Saturday, February 7, 2009

Will this really make a difference? Part 1 of ...

When I finally get over the "what is the point" question of trying to reduce my footprint on this planet I begin to wonder what difference can I really make?

There is a difference between the two question. Mostly it is a difference in attitude. The question of reason (point) is one that is derived from an external apathy when I view the world around me. Laramie is a small town, yet for reasons which are inexplicable to me, it has a traffic problem. This problem is made even more poignant on days when the temperature is above 40 on a February day. What a wonderful day to walk, to bike, and enjoy the sunshine. We have people driving 1/2 ton pickups to school and back for commuting distances of less than 2 miles, a mile, and less. We have meetings on campus that concern the parking problems around campus. We have trash cans knocked over in the alleys from the wind, blowing trash around, getting plastic bags caught in fence lines, trees, bushes. Empty lots strewn with dumped debris, Styrofoam, and empty cans of Keystone light. (Some of them may be full, but even the most diligent scrounger such as myself has his standards.) It does prevail upon me a sense of apathy that even if my efforts did do something, some yokel in jacked up 3/4 chevy with a sticker of Calvin peeing on a ford is going to run right through my "green space" and do a few donuts to boot.

But then I recall the quote "[n]ever doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." (This is attributed to Margaret Mead, although there are variants and not necessarily sourced.) I believe that as more and more people begin to realize that our actions do have a long term, and profound impact on the planet, they will be making choices that can begin to remedy some of the problems we already begin to confront. Whether it is at the local level (trash in the yard, conscious choice of driving...) to regional (where we get our power, open space and wilderness protection) to global (what we buy and the global impact of our consumption) a few people trying, in an unpretentious way (hopefully), to set an example and even mitigate a change can indeed affect the world.

1 comment:

smurthy said...

I agree with your post with regards to the abundance of pick up trucks used for commuting purposes. I hardly think the majority of the drivers are ranch hands or construction workers - people who would NEED such beasts.

The positive is that my small car can fit into tighter spots. Perhaps horses and guns were replaced with trucks and beer.