Showing posts with label Politico. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Politico. Show all posts

Friday, March 30, 2007

Love Your Mother

With Earth Day approaching next month, I thought I’d put in my two cents in response to my friend Tom’s post about the environment.

If you read this blog, you know that I am no fan of Albert Gore, Jr. for a lot of reasons—mostly because he is annoying and pompous. And I stated before that I didn’t think his movie deserved an Oscar because it was hella boring. But Tom’s post made me want to take a kinder, gentler approach, lest I seem like an earth-hater.

When I was at BYU about 15 years ago, I frequently read and contributed to the Student Review, and I remember one particular issue about environmentalism based mostly upon the Discourses of Brigham Young and, if I am not mistaken, some insights from Brother Hugh Nibley, who was very much alive and kicking at the time. In a nutshell, I was moved to honor the earth as my father’s creation regardless of political or economic issues.

I have been known to celebrate Eart Day by planting trees, conserve electricity, shop at the Farmer’s Market (for local organic produce free of harmful chemicals), and recycle all manner of things. I admit that I don’t often go out of my way to do these things, but I think it’s a part of my consciousness. And I think being a wise steward is an essential part of being a good Mormon. Reverence should be part of my character if I am striving to be Christlike, and I’m not talking about folding my arms at church. I am talking about recognizing God’s hand in all things and out of respect for Him, showing reverence and love for said things.

I realize that there are a lot of things that need to change in order for us to become our most efficient and responsible. Like Tom, I marvel that we don’t use all the alternative forms of energy available to us. I marvel that The Man makes it so difficult to make them part of daily life. For example, while we were building our house, we attended not one, but TWO sustainability fairs learning about green building and alternative power, among other things. My husband got all excited about wind and solar power, but the initial investment was more that we could hope to come up with, so we’re on the grid, slaves to Northwest Energy…but our house is wired for alternative power, and we even have a spot for a battery bank someday. Same goes for our car. We went into the Honda dealership to buy a Civic Hybrid, but they were so pricey, we ended up buying our minivan instead. I think there a re a lot of people in our shoes, too. The upfront investment in alternative energy and earth friendly products is sometimes over the average American’s head. And sadly, I don’t expect our government to make it any easier for us because no matter who is in power in Washington, tradition and big lobbies are in charge. They make going green very expensive.

And I can sympathize with one aspect of the government’s stance---I don’t know what would happen to our economy if we didn’t use traditional fuels. I mean, how many families would end up unemployed if we didn’t need as many coal mines, oil rigs, refineries, tankers, gas stations, or power companies? I don’t feel as sorry when oil companies post record profits because I am sure it rarely trickles down to the rig worker or the gas truck driver. But I just don’t know how to make the shift without hurting people on an individual family basis.

My personal environmentalism has its parameters, and the boundary for me is not putting the interests of the environment above the interests of human beings. It infuriates me to no end to listen to one of our crunchy-granola locals whine and complain about the war and the blood for oil , and then see them hop into an SUV (and I get more annoyed with that SUV when the driver lives IN TOWN—gimme a break!). You can’t have it both ways. I can respect and environmentalists argument when he or she is LIVING IT and understands the whole picture. I don’t think Al Gore’s home or lifestyle reflects any special reverence for mother earth, and that’s why he gets under my skin. It’s the same reason why I hate Oprah getting up on her moral high horse and asking her viewers to do something about a cause, to send money or make sacrifices when she is the one who has the most to give. I mean—her viewers are usually sitting at home in the middle of the day, which means they are usually not employed and don’t have two dimes to rub together. I’d like to see Oprah match the percentage of income that her viewers donate to certain causes—if I sent in $1,000 this month, which is around 20-something percent of my monthly income, she’d have to put up 20% of HER monthly income. Yeah, that’s what I thought. Put up or shut up, Oprah and Al. They do good things, but they are out of touch.

I think it is morally wrong to drive a gas guzzler unless you live in the country and have 5 kids—THEN you need a four-wheel drive that seats seven. But people have the right to buy and drive them, and when they do, they should stop complaining about the environment and the war. You are contributing to the demise of the earth and the war is being fought, at least in part, to allow you to keep filling up that beast you drive. One of the issues where environmentalists just slay me is oil drilling in Alaska. People, why do you think we bought that freaking wasteland? Of course I value arctic wildlife, but not above the lives of thousands young men who died to keep our government’s fingers in the Middle Eastern oil pie. If our society is not ready to give up its oil, then let’s find ways to support our oil habit with our own supplies. There is no reason our country should be beholden to anyone else. Those caribou can move to Canada; it’s nice there.

I know these remarks are somewhat disconnected, trite, and ignorant of the intricacies of the economy, foreign policy, natural resources, etc. But to be honest, that’s what we are dealing with in this debate. The average Joe isn’t researching issues—he’s basing his opinions on what he is spoon fed by the media and by his peers. I like to think I haven’t been spoon fed, but I do tend to subscribe to three very basic principles:

(1) Yes, the earth is a gift from God and should be reverenced as such, to the best of our abilities(that included financial abilities).
(2) BUT the environment should not come before human life and livelihood
(3) AND we all know how it’s going to end and we can’t ultimately stop The Burning…I just don’t think we need to add to it.

Simple. Maybe even trite. But that’s where I am coming from. I’d like to do all my consuming on the moral high ground, but as long as we are middle class, trying to raise a family, and tying to live the gospel—doing all of it mostly paycheck to paycheck, I’m gonna have to drive my inexpensive (but really awesome) American minivan, use electricity provided by a less-than-honest or green power company, and shop at Walmart.
I know, I know…how do I live with myself!?

Tell us where you’re coming from, either here or over at Tom’s hapdaddy.

PS: Ladies & Gentlemen, let me introduce my beloved friend, Tom Hapgood. Tom was my sidekick at the end of my college days. He came home from his mission to Rome, already in possession of a BA in photojournalism (talk about awesome mission pix), and I was serving in our single’s ward as Relief Society President. I dated one of his friends for a while then realized that Tom was the coolest guy in all the ward. We never dated, but we were most excellent amigos. He was soon called as Elders Quorum President and we were the Wondertwins of the ward leadership, sharing a love of Seinfeld, hummus, A Wedding Story, and (fatefully) the lovely and talented Miss Adriane Parry. Luckily, Tom got to MARRY Adriane and I was his best man (though I am clearly and ever have been, a woman). Now they live in Arkansas with their three lovely daughters where Tom is a professor of Digital Arts or something like that and Adriane is her sparkly self—music teacher, decorator, mom, silly pants. I miss them tons, can you tell?

Thursday, February 22, 2007

But I still love you, Reagan...

My Dad Layton sent me this quiz, on which I scored a 29. That places me somewhere on their conservative scale between Jack Kemp and Bush I. I can live with that.

What was YOUR score?

FAMILY LETTER 11.19.17

Dear Loved Ones,                                                                                                                          ...