Happy Monday everyone! Today truly is a happy Monday, because today we are celebrating Martin Luther King, Jr. And as we remember him, I’ve been thinking about the state of the planet today. When I think of MLK, Jr. I think of racism, which leads me to think of other injustices and wrongdoings in the world. So another thing I think about is the environment. Here I’ll be throwing around some of the ideas I have on racism, the planet, and general humanity. So we’re going to try to answer one question for every topic: Are we helping? I’ll leave that answer largely to you guys, but I’ll throw in my two cents as well. And I’ll preface with this: I have no profound knowledge in either of these areas, so this post will be largely composed of thoughts and feelings I have that stem from moral standpoints.
Let’s dive right in.
So this past week I went on a cruise. It was fun and I didn’t throw up, which is always a plus. But the whole time, knowing that the state of our planet is fragile, a twinge of guilt hid in the back of my mind. It’s estimated that cruise ships dump a billion gallons of sewage into the ocean every year, and we can only imagine the effects this has on the ecosystem. Driving is another thing that’s blanketed with guilt. Sometimes, after a long day of work, I like to hop in my car and drive for awhile, just to decompress. We all know air pollution is a big deal and that we should only drive if it’s absolutely necessary.
But do we do this?
Of course we don’t. Because the human condition tells us ‘worry about it later’. We’ll fix it later. We’ll start unplugging our electronics later. Tomorrow. There’s a dissonance in the world we live in today. We know the earth is in danger, but we also know that we want to take that few extra minutes in the shower, we don’t have time to run through the house and make sure the lights are turned off, we don’t want to walk down the road, because it’s cold outside. Convenience is everything to us, but it could come at a price. And the planet would be that price.
Recently I read a book called ‘The Sixth Extinction’ by Elizabeth Kolbert. In this book, Kolbert theorizes that the world has had five great extinctions so far: the Ordivician-Silurean (444 million years ago), the Late Devonian (375 million years ago), the Permian (251 million years ago), the Triassic-Jurassic (200 million years ago), and the famed Cretaceous-Tertiary (66 million years ago) which was the extinction of the dinosaurs. So Kolbert gathered all of this information, talked to Biologists across the world, and put together this book, which theorizes that we are in the midst of the sixth mass extinction. When I bought this book, the woman at Barnes and Noble said, “Oh, you don’t want to read this.” Firstly, probably not a good sales tactic. I said “Why wouldn’t I want to read this?” Barnes and Noble saleslady said to me, “You’ll think about it forever. It’ll freak you out.”
This moment is when I realized that we don’t take this seriously because we are afraid of what it could mean. We want to live in denial and be happy! Natural. So I bought the book against Barnes and Noble lady’s will and read it. And she was right. It did freak me out. I think about it all the time. However, it’s given me something else besides fear and a little bit of anxiety. It’s given me hope. Because after a person reads something like this, that tells us we have a 50/50 shot at surviving, a person looks for strings to grasp at. Something that could save us.
So now I realize that people all over the world are taking this very seriously. There are campaigns everywhere and people studying relentlessly to create new technology that will slow (or even possibly reverse) all of the devastating things that are happening to our planet. And some of this stuff is way, way, way cool! It’s exciting! What a time to be alive! If there’s one thing humans are innately wired to do, it’s to survive. And right now, I think we are creating means of survival. That’s pretty exciting. If you want to read about some of the technology that is being created, check it out here or here. There’s some cool stuff.
My question here, as this entry is named, is “are we helping?” Do I believe that we are taking steps to keep our planet alive and breathing? Do you think we’re taking the steps?
I do think we are taking those steps! We’ve got a ways to go but we are starting. And that’s exciting for me.
Just a related thought: I’ve been saying this forever, but I think Detroit is going to bounce back pretty soon here. I’ll say in the next fifty years at least. There’s some neat stuff going on there already. People are trying to build up Detroit’s economy and trade out their failed auto industry for a new environmental industry. I call Detroit becoming the eco-city of America. Calling it right now.
Coming back from my cruise, I noticed that airport security has really been amped up recently. And that makes me really sad. It’s sad to me that we are so paranoid about potential attacks and I’m also worried that people on this planet actually plan these attacks. My aunt texted me about this when she was boarding her plane as well. She said, “I hate what our world has become. It will be up to your generation to help change it! Seriously, hope the pendulum will be swinging a different way soon.” On the flip side of this, I’m sad that racism and fear are such a big part of our culture now. I don’t pretend to have any sort of divine knowledge or wisdom concerning religion or culture or anything like that. But I really do feel in my heart that it’s wrong to hate anyone because of their religion or culture. I really do. I don’t care if you’re a Muslim, a Christian, or a Buddhist. If you’re not an asshole, I’m probably okay with you.
This sort of ‘Muslim Hysteria’ I’m going to call it, is disconcerting and terrifying. It’s terrifying to me that so many good, moral people could turn on a whole demographic because of the actions of a few bad eggs. And I won’t try to convince anyone that their hatred is misguided because I know that the mindset of certain people can’t be changed and I respect that. However, I will point out that we slip religion into any act of terror possible when it comes to Muslims. During the Newtown shooting, nobody felt the need to say, “He’s a Christian! That explains it!” Nobody pointed out the religion of the Colorado Springs shooter, or the recent shooting in Oregon, or the shooting in Ft. Hood that happened in 2009. So why do we feel the need to point out someone’s religion just because they’re a Muslim? All that accomplishes is the perpetuation of the stereotype. So I’ll just let that simmer in your brain.
I’ve been pleasantly surprised when speaking to people my age about these issues. Most people think it’s insane, the way people view other races and will resort to hatred without a second glance. I’ve even known a couple of people to openly scoff at interracial marriages. It’s 2016. Can we move past it? Scientists did a really cool experiment that showed what the average American child will look like in 2050. And guess what? They’re interracial. And gorgeous. You can find that neat little article here.
So the final question here is, “Are we helping?” Do I think the generation of the future is helping to eliminate these stereotypes? I don’t know. I don’t know that there is a whole lot we are doing actively to negate these claims. But I am comforted by the fact that most people my age are generally open-minded and hold a certain amount of disdain for all of the hatred being spewed at different races.
I debated even posting this, mostly due to my minimal knowledge concerning any of it. But I like to think I have a pretty in-tune moral compass, so I’m posting what I’m feeling. And I’d like to see where the rest of you stand here, even and/or especially if your thoughts don’t coincide with mine. I think it would be neat if you all would leave your thoughts in the comments. I’m really interested to see where everyone stands. I’m always open to new insights and knowledge, because as I said earlier, I don’t pretend to have any great insights in this department.
Thanks for reading this week you guys. Hope to hear from you.