Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Why bother?

Faced with the overwhelming scope of the problems that face us because the world is getting warmer and the seeming futility of small actions, some would ask "Why bother?" In a recent Green Issue of the New York Times Magazine, Michael Pollan tries to answer that question. He starts from a bleak point of view.
I don’t know about you, but for me the most upsetting moment in “An Inconvenient Truth” came long after Al Gore scared the hell out of me, constructing an utterly convincing case that the very survival of life on earth as we know it is threatened by climate change. No, the really dark moment came during the closing credits, when we are asked to . . . change our light bulbs.
Pollan ends up asking you to do something just as simple, but philosophically more profound... go plant a garden.

You may not believe the "go plant a garden" bit, but read it. Pollan is very convincing.
The single greatest lesson the garden teaches is that our relationship to the planet need not be zero-sum, and that as long as the sun still shines and people still can plan and plant, think and do, we can, if we bother to try, find ways to provide for ourselves without diminishing the world.

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