Why the green movement is doomed to remain a superficial trend at best
Preserving wilderness means establishing limits. We say, in effect, we will go this far, and no farther, for development. We agree to do without the material resources the wilderness might contain. David Brower was fond of saying in the late 1960s that if stopping dams in the Grand Canyon meant economic sacrifice, then the United States should choose to be that much poorer.
~Wilderness and the American Mind, Fourth Ed. Emphasis mine.
Yes, I know, another Angry Post. I solemnly swear
that I am up to no good that Friday’s post will not be angry.
I touched on this in a round-about way in “Hypocrisy.” I hope I’m wrong. I would love to be proven wrong.
But the green movement is doomed to fail because the majority of Americans are entitled little punks who throw a shitfit worthy of a two-year old if you deny them something. “The customer is always right.” “I’m going to have as many kids as I want even though we have to be on welfare.” The gas price debacle last year…no quote necessary.
Most Americans don’t want to get beyond “10 Easy Steps To Save The Environment!” Hell, my mother didn’t want to recycle until “it becomes as easy as trash is now.” She’s recycling now, and apparently that makes her all environmentally friendly even though she lives in a house only slightly smaller than the state of Nebraska. Now, if you live with four or five other people, a large house is justifiable. But the average American doesn’t need a pickup truck. And my parents don’t need two dining rooms.
What if we arrested development on new land? What if we said “You can’t build a house on a lot that didn’t already have a house on it.” And thus quit allowing people to build McMansions on mountains in Colorado. It would no doubt be repealed quickly.
Now, there are a lot of people out there doing really cool things. Giving up plastic, giving up electricity, going carfree, living out of RVs and tiny houses, renting apartments for life, or living in a loft smaller than my bedroom on top of a mountain completely off the grid making a mere $25 a week stipend. You see a pattern here? Moving beyond the “Ten Simple Things” requires a sacrifice. Put the baby down, it’s not that kind of sacrifice.
Don’t blame it on my generation. This shit started long before Mr. Rogers (supposedly), motivational posters, and special little snowflakes. It was a natural offshoot of the rise of consumer culture. “Sure, you can just ‘see’ the Pokemon, give it back to your friend, and complete your Pokedex that way, but isn’t it better to actually own all
151 251 386 three zillion Pokemans?” Baby steps from share to own to entitled. It’s your god-given right as a ‘Merican to own all bazillion Pokemon and no one should be allowed to stop you.
Newsflash: it’s not. Gas-guzzling cars, McMansions, welfare checks because you fail at birth control. You’re not entitled to any of these.
The only things you require are clean air, clean water, good food, a place to sleep and something to cover yourself with. Everything else is whipped topping.
Until we’re ready and willing, as a country, to make sacrifices, the green movement will be nothing more than a hypocritical trend.