Friday, June 24, 2011

"Yeah, Well"

It seems that every child has a built in reaction to getting into trouble.  Usually it's "Yeah well, Jimmy made me do it", or "Yeah, well Mary does it".  As adults, we try to teach our children to be responsible for their own actions and often respond "Yeah, well if Jimmy (or Mary) jumped off a bridge, would you?".

Adults will say to their children, "Yeah, well you made the mess, you clean it up".  But our actions don't support our words.  We deny we made the climate mess and blame it on someone or something else.  Sure, as an example, volcanic activity spews greenhouse gasses and particulates into the air.  When the Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajohull erupted, people said to me "Yeah, well there goes all your green efforts", like this one eruption explained the increase in greenhouse gasses for the past century.  Any number of natural phenomena or events will cause an increase or decrease in the natural CO2 level.  But those changes take place over a period of time that allows for the natural dispersion of the greenhouse gasses.  We have concentrated millions of years of this into less than 200 years and the Earth can't keep up.

Earlier this week, I was tasked with bringing disposable cups to a barbeque.  I spent a good deal of time going through the different options and settled on one that, if not reused, was at least recyclable.  Knowing that the waste service where the barbeque was being held didn't accept this type of product for their recycling program, I offered that any cup that was not going to be reused, I would take home and recycle it with my provider.  When I responded to a question as to why, their response was rather unsettling, "Yeah well, I'm not going to be here when it happens anyway, so why should I care".

There are any number of things we can do to fight climate change and we should care.  We did make this mess and we are responsible.  With the youth movements that are currently taking place, I can almost hear them saying "Yeah, well you made this mess and now I have to clean it up".  It's not right.

Just saying...

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