Please stop saving the earth!

  • Posted in Default
  • By admin
  • Date February 13th, 2011 09:37
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  • We’re all familiar with the slogans encouraging us to change the way we do certain things in order to “save the planet”. Dispose your non-degradable and non-recyclable paper coffee cup in a trash can and “the earth will say thank you”. Carry your cloth shopping bag around and “help the environment”. Even if the aim here is simply to build awareness, it just doesn’t do anything for the earth. None of our these eco actions do. Don’t get me wrong; I’m committed to living a sustainable life. But to market or believe that we do this to save our planet? We cannot. Saying, or even thinking, the green design movement is about saving the planet bothers me for two reasons: one, because it’s not true, and two, because it makes us do these things for all the wrong reasons. Recycling paper or glass, solar or wind power, composting or bio-harvesting, eco-designing green buildings or green packaging, offsetting carbon footprints or promoting carbon financing: the earth couldn’t care less! Making all these green choices is not about saving the planet; it’s about saving ourselves. Mother Earth will be just fine without us. Need proof? Turn the clock back a few hundred years. What’s the worst that could happen should we decide to not turn those lights off, not to insulate, not to recycle, use CFLs, not compost, or not make any other effort to go green? The worst that could happen is the demise of human civilization. That the environment is no longer supportive for us humans to be living here. Too bad for us, but good news for the planet. We have been seriously messing with the balance of things ever since the Industrial Revolution, but if it all human activity were to stop tomorrow, within a few decades, things will be restored. The earth will keep spinning along, whether the atmosphere is to ‘globally warm’ for us or not. We act and the planet/environment responds. Acid rain, unbreathable air, toxic drinking water, increased dessert areas, dead zones in our oceans, melting glaciers, climate change—that’s nature responding to our acts. But we are not killing the planet by this; we’re killing ourselves. The earth is adjusting to us. It is finding a way to deal with what we do to it, and move on. We’re not able to follow suit here, feel stuck, and cry out. This planet does not need us to get saved; we need this planet to save us. We exist only by the grace of an infinitely finely-tuned living organism called the earth. We don’t run this organism, we’re not in charge of it, we’re not even its guardians. It’s the other way around: it’s in charge of us and is our guardian. Mess with it in a serious way, and it returns the favor = it messes with us. Is that not a scary enough thought to re-focus on how stuff is made and designed? For me it sure is. Instead of fighting nature, we should instead fight human nature, and recognize our place and role on this planet. So please, stop saving the earth. Save us instead.
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