Sunday, November 16, 2008

Reader Post: If You Believe in Obama

The following blog post was written just before the election, but is being posted now.  It has some wise words from someone who studies the history of the Earth and its creatures for a living, but lives and loves amongst as humans.  *Click here* to read the last post written by this author for Obama IS America!.  

Before continuing on to Jingmai's post, please watch the following video called 'George Washington' for some creative perspective into this great American figure.

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If You Believe in Obama

By Jingmai 

You see it around you, the political fervor, the electric excitement in the air, the green energy billboards, the MOVEMENT that is underfoot. You can CHOOSE who you vote for, you can choose to be part of this movement. But we are all part of a SHIFT whether we choose or not. The earth is always changing as a result of the dynamic processes that cause plate tectonics, which drives weather and global currents with will affect temperature all of which will affect anything living in the organic scum that coats the lithosphere: the biosphere.

      Over geologic time there have been new continents formed and broken, the magnetic field has flipped its polarity hundreds of times, we have gone in and out of green and ice house worlds, and there has been the rise and demise of billions of species. Life began, and this is debated, 1.8 billion years ago… but lets begin with the Cambrian explosion 542 million years ago (Ma), and the evolution of macroscopic hard-shell excreting life. Since this evolutionary ‘event’ there have been five Mass Extinctions in which up to 80% of all life was lost (in the largest being the end-Permian). This is of course, dealing with macroscopic life for which we have a rough idea of diversity; bacteria diversity etc is poorly understood by humans.

      Each Mass Extinction (ME) has been different, varying in cause and effect, severity,  and duration. Typically, ME’s occur slowly in human time, over thousands to one or two million years, and the biosphere averages 5 million years to return to pre-extinction diversity levels.

      Mass extinctions are easy to see when they occurred 300 Ma. You see a rock layer chock full of animals and life and then a few meters up section there is no life. And then small amounts of simple life start to appear until rocks dated 5 million years after the extinction horizon show full, diverse, balanced ecosystems again, just not necessarily with the same components present pre-extinction.

      We are living in an unbalanced ecosystem. We have seen the extinction of a number of species in our lifetime, but what people often forget is that a major extinction occurred at the end of the last ice age only 10,000 years ago. Its cause, though debated, was human (climate change having occurred rapidly prior to this extinction with no effect). There recently existed a huge diversity of megafauna animals including the wooly mammoths, giant ground sloths, and strange armored cow-like animals, the glyptodonts.

      Within recorded history, humans have wiped out such animals as the Tasmanian lion and stool pigeon completely, destroyed the massive herds of north American buffalo, and in our lives, we’ve seen every cool animal put on the endangered species list. What is my point? My point is that whether we want to do something about this environmental crisis or not, its HAPPENING and we are left with two choices: let it happen, consume and consume and consume until the earth withers and a massive climate change gets kicked into gear because of our release of massive amounts of CO2 etc, we go extinct along with everything else that is highly specialized (there will still be rats around probably… and cockroaches. Maybe raccoons, they’re pretty generalist) and in 5 million years its all good in the hood again. Just different. Or we could open our eyes the affects we have on the earth, and CHOOSE not to let it just happen. We can choose to live responsibly on this earth, to use the mental capacities we evolved to see beyond the immediate satisfaction of watching a movie or buying another pair of shoes.

      Wolves were early placed on the endangered species list; human infringement into their habitat resulted in human offense towards their presence and the subsequent mass slaughter of wolves upon sight. They were almost lost but more recently, were taken off the list after extensive human effort; a year later they had to be put back on due to over hunting. A YEAR later.

      So yes humanitarians, there is room for policy making. Most people lack the strength to take responsibility for their actions and hide behind a guise of ignorance. So the solution really is better education. Which will be a major part of said policy making, I hope.

      You might say that my rant is over; ok, people are dumb, we’ll fix it. Well, I don’t know about you, but as a rugged individualistic American, I take personal offense to policy making; it should be my choice to die by car if I CHOOSE to not wear a seat-belt, a law designed for safety. But where do you draw the line? What group of humans will you consider the majority and what will you do with the freedoms of those not consistent with the larger number? So I oppose excess policy making; I also feel this is justified because what needs to be done to shave the world, does not require policy. It requires personal change. It requires everyone to look at the person in the mirror and to choose to take responsibility for everything that person does, whether it was the baby seal that got clubbed to make way for an oil pipeline in Alaska so you could drive a big American car, or the gallon of water you wasted while you let the water run as you brushed your teeth. And all the baby seals that die because you wasted that water. 

      So if you have hope for a better world, here are a few (more important) things you can do IN ADDITION to voting: 

  • Turn off the shower while you soap up; there are eco flow showerheads that make it easy to pause the flow of water. You can take it further and, if you must further a pointless hair removal industry, shave your legs/back with a bucket of water (collected from your shower!).
  • Don’t use plastic water bottles; their production and the recycling of produce pollution and use energy, they aren’t good for you! Plus, the large percentage that ends up in the landfill contributes to that problem.
  • In fact, don’t buy anything with disposable packaging (especially Styrofoam)… this is hard but even recycling is bad for the environment. And worse, recycling makes you feel like you just shaved a whale and thus detracts from…
  • The all important REDUCING and REUSING; if you don’t need it, don’t buy it. I know it sucks but imagine if everyone on this planet had what you have. That would be a nice world, right? Maybe free of war? Well, actually that world cannot exist because the American living standard is too high and the world is too over-populated. So if you don’t want to kill retarded babies or grandma… stop wasting.
  • Don’t have a lawn or a pool (especially in a desert!!!!)
  • Carpool
  • Don’t flush the toilet every time you use it
  • Take quicker showers
  • Bicycle if you can
  • Don’t leave the lights or anything electrical on when you’re not using it
  • Don’t support unnecessary industry; not only do these industries (that make things like barbies or spinnin’ rims) only consume resources and produce pollution. And increase the gap between the rich and the poor.
  • Don’t eat large quantities of meat (there is a huge environmental impact of raising cattle including the pollution of ground water in addition to the fact it takes more land to raise cattle for food than it does to just raise grains… and there are going to be food wars soon, just you wait).
  • Don’t waste food or take your own non-plastic to-go container when you go out to eat

Ok, so everything I listed just felt like what I was taught in 3rd grade. And in fact, we all were taught this in third grade so why do these problems persist? The sad fact is, a selfish life of disregard for such simple changes is much easier and sadly more fun. But if you want to really make a change on this planet, this is the way to do it. And vote for Obama.

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