Are you doing your part in la la land?

4 04 2008

It seems more and more of us are living in la la land. Yep, that oh so politically correct world which seems to ooze out of that far left coast via a gullible liberal media. That weird world where we can point the finger at everyone else for all the things we think are wrong with the world, and at the same time pat ourselves on the back and brag how we’re trying to “save the world” from people…LIKE US!

 It slaps you almost every time you open the paper or turn on the TV. Pollution, global warming, extinction, the hole in the ozone layer. SUV’s, scrap computers, smog, overpopulation, the list can go on and on. Issues, issues, issues. Almost like pets, it seems everybody has one, and the vast majority of them are a load of bull. Well, at least in how we approach them.

Thankfully, a lot of these things die, dry, and blow away on their own. You probably remember some of them – We were all going to die from disasters caused by nuclear power plants.  Microwaves would kill us all. Pesticides would wreck the environment. Huge, unstoppable insect’s would eat us all. At least those spared the AID’s epidemic. Each  grew from a grain of possibility, in a world where anything’s possible I’d suppose. Surly, we need to do what we can to help fight the evils of the world, but if we, right here in America, think that we are the cause and cure for all the problems the world face, we’ll, we’re living in la la land.

One of my favorite myths that float around nowadays is how SUV’s are wrecking the environment with pollution and wasting our precious natural resources. Well, they do use more ‘stuff’ to build and take up more ‘space’, and they do use more gas to operate; all grains of truth. But how much truth, is truth? They are big, but then again, they contain more recyclable material from which there mostly made. They do use more gas than a small car, but far less gas than the average car did just a few years ago.  They pollute way less than your average car did just a few years ago, too. And there are a bunch of engineers working hard to see that they’re more and more energy efficient and pollute even less.  The size is really a psyche issue  isn’t it? A lot of people think big is better. And a lot more safe and comfortable. But a lot of people are intimidated by size. Complain all you want about seeing a big vehicle with only one are two people in them, but if someone only needs to seat  6, 7 or 8 people only once a week, or once a month,…well, what are they going to do, rent one? Well, I guess they could… or buy a mini van, but they can be just as big as a small SUV. Are they as safe?  The safety factor is important to many. They’ll pull a camper or boat a lot better than say, a Mini Cooper. Anyway, if all cars got from 50 to 100 mpg, wouldn’t those that only got 50 soon be considered wasteful? Yep, they would. By the way, did you know that the world stockpile reserve of oil is higher than it has ever been? Saudi Arabia said only a few months ago that it had to cut production because it couldn’t sell what it was producing.

Another myth is global warming. Well, at least the part about US being the cause, anyway. We pollute less now than we ever have, even though our manufacturing capacity has hugely expanded. We drive more, but our cars are more environmentally friendly than ever. Our power production facilities run cleaner by far than ever. We vastly limit the use of everything from pesticides to PCB’s, lead, mercury. We scrub our coal. We recycle paper, glass, aluminum and steel. Large amounts of everyday items are now bio-degradable. We limit the amount of water it takes to flush a toilet, and re-forest vast tracts. We’ve more woodland now than when the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock. We’ve cleaned rivers and streams and concerned ourselves with secondhand smoke and  other things in the air we breathe. Remember CFC’s!?! But instead of taking pride in the great accomplishments in the strides we’ve made we point fingers and accuse each other of creating a great catastrophe.  Sure, we can do better. We will do better. We’re doing better every day.

While we can and should try to do even more, we have to keep our economy strong, inventing and producing, building our, and the worlds, wants and needs. Feeding the world. Meanwhile the South American, African, and Asian rainforests continue to disappear. Third World water runs with sewage though open waste dumps to the sea. Porta Vallarta is a beautiful city. I remember the sky there was yellow. Many countries produce nothing but babies. And virus and disease. And bloodshed. Mostly criticizing us with their hand out.

Huge amounts of people in vastly populous countries use neither electricity nor clean burning natural gas to cook and heat their homes, but coal and wood, or animal dung. Millions of pumps pushing columns of carbon into the atmosphere. Hillsides scoured of wood for burning slough there soil into streams. Huge mounds of trash rise into the air providing places for vermin to breed and the poor to pick through. Recycling meant there to pile pallets, cardboard, and tin into houses for the otherwise homeless.  At the same time we picket the products of the so called sweatshop, not thinking about the alternative being starvation. And we keep thinking that “for just pennies a day…”, pennies that somebody pays, because we contribute huge amounts of money to those charities. We complain about  the starving masses and wonder why somebody isn’t doing something, then bitch about the amount our government spends in foreign aid. And we point the finger right back at ourselves and say its our fault for the condition of the world? La la land.

Just like its easy to criticize sweatshops without realizing the benefits they do provide its easy to criticize our selves or our government without realizing the good it has done, and is doing. And the fine line between what sounds and looks good and what reality is. Things like the Kyoto Agreement may sound good on one hand, but if it stifles invention of better and more efficient technology and hardware, or limits our ability to feed starving people, or punishes us because of our great capacity to produce, is it really beneficial? No. Breakthroughs come from minds that are challenged by a need, not from coercion. Mandates tend to limit. Rewards tend to attract actions. Time frames are only good when composed of real accomplishment and not  just so much hot air. We went to the moon in ten years.  We didn’t have to, we wanted to! Necessity isn’t really the mother of invention, dreams are. People need reasons to dream. And goals to reach. You tell everybody they can’t drive a big cars who will care about making  cars more efficient? You let’em drive what they want and efficiency will become a feature for its purchase, if the need is real. Selling points are mighty good motivators. Where do you think composites came from? A dream and a goal.

What we, here in America, are doing to cause many of those complaints of resource mismanagement and global warming and such is really miniscule in comparison to the real causes. But, in all reality, the top producer should be the main source, shouldn’t it? Even so, we’ve done far more than our share in cleaning up after ourselves while most of the world has done little or nothing. What we need to be doing is a better job of convincing the rest of the world to join us. That, and figuring out solutions that will mutually benefit us all. If you tell someone that is literally living hand to mouth to stop doing what he has to do to survive your not going to get much co operation. But, if you show him a better way of living that he can benefit from while accomplishing your goal, too, the whole world benefits. Literally, what’s good for America is good for the world, as arrogant as that may sound. After all, its what happens there that will really benefit us here. Even though some of us may continue to live in la la land. We’re doing our part.

Al

(reprint)

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