V ä v a! V e v e! weaving cloth one thread at a time

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Passionate responsibility

Okay, I feel that I am on the verge of  beleaguering this subject enough for now.  But please permit one last plea before I sit back down at my loom, as it is our existence that is at stake here.  Each of us must take responsibility for our ocean, for our earth! We all need to clean up after not just ourselves, but for those who for one reason or another, don't clean up after themselves!

I have an adopted son who is autistic. He is 18 years old and brilliant but has no organizational skills whatsoever! I, on the other hand, feel fortunate to be able to say that I am reasonably organized. His room is chaos (I say with a pained smile, admitting my opinion) . . . a bit like this photo from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.  My son's room is often overwhelmed with wrappers, containers, paper, soda cans. . . all things that need to be recycled, composted, reused, or (unfortunately) tossed.
This is actually a good day!

He cannot sort through this chaos to save his life. So things pile up until he absolutely can't find anything anymore and then he just puts all things into one bag and brings it to the trash (which I try to catch afterwards and sort through. I have often found things like sunglasses, small electronics and new cds and dvds, books, clothing, etc. along with the 'trash'. I rescue the assorted things that I am sure he didn't want gone, and recycle the rest. I use this to illustrate that there are many people who don't have the ability to 'see' what is at their feet. The cacophony of visual confusion (at least in this illustration) is so overwhelming that my son cannot see 'the tree for the forest' (ie. he cannot see the single tree because there are so many trees)! I just about drove myself mad trying to teach my son to 'see' one single tree while it was surrounded by the other trees. He just was not wired to be able to do that. Then I just about drove myself mad by trying to think like he does so I could understand why he couldn't 'see'. I will never be able to 'see' the world as he sees it, just as he will never be able to organize, what seems to me to be, his chaotic world. 
I know that not everyone is like my son, but I have come to realize that the spectrum of human conditions is vast and broad, and that I should not judge someone for not being able to pick up after themselves or for multitudes of other foibles, for that matter. Although many of us can view what we perceive as obvious, there are just as many who cannot see 'the tree for the forest'! And yes, there are just as many again who abuse their priviledge of being on this earth,

and don't care that they left trash behind or don't want the inconvenience of walking over to the trash receptacle or hauling a bag of trash home.  But, there I go, judging.  Everyone has a story to tell, and whether I believe their story or not, the work remains to be done!  It is what it is.
But if they don't carry out their own trash, and if I don't feel any cumpulsion to do it, then what??  It often takes a long time before litter from the environment disappears. Below is a list of how long litter affects the environment:
  • Paper and paperboard: 6 months
  • Cigarettes butts: 2–5 years
  • Plastic (PET) Soda Bottles: 5–10 years
  • Plastic shopping bags: 10–30 years
  • Gum: 20–25 years
  • Tin Can: 80–100 years
  • Polystyrene Chip Wrapping: 90 years
  • Aluminum Can: 200–400 years
  • Sixpack Bottle Wrapping: 450 years
  • Golf Ball: 100–1000 years

So, my point finally is this. . . A campaign such as that suggested by Dominique Browning in her blog http://www.slowlovelife.com/2010/07/stop-ocean-abuse.html, could sound something like. . .

 "Only YOU can prevent earth abuse" 
 Smokie's shovel could be replaced with a globe or some such.  (But that graphic layout should be left to the ad agencies!)

If one could spin this right, it could be very effective by making EACH of us more aware and thus more responsible for the big picture. Making us realize that EACH of us must act! Making EACH of us feel compelled to do more than just our little part. If done right, this campaign could go so far as to make people feel smart for doing good for our environment. . . make it cool to do so!  Something along the lines of what schools did for smoking.
Finger pointing and expecting the government do our will is not as effective as EACH AND EVERY ONE of us doing our part to take care of our world. And 'our part' is not necessarily our 'fair' share! Each of us needs to pick up trash left by others.  Each of us needs to be proactive in caring for our earth. In our families we need to shop smarter, consume less, walk more.  In our businesses we need to be vigilant about our decisions and speak up when things aren't right.  Each of us needs to do the RIGHT THING when we see bad decisions being made and then are asked to carry these decisions out.  In our schools we can set up programs to teach our children how to be stewards of our earth by setting up lunchroom composting programs, promote classes about sustainablitiy, and explore energy options for the school and our neighborhoods, http://www.usatoday.com/news/education/2008-10-14-schoolsinside_N.htm

. . . In EACH of our lives, we need to jump in and make the well-being of our earth our business! Our very lives are at stake!

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