Earth Day Every Day

Token greenwashing actions won't save us

| April 25, 2012
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I find myself feeling a growing sense of unease as we pass the 43rd Earth Day—unease at how we tend to greenwash our daily lives and pat ourselves on the back for all that we are doing to "save" the earth, which sustains all our lives, through consuming. Some drive a Prius and buy organic, perhaps, but underneath it all, we are still primarily consumers. We leave in our wake auto and airplane exhaust, and we leave landfills filled with the remains of our ever-hungry consuming lifestyles.

I feel unease at fresh, highly radioactive fuel rods, hanging precariously a hundred feet in the air at Fukushima like a nuclear sword of Damocles, ready to tumble at a 6.0-plus earthquake, unleashing 40 Chernobyls on the world. All other issues on the globe at this moment should be taking the back seat. Why are we not mobilizing globally? Are we that far gone in denial, comfort or in being overwhelmed? Are celebrated events more newsworthy and important, such as "How's their hair look?"

I feel unease at how we allow endless wars and homeland insecurity to be our normal everyday "values," while we continue on in apathy, ignorance and a way of life that reduces every living thing to a dollar value to be exploited for profit.

I feel unease at how little heart or action most of us put into ensuring a healthy future for all life, including our own.

The commons of nature do not belong to us, unless you consider "ownership" to be the destruction of natural systems. What we appear to value, support and propagate is war and profiteering at the expense of nature.

So, happy Earth Day 2012! How did you come to be where you are, today, right now? After you pat yourself on the back, perhaps give an honest look at how you lived yesterday, last week, last year. How are you going to live tomorrow?

The future is being created now, through our actions and our inactions. We all know what the stakes are. Are we willing to make sacrifices to our consuming comfort, and actually change our world?

Sierra Salin lives in Fairfax.Open Mic is a weekly feature in the Bohemian. To have your topical essay of 350 words considered for publication, write openmic@bohemian.com.

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