Man vs. environment

I’ve been wondering what to write about today, since there are so many things I have opinions on, but three things made me decide to write something along the lines of man vs. environment and weigh in on some of the many hot debates.

The first prompt was a YouTube video Luke (my partner) shared with me. See the link below.

I watched all three and a half minutes of it and this short video just added to my grief about how humans have treated the world around them. It’s an excellent comment on what we’ve done to our surroundings and how, rather than attempt to fit in and find harmony with nature and the world. we’ve bent–and broken–the world and its many environments to fit it to our needs.

And yes, I said grief. I live everyday with a sense of grief because I am part of a race of sentient beings that display totally unsentient behaviours. We have a long history of not thinking ahead and not contemplating the consquences and now we are paying for it. In fact, I think we’ve paid for it all along, but these days as the cancer rates increase, as obesity continues to plague the world in epidemic proportions (according to the WHO), and as the weather continues to rage out of our control, we are feeling the effects of not only our own actions but of our parents’ actions. The exorbitant disease rates, the climate shifts and earthquakes and ‘natural’ disasters…these are results of the shortsightedness of the generations of people that came before us. Not that I am blaming everyone, or even my parents. I’m not blaming. What I am doing is trying to point out that every action has an equal and opposite reaction; so say Newton’s Laws of Motion that we learn in high school.

I am constantly astounded at how many people are still completely unaware of the big picture, and how their ‘little’ actions fit into the big picture. Just because you are one small human doesn’t mean your actions are inconsequential. They all have some sort of consequence. It’s up to you to recognize the consequences of yours.

Below is a link to another great video about how our actions affect the bigger picture. This one is called ‘The Story of Stuff’ and for those of you that haven’t seen it, I hope if nothing else it helps you gain some sort of insight into your part of the global picture.

The Story of Stuff (go to the movies tab and select The Story of Stuff…the link directly to the vid wasn’t working when I wrote this). The vid is really informative while remaining pretty simple and using plain language. Highly recommended.

The Story of Stuff website also has a number of other videos, none of which I’ve watched, but it’s cool and encouraging to see that there is more happening.

The third thing I mentioned that made me think of the ‘man vs. enviroment’ topic was a job posting I found today with the City of Edmonton. It’s for a ‘social marketing program coordinator’ and it sounds like an awesome job. I’m toying with applying myself. What they need, basically, is someone to champion the public transit system in Edmonton and get people interested in it.

Yes, I have a long list of complaints about our transit system, and yes this is a topic I am passionate enough about to have a few rants. But I will spare you those and just say that our transit system will never get better until we begin to use it and until a critical mass of people begin to voice the desire for improvements. The city will address our transit problems much faster if there are more and more voices clamouring for attention about it. The squeaky wheel gets the grease, as they say.

However, I’m encouraged to see the job posting because that means that the city has started the ball rolling. I mean, is anyone else embarrassed that our transit system is not world-class while our promoters try to claim that we are a world-class city? I am embarrassed by the ailing, expensive transit system we have. So let’s make it better! There are cities all over the world that have innovative and amazing and CHEAP public transportation. I haven’t done the math but I’m pretty sure public transportation is still cheaper than owning and driving a car or taking a taxi, and not only are you saving dollars in your pocket. You are taking action in a way that will affect you, your life and the life of the world you live in today, plus the life of your children and their children.

Imagine what would happen if Edmonton became a world leader in public transportation. Considering we have two universities, a number of colleges and a wide variety of innovative minds in the Edmonton community, I feel like we can do better than this.

Since Edmonton and Alberta are in the public eye anyways, why don’t we show the world something great?

Just because we have oil and gas to burn doesn’t mean we have to use it.

Let us be defined in the future not by the way we pillaged our land and polluted our beautiful natural spaces; let us define ourselves now as leaders in sustainability.

We have an obligation to pay some sort of penance for our oil and gas history. We need to find something new to be proud of. I’d say public transportation is a great place to start.

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6 Responses to Man vs. environment

  1. James says:

    Hey Aspen. I’m really liking your new blog – I’ll have to make an effort to follow you as you make new postings. In regards to your thoughts on the environment, I think you should watch Surviving Progress (if you haven’t seen it already). It paints a pretty glum picture of things to come, but it’s an interesting documentary all the same.

    • Aspen Gainer says:

      Hi James, thanks for the encouragement, hope you continue reading! I will check out the doco you’re talking about, sounds interesting.
      What are your thoughts on the whole doomsday thing and doomsday preppers?

  2. Doomsday? You mean what are my thoughts on the environment?

    • Aspen Gainer says:

      You haven’t heard about all the people that believe there is an apocalypse coming, then? That’s what I meant by ‘doomsday’. Google ‘doomsday preppers’. You might find them interesting.

      • Oh. Ha-ha. Methinks I’ll have to look into these doomsday preppers.

        I don’t know. Personally, I think it’s only a matter of time before we run out of non-renewable resources, like oil, gas and coal. Sooner or later, we’re all going to have to switch to using renewable resources, like solar, wind, nuclear, hydrogen and bio-fuels.

        In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if we run out of oil before the end of the century; before I likely die. Of course, this is purely speculation; I haven’t done any research into the matter. When we do run out of oil though, it’s going to be interesting to see what happens to the economy — especially here in Alberta where our economy is fueled by the oil and gas industry.

      • Aspen Gainer says:

        yes. check out the term ‘peak oil’. According to some research, we have already hit peak oil and are approaching the end of the oil economy. it’s a pretty controversial subject.

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