The kids and I went to see "An Inconvenient Truth" a week and a half ago, when it opened in Portland. I was amazed, first of all, that this movie-cized lecture held my kids' attention, and they really liked it. On one hand, we all really liked the movie and felt it brought out many very good points. But when it finished, especially while the credits were rolling and they had suggestions for how to reduce carbon dioxide in the environment like "ride your bike", I just felt like this thing didn't go nearly far enough. I suppose that for getting the word out that, indeed, global warming is really happening, here's the proof, it was a good thing. It's being shown in mainstream theaters, rather than indies like I've been frequenting (and indeed, I felt dirtied by the awful advertising before the movie) in order to get out the word to the mainstream America.
But I have to wonder if it'll prove to do more harm than good.
Because I don't believe this is something we can "fix" and go about our lives as usual.
Ever since I read the book _Ishmael_, and then _My Ishmael_, both by Daniel Quinn, I've seen things in a whole different way. I have to say that these are the most influential books I've read in my life. Not the Bible, though perhaps since I've grown up always hearing the Bible it's just part of the fabric of my life. These are books that address the myth that we're taught from childhood about our culture and civilization. What myth? You'll have to read the books to find out, because I cannot explain it anywhere near as well as Daniel Quinn.
I find myself at kind of a weird juncture in my thinking on the environment. I was just listening to NPR while kneading bread dough, and there was a story about an oyster farm in Alaska. They were talking about a bacteria normally only found far south of Alaska, so far south that the oyster farmers had never heard of it. But last year this bacteria was found to be the cause of lots of people getting sick, from eating oysters from Alaska that were tainted with it. How did the bacteria get into the oysters from Alaska? From the water warming--imperceptible unless you're measuring it and charting it. Global warming at work.
So, the weird juncture is the two different thought patterns in my head. One is the bent I have to try to help people so that we all can live a better life. Get rid of poverty, level the playing field. The other thought pattern is to think, perhaps global warming is just the earth's way of purging itself, killing off a good portion of human population, so that it can heal itself and start off fresh. If the civilizations of the world were devastated, global warming would certainly taper off and begin to right itself. We wouldn't have the infrastructure anymore to continue living the way we do now, and we'd be forced to live more simply. More hand-to-mouth. Maybe that would be a good thing. But it sure would be painful, on a world-wide level.
I suppose where my two diverging thought patterns converge is the thought that we can either change how we live ourselves, or it will be done for us. It's up to us to choose.
I see more and more how environment and human rights issues are all connected. How we can't just fix one small thing, or it'll just go right back to how it was before. This calls for a complete overhaul on the way we look at the world and ourselves.
Ah, if I could just get everyone to read one book, it'd be _Ishmael_!