I'm living in Kusatsu-shi, Shiga-ken for an undetermined amount of time and teaching English as a second language at a local high school. This journal is to document my experiences, thoughts, and to stay connected with others at home and abroad.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Heat: A PBS Frontline special on the US's role in combatting global warming

Click here to watch Heat

Even though I've been living in Japan and devoting a lot of time to making my Japan life more environmentally friendly, I haven't lost interest in problems back home.

One thing I've been noticing about most about people's reactions (my own included) to Global Warming and environmental issues is that, while in wake of some dramatic epiphany––e.g. watching The Inconvenient Truth, Hurricane Katrina, etc––we are galvanized to take some kind of action. Unfortunately, it seems that this spark quickly extinguishes once we get back into the regular routine of Happy Hour Fridays, Sex in the City (or whatever the current fad is), facebook/internet surfing that distracts us from thinking creatively about how to solve these issues. While most people say they want to be more conscious and active in pursuing a sustainable lifestyle, this motivation meets a Great Wall of hesitate when we realize, "oh that means I can't eat McDonalds anymore?"

At the risk of sounding catechizing, but the hypcrocracy of apathetic sloganizing is leading us into a society of self-righteous slugs. Shopping at Whole Foods does, in fact, very little for the environment--your chemical-free Salinas Valley, California Spring Salad Mix may make a lot of people feel posh and "green", but eco-friendly action is a commitment, not a trend. The truth is that salad used a great deal of oil to be transported cross-country in a refrigerated truck, in order to make you feel "organic". A supermarket is still a supermarket with questionable motives and compromised progress, no matter how many eco-puns they come up with.

Here's a link to a real farm that focuses on sustainability, not as a slogan, but as a way of life: Polyface

As the title suggests, I watched this documentary about the US's Energy Crisis, better described as a political addiction to bribes by the fossil fuel industry. Seeing this made me realize more than ever how necessary it is going to be for individuals to begin making a more concerted effort in the everyday lives in order to combat the swindling of power taking place beneath our noses in Washingston. I, as many people, are very optimistic about the future of the US under Obama. It's important to remember, however, that all the sloganizing and elation is going to quickly fade back into that routine stagnation if we don't start making more individual and group efforts. Deifying Obama and waiting for him to make changes for us will just set us back. He is only human after all, and some of his solutions to solving US energy problems (i.e. Biodeisel) are merely political decisions that lack sustainability, and because of that, distined for failure.

Please watch this documentary, produced by PBS's Frontline, one of the few indepentent, and in my mind, unbiased media sources left in the world. It really asks difficult questions and gives very reliable information about what kind of challenge we are facing in the future when it comes to reversing Global Warming trends and saving our environment.


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