Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Change Your Mind
you could change the way you live
You say I make a difference
but the pay is shit
If only I could show you
the way I live
you might change your mind
and change the way you live
You squashed a spider
smiled and apologized
for inflicting such cruelty
on my environmentalist eyes
'It's ok to make your space,' I said
'it's the 200 species we wiped out today,
those losses are what really hurt'
You shrug as if these 200 species aren't you
If you could change your mind
there'd be some kinda reason to hope
If you could dream other ways to live
If you could see the beautiful imperfection
of we human things and our potential
to end cynicism about our own nature
If you could let go of that excuse and innovate
With your talent paradise might welcome us home
If we could change our minds
we could leave this destructive way behind
We could change the way we live
We could give back to the gods
what is rightfully theirs
We could forge a new path
following the curve of the earth
If you could change your mind
Reminds me of some of the debates I've had over global warming. I don't get how people are so fixated on criticizing the science behind it (which is undoubtedly better than the science against it, but that's a whole other story)- aren't the consequences a million times worse if we act like it's not happening and it is? Is it such a big deal if we all start trying to make a difference, and it isn't true?
"Oh no, we reduced our emissions for no good reason! There is no other potential benefit of this!"
this one was inspired by daniel quinn's recent book, 'if they give you lined paper write sideways', and by my recent uni reunion, during which i was called inspirational but didn't see much aspiration for change. it's frustrating because it's not like i'm so accomplished, i just made different choices. but it's never too late to change (even in the last minute, as eric recently pointed out).
But AM radio idiots who are conservative by and large--namely Rush Limbaugh--say that environmentalism is a 'cult'. That it is a superstitious belief that the liberals have replaced Christianity with. He compares catastrophe caused by global warming with Armageddon.
And actually, that part is true.
Still, there are people who parrot his every word. It's disgusting how much like sheep so many people are. I'm just waiting to hear:
"Four legs good ! Two legs Ba-a-ad!"
Appreciate the poignancy of the message but and this is a big BUT there is no one listening. Well a few of us maybe but we are already aware and frightened at what is happening. Is is too late to change? The individual tries to change but then is dispirited by the immensity of the task.
Kissa: I used to think that too, but recently I've become more optimistic. People are listening and acting. Big Giant Governments aren't, but that doesn't matter. Politicians are always the last to catch or do anything, that's in the nature of the electoral system. Small businesses are acting, municipalities are acting, individuals are acting. Perhaps some become dispirited, but most I know who have tried become inspired and are surprised how easy it is, and how rewarding, to live differently.
I think activists waste too much time on governments, which are mostly useless things. And we tend to be too negative in our approach. Instead of showing people what is possible we harp on the problems.
Personally, I love my life. The choices I made that I thought I was making for the world have pleased me the most on a personal level. That's what I would like to somehow show people.
I am often sceptical about the whole global warming issue. What worries me, like so many other issues, is that the real message is being clouded by politial agendas, so instead of people taking on board what is being said, they dismiss it as another bone for party leaders to fight over.
I agree with what princess said about emissions.
BBE: agreed. if only steve mcqueen was here to speak out about this stuff. james dean, he cared. and those guys weren't wimps, nosir. anyway, the more i think about it the more i think people need inspiration more than anything - positive examples. and i came across a great attempt at this. see http://www.thegeographyofhope.com/ by Chris Turner. again, it's climate change focused, but has nothing to do with kyoto, and really one could do the same sort of thing with any issue of concern.
Cuz both rock! And the messege is clear - ppl should broaden their horizon.
And so they get defensive when people start calling them nasty names, simply because all they want is a simple life.
(Or they have something to be upset about, and it just happens to be a different thing.)
If what is said about the ice caps melting is true, judgment day for coastal reogions is upon us. New York, New Orleans and much of Florida--that's just here in the US. Every place on the planet near the ocean will have to deal with the consquences.
But as said above, it has become so politicized that one wonders to the extent of immediate dangers faced. US poloticians blame cars above all else, and yet I have read many times that buildings are the biggest agents of environmental damage. The facts get lost in the passion and the spinning.
As well as the fact that there happens to be a lot of things in the world to depress people. I know folks that have cut news broadcasts right out of their TV viewing. Plenty of people likewise don't want to hear that they are or may be responsible for a coming environmental catastrophe.
Well, if a poem's job is to get people to think, this one is a top producer.
'The Environment'is a funny term, it externalizes our habitat from ourselves, creates 'us' and 'nature', two separate things, and that makes some of us want to keep nature at bay, and others of us want to go 'back to nature'.
when in fact, we are nature. nature is us.
in living this 'simple life' with ample high-tech complex manufactured products we don't even know how to fix or maintain, we create extremely complex problems that are difficult to understand, like climate change, like oppression, like racism. and if we cling to that 'simplicity', we're fucked.
so i'm not trying to make people feel bad, i'm trying to awaken people to other possibilities. i'm actually pretty optimistic that we'll find better ways to live, but that has to start with changed minds.
as dennis miller said, that's just my opinion...[you know the rest.]
As for climate change, politicians have confused what is, scientifically, not even that complicated. Science dorks are almost universally agreed that it's happening and it's largely human-caused. And, as PP pointed out with beautiful sarcasm, reducing emissions is something we should do anyway. Not sure about buildings, but cars in urban centres are the main contributors to smog. Personal observation: without failure, in every city I've been, the more cars, the more smog.
Your point about people not wanting to hear that they are responsible for bad things to come is prescient. We have so much vested in the way we live; we think it's the way humanity was meant to live, forget that humanity lived in totally different ways for our first 3 million years, we just can't accept that this way is causing serious problems for us.
I should have been more clear. I thought I was. But one rarely hears from the media about the steady levels of pollutants pumped out twenty four seven by our air conditioners and furnaces, at least not any where near as much as we hear about cars.
The study I was reading is European, where there are less cars per population unit, so that may be why they listed buildings as a number one polluter.
But if one lives in LA, NYC, Chicago or Denver, it's a different story. Or in Detroit, where there is no public transportation besides the bus (and very few will brave the bus in the D, buses roll around largely empty due to crime) and only a scant few trains, then yes it is cars.
If the naysayers don't like hearing about damage to the environment, then perhaps they should be reminded about what is causing their smoker's cough, especially when they don't smoke.