everyday lives. Quite the opposite, I’m calling for us to thrive! To reconnect ourselves into the pulse and cycle of nature, to unlock and understand its mysteries. To delve the depths of knowledge and experience, and improve on the work of Mother Nature. And to know when not to interfere. To allow our world and ourselves to reach equilibrium again for the betterment of all parties involved. From the microscopic to the macroscopic.

That is what I believe humanity’s role is, in the world around us.

To Clarify

I was thinking yesterday about how to define Conservance best; especially since I will soon be moving into actually creating sustainable products.

So I came up with two rules that sum up Conservance best. Something incredibly easy, yet powerful.

Number One

From start to finish, it must be sustainable.

Number Two

If it can’t be sustainable, it must be used in the most efficient and responsible manner.

To break it down somewhat. Rule one, provides for the creation, design and implementation of anything. Sustainable applies to an item’s life from womb to womb. We must start thinking about the next generation with the products we create.

The second rule applies to our use of non-renewable resources. As a conservationist, I believe they can be used. But only in a responsible and efficient manner. For example internal combustion engines are almost 75% inefficient. That is neither responsible nor efficient.

There it is: the two rules to Conservance!

I Love Hotrods

I think hotrods are the epitome of of environmental responsibility, especially what Conservance holds forth as such.

At its heart, hotrodding is restoring something to beauty. Thousands of cars, and hundreds of thousands of car parts, have been saved from the junk yard. If that’s not recycling on a grand scale, then I don’t know what is.

Also, think of the duration of use that a hot rod gets. Some of these vehicles were built in the 1930s and 40s! That’s 80 years of usage!

There’s a growing movement as well, towards clean hot rods. Now MPGs  are as important as horsepower.

Enjoy the rest of your Easter Sunday, and always think how to better the world around you!

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