The Light Greens Are Here

Why is it that certain things start penetrating our consciousness relentlessly after the first initial exposure? I sheepishly admit that I never used to think too much about our environment, about the interdependence of things, about endangered species, greenhouse gases, energy crisis, global warming, alternative fuels and now I do. I was vaguely aware but certainly not conscientious about doing my bit for environmental protection. I am lax about recycling, I drive a sports utility vehicle, I live in a new development that is a result of accelerated urban sprawl and I have been guilty of thinking that any adverse consequences are so far into the future and that I needn’t worry. A classic case of myopia, the same lack of vision for which we fault Bush and crew.

But all of a sudden I am bombarded with images. Everything I read points to a danger that is imminent. Al Gore, US presidential hopeful in the year 2000, eased out of the running despite garnering the popular vote, has made a film called An Inconvenient Truth. The film has received considerable critical acclaim and critics have said it drives the point home. People are finally listening to Gore and not dismissing him as a left leaning liberal. I can’t wait to see this movie myself. I want to be scared witless about what we are doing to our planet. Maybe then I’ll be jogged out of my inertia.

I see confused and lost deer around my neighborhood, I see them dead in the middle of the road the next day. I come across news items that make my head spin, stories of campus warnings at a northern university asking people to be careful of attacking, rampaging deer, stories about wandering mountain lions or lost coyotes. The frequency with which stories of bears wandering around on highways or foraging through people’s backyards are appearing in the media is getting shorter and shorter. It is almost as if we have encroached so far into their territories that they have simply had enough and refuse to take it anymore. They are opposing us “immigrants” just as we oppose people crossing our borders. Ironically, I often meet people who suggest that hunting is all about maintaining environmental balance, that we have a problem of overpopulation of black bears and deer. They fight for their right to bear arms and to hunt because they think they are doing their bit for the environment by keeping these populations in check, after having destroyed their natural habitat!

We keep clearing the forests, draining our swamps, hunting, fishing, feeding like locusts on all that sustains us, unconcerned about our ravages. This is perhaps why some reviews have suggested that Gore’s movie is part horror. Perhaps it is the mild winter we all had, or perhaps we’re still reeling from the wrath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005, or the Indian Ocean Tsunami of December 2004, but maybe many of us are finally sitting up and taking notice or at least starting to wonder if there is a possible connection between these events and the melting polar ice caps. Maybe global warming is a reality after all. All of a sudden we find ourselves believing that Al Gore could possibly win the 2008 presidential elections using the environment as his platform. The holes in our pockets from gas prices that simply refuse to come down are probably responsible for the creation of a whole new subset of people like us – the light greens – those of us who are willing to start taking baby steps toward doing right by Planet Earth. We want to start car pooling, driving smaller cars that get more mileage, or driving hybrids, we want energy efficient appliances in our homes, even though our homes are still going up in areas that were lush forests before. But there certainly is a perceptible shift in our thinking.

4 Comments

  1. You've made a valid point, and one that we cannot ignore any longer. At the end of the day, 'right' and 'left' are only labels but environmental consciousness is more than just a label, it is, or it must be, an extension of our conscience.

  2. Pragya,I, too, have been interested in reports about Al Gore and this film — and also have been thinking about the possibility of a 2008 candidacy for him. Frankly, he seems to me the most appealing candidate I'm aware of.I feel that Gore cares about what he professes to care about, he thinks about what he cares about, and when he thinks about it, he thinks soundly!This sequence of three simple statements is one I feel more comfortable making about Al Gore than about any other potential 2008 presidential candidate (from either party) of whom I'm aware.You might notice these principles do not, in themselves, say anything about "left" or "right" (although my esteeming Gore to have passed with flying colors this 3-part qualifying test may admittedly have something to do with my response to his interests, positions, etc.)By the way, evidently that film has just opened today in a couple of NYC theatres — and will go to more theatres in early June. Should be interesting to see what kind of a splash it makes. It could make quite a big one.cheers,d.i.

  3. Well, I hope, it gets released in my part of the world… such topics do need a wider audience.

  4. Surprisingly (or not so surprsingly) an NY Times article that substantiates, once again, what I mentioned in passing in this post:http://www.nytimes.com/2006/05/29/nyregion/29animals.html


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