Monday, August 23, 2010

Day 235-Eggs and the North Pole and the end of the world

Dear Mr. President,

As I read about the half-billion eggs being recalled, and the melting pack ice at the North Pole, I'm getting a familiar feeling of panic. "Globally, 2010 is on track to be the warmest year on record." This line from the New York Times piece on the coming effects of climate change has been echoing in my mind since I read it to my roommate this morning. The article isn't even about preventing these disasters but about preparing for them in order to mitigate their destructive capacity. I guess you could say I'm confused. Don't we want to eat eggs without worrying that they have diseases? Don't we want a world that's safe for us and for the next generation? A world where oil doesn't gush into the Gulf of Mexico because of an accident? It seems like these costs of our lifestyles are far worse than the cost of reforming our currents systems to prevent disasters like this. Are we so afraid of the inconveniences of change that we'd rather go down with the ship than save ourselves?

A friend and I were recently talking about our post-apocalypse survival skills. (Jam-making, at least, we've got covered.) He's as committed as I am to decreasing the destructive impact we have on the world, but he's much more resigned to the idea that we're too far lost to avoid the disastrous end we have coming. I don't entirely disagree; if we can't talk people into spending a little more for their food (and consuming a little less of the products with the most harmful production processes) how can we talk them into making the big and society-wide changes that it is going to take to turn things around? Is it even too late to try? I generally don't like giving in to my fears and accepting that we're doomed, but I'm having a difficult time finding hope in our prospects.

Anticipating these apocalyptic fires and floods and droughts doesn't do much more than raise my blood pressure. However, just as I can't stop injustice by hiding from horrible news of it, I'm sure it doesn't do me any good to ignore the possibilities. Reforming our food system, getting the political will for actual clean energy legislation and a widespread alteration in our priorities when making every day decisions might all still save us- but I've just gotten too cynical to believe we can do it. So I'm going to keep trying to be better about my own negative impact on the climate, especially when it comes to the foods I purchase, but I'm also going to keep brushing up on those skills for the apocalypse. After all, I'll probably need more than jam when the times comes.

Respectfully yours,


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