November 6, 2005
Random Thoughts On Reality
By: Rowan Wolf
I was reading the never ending list of bad news about resources, the environment, and global warming, and a thought struck me. "What would it be like to live in a nation that actually acknowledge these were problems? See, I live in the United States, and here there is a 30 year debate about whether any of the critical issues are "real." It creates and interesting and frustrating social environment that has increasingly become an argument focused in "belief" rather than reality. Of course, that is part of a larger agenda, but still it is a day-to-day confrontation.
I have spent all of my adult life struggling with these issues. As I teach, I am confronted more often than one would think possible by "non-believers." They don't believe there is an environmental destruction issue. They don't believe that global warming is happening, and if it is, then humans certainly don't have anything to do with it. They don't believe that oil will ever run out, or if it does we will seamlessly transfer over to some other power source. To support their beliefs, they have the ongoing governmental and corporate denial of the issues. After all, if there was a problem, wouldn't government do something about it?
Of course, many of these people rarely read the news or pick up a newspaper. Not that it would do a whole lot of good if they did. They never look at any news that goes beyond the US corporate media. Anyone who says that these issues are real and need to be addressed has an "agenda" and is "unamerican."
Now there is some food for thought. -saying that environment and resources are a problem is "unamerican." It actually raises some frightening thoughts for me. Thoughts about mind control, blind nationalism, and fascism.
Regardless, that is the nation I live in. It is a nation in denial, knows that it is being lied to, but doesn't want to acknowledge it because that would mean they "hate" the United States. Here we sit in compliant ignorance - the land of the free and home of the brave. Makes one wonder what freedom and bravery mean.
I have lived here all of my life. I have dealt with these issues most of my life. I tried to imagine what it would be like to be some place where folks said "Yes, this is a problem," and "Yes, this is what we are going to do about it." Even though the "plans" by and large are neither adequate or large enough, still there is a plan. My imagination must not work very well, because I can't get to what that would feel like. It is totally outside my experience. Here in the U.S., we huddle together in little groups for moments of sanity where everyone in the discussion acknowledge that there is indeed a problem. We talk about causes, solutions, and social change. Then we go home and the weather service says that the record hurricane season has nothing to do with global warming. Is it any surprise that much of the insulated and isolated population can continue to talk themselves out of seeing what is right in front of their faces?
I do gain hope however, from the fact that those other nations are out there and clearly see what is happening. I gain some hope when students get that "I just understood something" look on their faces because something got past the barrage of "there's no problem." I gained a bit of hope when some folks started selling their gas hogs and buying more fuel efficient vehicles. I gain hope, but the barrage here largely continues. Fuel costs are written off to short term shortfalls. Increases in asthma are caused by ... dust from bed bugs. And, what the hell, the weather is always changing and a good topic of conversation - meaningless and polite.
Posted by Rowan at November 6, 2005 5:01 PM Category: Culture & Ideology