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Tag: environmentally sustainable

This Muhammad Ali quote says, "Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth."

What are our priorities?

I think we all understand that life will change after the pandemic, but what are our priorities? What guiding principles will light our way and inform those changes? In the face of glaring inequities revealed by the crisis, I worry about this.

Perhaps I should explain where I stand. I believe that the proper role of government is to defend and work for its citizensAll of them, not just the rich and powerful. This idealistic view parallels passages in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, or, at least it does the way I was taught to read them.

Unfortunately, what we see unfolding in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic all too often reflects different priorities.

Priorities revealed

It’s a truism that we don’t really know what we’re made of till we’re tested. 

This quote from Warren W. Wiersbe reads, "After all, a crisis doesn't make a person; it reveals what a person is made of."
Many thanks to QuoteFancy, for this quote from Warren W. Wiersbe.

For every prediction that smart investors should migrate to renewable energy, there also seems to be a view to the contrary that “We can no longer indulge the impulses of “environmental” activists. Sanitary plastic grocery bags are safer than reusables. Mass transit and densely-packed cities spread infections. Automobiles and suburban/rural living are healthier,” as Jerry Shenk put it recently.

Other decision-making whipsaws reflect just as little consensus. Whose priorities should we value? Whose should we reject as unworthy? 

Varied views of future outcomes

I’ve read interesting stories about wildlife venturing into areas where traffic has dropped off. Others about historically clean air in places where traffic has dropped off. And one about ways to make cities more walking friendly and keep car traffic at lower levels after the pandemic (see a trend, there?).

I’ve seen several articles about ordinary people’s decimated savings. Others explore the disastrous effect of recent public policies. And a flood of new ways for creative people to grow their businesses continues as people discover new and old techniques. 

Not only that, but there are predictions about ways our minds will change about things such as social distancingwork from homechild care, and universal health care. I’ve also read more cynical predictions about how some will spin retrospectives to skew perceptions if possible.

This quote from James Baldwin says, "Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced."
Many thanks to Goalcast, for this quote from James Baldwin.

Our decisions reveal our priorities

Most of my fellow countrymen/women are pretty decent folks, as individuals. We’ve seen gallant examples of selflessnessself-sacrifice, and public spirit as this pandemic rolls out. These warm my heart and give me hope.

Some of my most-accessed blog posts in recent weeks have been those about ways to thank first responders, and how to understand and respond to their stress.

Many Americans–many people all over the world–understand the deep things. The value of honest work, the worth of a thank-you, the joy of praising admirable deeds.

This Muhammad Ali quote says, "Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth."
Many thanks to Discover Corps for this quote from Muhammad Ali.

But we’ve also seen a different spirit. 

It reveals itself in the unseemly scramble of large, publicly-traded companies grabbing up vast sums of money meant to go to small businesses struggling to stay afloat. The rules allowed it, so they grabbed. Some of them gave it back once they were caught. 

We’ve also seen banks garnish stimulus money from overdrawn customers, pre-empting what was meant to be grocery and rent money from ever reaching the desperate would-be recipients.

And we’ve seen crowds of closely-packed protestors, mostly white folk with guns, demanding that the lockdowns be ended immediately so they can get haircuts, among other things. They claim a constitutional right to liberty, plus economic insecurity, drives them. Although other motives have been noted.

What are our priorities? 

Now is the moment for us to decide. Are things more important than people?

Is our convenience more important than other people’s lives? Do we even have the right to make the decision that it is?

Who gets to decide how many deaths are “acceptable losses”–and, acceptable to exactly whom?

Do we live in a country that is of, by, and most especially for the people? All of the people? And, for this question’s purposes, corporations are not people, my friend. 

This quote from Mahatma Gandhi says, "The true measure of any society can be found in how it treats its most vulnerable members."

I very much worry how history will evaluate our true measure, based on how we order our priorities today.

How do you think we should form–and inform–the priorities that will guide us into the future? What are you doing to join that conversation?


Many thanks to QuoteFancy, for the Warren W. Wiersbe quote; to GoalCast, for the quote from James Baldwin; to DiscoverCorps, for the quote from Muhammad Ali; and to AZ Quotes, for the Mahatma Gandhi quote. I appreciate you all!

This image is part of a globe with the words "Earth Day."

Are we paying attention yet?

The Artdog Quote of the Week

We’re heading into the Final Decade (or less) of last-minute chances to pull ourselves out of the (literal) fire. I hope we’ll all take this idea that Every day needs to be Earth Day more to heart. The evidence is all around us, and too many of our fellow Earthlings are still in denial.

This image shows a pretty drawing of a beautiful green and blue globe, surrounded by the words, "Make every day Earth Day."

Investing in . . . WHAT?

The Artdog Quote of the Week

This image has white letters reversed out of a purple background. It says, "An investment isn't an investment if it destroys our planet." The words are from Phil Harding.

IMAGE: Many thanks to Phil Harding, an environmentally progressive influencer, for this quote graphic.

Needs, yes. Greed? Not so much.

The Artdog Quote of the Week

Several posts this month have obliquely referenced the difference between need and wildest “want.” as it applies to the use of resources. From the very first post through discussions of respect for the original (animal and plant) inhabitants of an ecosystem, habitat encroachment, the role of corporations, and all the way through sustainable protein, this blogger has explored a range of eco-centric questions that weigh upon the fate of life on Earth–and beyond.

We only have one Earth, so far. Let us not exceed its capacity, until we have the capability to live beyond this sphere!

IMAGE: Many thanks to Seeking Answers from April 2013, via Green Heart at Work, for this image and quote from Mahatma Gandhi.


The Artdog Quote of the Week 

No long essay, today: It seems to me that this one speaks for itself, especially on the day after Earth Day.

IMAGE: Many thanks to Green Heart at Work for this image.

When going greener makes economic sense

Last week’s mid-week post discussed one of the major ways we humans intersect with nature: habitat encroachment. Today I’d like to look at a more positive form of interaction–and weirdly enough, this one involves big business.

This cartoon aptly sums up the attitude of the vast majority of the business world–in the past, and unfortunately all too much still today. Small signs of change should not be mistaken for a reason to be complacent. Cartoon created by Mike Adams; art by Dan Berger. Used courtesy of NaturalNews.

I know. Big business is so often portrayed as “the enemy,” in all kinds of contextsunfortunately, with good reason. Let’s face it, unregulated capitalism has historically been unkind to humansanimals, and nature in general.

One has only to consider the Singer Tract, and the egregious role of Chicago Mill and Lumber in the story of the Ivory-billed Woodpecker, or remember the sorry history of the Love Canal, to find all-too-common examples of uncaring capitalism in some of its uglier manifestations.

Non-corporate people can be forgiven for thinking of corporate decision-makers as faceless, greed-driven capitalists, because that’s all too often how they come across. But some decision-makers are beginning to wake up to the realities of sustainability. We need to find ways to encourage more of that! Big business is a part of the picture that isn’t going away!

Whether you believe that “corporations are people” or not–they are run by people. And those people are free to follow more or less ethical courses of action, depending on their mindsets, beliefs, and experiences.

There’s growing evidence that at least some large businesses have begun to genuinely consider environmentally-positive practicesThere are a variety of reasons for thisnot the least of which is public relationsThere also has been a recent trend toward investor divestment from companies perceived as environmentally unsustainableespecially in the case of “factory farms.” Another good reason is the extremely pragmatic reality that energy-efficiency saves moneylots of it (gosh, who’d have imagined that?).

A serious installation of solar panels–on a Walmart? Actually, yes.

Take that persistent favorite for the role of corporate villain, Walmart. This company is unfortunately renowned for paying their employees so little they have to go on public assistance to make ends meet and bankrupting small-town business competitors by undercutting their prices (an effect documented for years–and more recently in cities, too). But it’s also spent the past decade-plus seeking ways to run its business in more sustainable ways.

Please don’t make the mistake of thinking this means Wamart should be let off the hook. The company still has a long way to go before it comes close to full sustainability, but do not ignore the fact that a large, often-unconcerned business is even talking about these issues at allThat counts as progress, even while we wish it extended farther.

Corporate participation in organizations such as the Forest Stewardship Council, the Rainforest Alliance, or Earthwatch Institute offer examples of ways that corporations can support sustainability efforts. Indeed, as the Environmental Defense Council notespartnerships with corporations, business groups, and governmental agencies present an indispensable part of building solutions for a better future.

There is no road to sustainability without involving all the parties with stakes in the game. Corporations are not going away; moreover, they have a great many resources to employ when they get onboard for sustainability.

The one thing we most urgently need to learn from the recent trends of growing divisiveness in politics, it is that when everybody hates everybody else, NOTHING gets done. It may be convenient or even comfortable for environmentally concerned people to think that large corporations bring only environmentally bad options into play–but that’s not necessarily true. And as more and more environmental action groups and individual businesses have discoveredleaving industry out of the conversation on sustainability is both unwise and ultimately . . . unsustainable.

IMAGES: Many thanks to NaturalNews, Mike Adams, and Dan Berger for their right-on sendup of all too many business attitudes; to istockphoto, via Rita Trehan, for the “corporate decision-makers” illustration; to Walmart, for the photo of solar panels on one of its stores (which one was not specified); and to Giving Compass, for the “sustainable development” illustration. I greatly appreciate all!

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