Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Change Your Mind

If you could 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

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It is frightening how some people cannot see past their own two feet.

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!"
lol princess, too funny, and a great example. what do we have to lose by living differently? a great big pile of shit, and that's about it.

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).
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It's funny how environmentalism has become a polarizing point in politics itself. Liberals want to protect the environment almost as a whole. Some conservatives also understand that science is sound--even the cowboy W can't argue with it and stays neutral publicly to not alienate his hardcore supporters (the deluded twenty percent that say "he's doing a fine job") or the people who he knows that cannot be fooled, regardless of how they voted.

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!"
Thought provoking words as ever.
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.
Eric: yeah, weird how environmentalism has become a leftwing thing. like i say in the poem, the environment is us, we are it. it matters to conservatives too, or it should if they want their grandchildren to have any kind of life. i don't think climate change catastrophe is the equivolent of religious armageddon. we've already had the worst hurricane years on record recently. if we don't change the way we live, there won't be us in 200 years.

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.
ps: I've also found cause for inspiration in blogging. I've been so surprised how many random like minds I've found out there. Not that we agree on everything but how many people think, like I do, critically about our culture's assumptions and values and structures and institutions, and seek something better. I didn't go seeking this, not consiously anyway, I kind of stumbled on it. The fact that I can randomly find such people gives me great hope.

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.
This is a great poem, I wish that there were some way to drive things through peoples heads. There are so many people who act like caring makes them a 'wimp' or something. I think that's so wierd!
Toast: ignore the politicians, they're useless if not dangerous. look how they handled the katrina aftermath. kanye west spoke the truth. if it's not global warming it'll be something else, possibly massive food or more likely water shortages, that get us. our way of living is unsustainable, that's reality. but it's not too late to change it either.

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.
Why does this poem make me think of En Vogue and "Free your mind"?

Cuz both rock! And the messege is clear - ppl should broaden their horizon.
CD: love that song, claaaasic. free your mind and the rest will follow. yes, they were more succinct.
Many people who don't care about the environment just want to live their lives without being upset about something all the time. They have noticed that there is always something they are being told to care about. So they figure that since there is always something for them to be potentially upset about, they should not be upset about anything.

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.)
Yes, I wouldn't cal it a religious Armageddon, but it is an end to the world as we know it.

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.
Maybe my words conveyed my feelings. I too am an optimist that the small man can make more of a difference than the big organisations including governments. The little man speaks out and can achieve so much. It is always so cheering when a news item applauds the success of the individual and there are so many examples all over this country. if the bigger organistaions got their act together rather than just superficially it is mind blowing what could be acheived. I too find that blogging gives a space for the sharing of ideas and thoughts with inspirational creative thinkers.
TR: what those people are perhaps missing is that not caring about the environment is not caring about themselves.

'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.]
Eric: I don't blame people from turning off the news. It's designed to entertain and most of the time it just depresses. Informing people has nothing to do with the news and vice versa.

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.
Kissa: absolutely, there are great pockets of inspiration. There are a few big companies that are changing their thinking and thus their way of doing business too, like Interface, a big carpet manufacturer, which inspired Dupont to follow suit.
Certainly cars are a huge problem.

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.
Eric: agreed. it goes to what I was saying about us conceptualizing environment as a separate thing from us, when it's not. hurting our habitat hurts us, and it shows in our modern health problems. cancer, for example, is a one hundred percent environmental disease - researchers have yet to find any genetic links to cancer.
A strong piece that can change many minds...

And invite a lot of discourse.
Thanks Butterfly, I hope you're right about that. Thanks for coming by.
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