Monday, July 03, 2006

Saving The Planet From Ourselves

I live in one of the last places in the US that still clearcuts entire mountains. This is not the land of selective pruning; this is the land of cut and run greed gone wild. It is profit-taking without concern for the next rainy season when mud will take out at least a few homes as it does every winter. It is a complete and total disregard for any ecological rights their own children and grandchildren might have on this planet. It is the same mentality that destroyed and continues to destroy entire species of plant and animal life in the rain forests so the world can become obese on crappy mystery meat burgers.

When I first moved here several decades ago, fresh, wild salmon was all over the place. Now it is out of reach of most people who cannot pay premium prices for real food and must settle for dyed farm raised trash fish. My once favorite crabbing spot is in the path of the sewage plant's outflowing water. Only a fool or someone new to the area would eat anything from there. Ever more frequent red tides have made me cut down on the amount of fresh clams I used to eat on the beach with my friends. The raspberries taste like pesticides.

Have we lost our frigging minds here? Do we not see what we are doing not only to ourselves, but to the earth that is a legacy in our care for our children and grandchildren? Will they ever be able to forgive us for what we have done with our silence to their planet? Will they accept our excuse that we were too small and weak to fight against those in power whose greed was so monumental it destroyed even our will to fight for our home and theirs?

I remember an argument I had with a man from Germany. He tried to tell me that not everyone supported Hitler, that he was elected because of a very small voter turnout, that people just didn't care, that they were too busy trying to survive to notice one lone madman taking over their country. I remember tearing into him and telling him that by his silence he was complicit in the crimes that happened in his name and those of his countrymen. I was practically in tears as I asked him why didn't he put himself out and save just one person, that surely that was not beyond him if he didn't have the courage or will or desire to speak against the evil growing all around him.

He didn't say anything for several minutes and then he finally responded: "I did save one person with my silence...myself."

Will that be your justification when the last forest is gone, when the air is so polluted that it is not safe for the very old, the very young, the unhealthy to go outdoors at all, when the last drop of oil burns up in the a war machine in yet another war fought for ever dwindling resources?

Or will you find your voice, your will, your vision for a future that belongs to everyone and speak up, make noise, be heard? If you are not the marching kind, then don't go out in the streets. Make a work of art instead. Write a song, make a phone call, send a letter, an email, to the editor, your congressional representatives, your friends, your family. Get involved in saving your planet because no one will do it for you.


After I came home today from camping in a clearcut that was a lush forest last year, I poured my despair into designing some new images for those who can't speak but want to be heard. This is one of them.

Please do check out my other designs with ecological themes devoted to saving our planet. Buy a pack of buttons and hand them out. Wear a t-shirt. Send a card. If you can't speak out, you can at least wear something that speaks for you and for future generations.

Ursine Logic, saving the world from itself one t-shirt at a time


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