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My EnviroRant

We want to survive, be healthy, and have children. This goes hand in hand with wanting our habitat to be hospitable. Some scoff at trying to protect animals other than ourselves. When we protect the animals, the forests and waters where they live, and the air they breathe; we are the ones that benefit. We are a part of this world. We are a part of nature. We share this with all of the earth. We are all interdependent. We need the plants for oxygen, water cycling, and the regulation of climate and atmospheric gases. We need the animals for pollination, nutrient recycling, and seed dispersal. We need both plants and animals for food, clothing, and medicines. Our happiness, our prosperity, isn't that what we are all striving for? Wouldn't we be happier if we were healthier, and if there were a greater abundance of plants and animals?

We are overburdening the earth. We are pushing the limits of the earth's ability to sustain us, to absorb our waste and the by-products of our existence. We are rendering our ecosystem useless and poisonous. When other species push the limits of their ecosystem the effects are not so lasting. The area is not so fouled that it can't bounce back into balance in the next generation or even just a few seasons or years later. The animals can still prosper after the ecosystem finds balance. We don't let the ecosystem find balance, we just keep on fouling and trashing and poisoning. Even if humans adapt biologically to survive in a polluted, man-made environment, is this what we want? Would you prefer to be surrounded by concrete, asphalt, metal, waste, and garbage? What do we do to be happy when there is little of the natural environment left? How do we live and breathe and frolic in waste and poison? Are we to be inside buildings all the time? I personally do not see this as a lasting form of pleasure.

Many people believe that environmentalism revolves around an argument of "Which is more important, humanity or the health of the planet?" But it isn't about one or the other. It is imperative that we work toward both. They are equally important, and improving one will improve the other. Improving the environment improves humanity by making us healthier and happier with more and better food, water, and natural, clean areas to work and play. With access to lots of clean food, water and air, humanity can spend more time continuing to improve our technology and working to find more safe and clean methods of providing the things that we all want like heating, cooling, cooking, cleaning, transportation, and entertainment. The greater our ability to provide these things at a minimum of harm to the environment, the greater our own health and happiness becomes. The greater our health and happiness the more productive we can be. Environmental protection and economic productivity do not have to be conflicting goals. There is an endless number of jobs to be had in production, science, technology, and services related to the very same jobs we hold today, but with an eye toward enhancing the environment rather than damaging it. If we all request and strive for more environmentally friendly products and activities, they will make money and we can support our families through these very things.

I see questions like whose research are you going to believe and whose interests are being served? We have a method of trying to gather nonbiased information called science. Scientists are working on it, not all variables are understood, that is part of the process and purpose of scientific research. Not all variables can always be controlled, but ongoing research provides ever broadening knowledge. What is most important isn't what the science is telling us is the degree to which any one thing is harming the environment, it is that we all need to be educated and devoted to finding the alternatives to doing any degree of harm to the planet or ourselves. That doesn't mean we stop doing anything and everything that harms right this minute, it just means that we all work toward that goal. Education and science can provide us with alternatives. Every issue must be approached from many different angles. If stopping someone's actions that are having a negative impact on the earth is also going to affect someone's ability to survive or prosper, alternatives must be provided; research must continue.

No, this isn't simple. We want a greater abundance of food. We want warmth in the cold and cooling in the heat. We want shelter, and we want protection from the animals and other segments of nature that pose a threat to our survival. But where is the benefit when by-products of these actions also threaten our survival? We are thinking, reasoning beings. We can choose actions that promote our future prosperity. We don't have to live entirely in the moment, grabbing pleasure only in the now. We can plan for our future. We can plan how to provide for, continue, and expand our pleasure indefinitely. We can plan. Planning doesn't mean we can't have pleasure now. It just means we are conscious of the fact that there is almost certainly going to be a tomorrow and that most of us are very likely to live to see it. We can strive for sustainability. Science, technology, money, motivation, consensus, compassion for our own species, and understanding of our interdependence with nature are all needed to bring about the greatest benefits with the least harm to ourselves and our earth. Let us strive to be happy and prosperous while preserving our earth for our future happiness and prosperity.


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