Pushing the Environmental Cart Along

Over at the Patheos Pagan Channel, the bloggers there were posed the question about whether or not the Environmentalism aspect of Paganism has failed. I have read a lot of the blog posts there, and some are extremely articulate about their perspective. I even chimed in a bit on John Beckett’s post, wanting to toss in my two very uneducated pence on the topic. Thus far, there have been a few equally articulate responses to the posts.

I won’t try to get into the science and stuff behind climate change. I just can’t do that, because I am fairly ignorant when it comes to matters of ecological science. I focused on business processes and technology when I was in my collegiate classes – a far cry from what is necessary to talk with any degree of intelligence on climate change. (Aside: some would even argue that there’s a lack of necessary capacity and capability to discuss anything in an intelligent manner on my part. Haters, just gotta love ’em)

And yet, I advocate that climate change is real. How can I believe in climate change when I cannot explain any aspect of it from a rational point of view. From personal observation, of course. I have lived here in Texas since the mid-1980s – with the exception of a few years at the front of the 1990s and at the end of that same decade. I do recall the summers of then – and these were not nearly as hot as today. We would see summer temps in the high 90s, and about ten 100s over the entire Summer. And that’s if it was a particularly hot Summer. We had our share of hardcore thunderstorms, as well. But not nearly the number that seem to show up here these days. Now, is that a scientific assessment? Nope, and I won’t claim it to be such. Its just me remembering the past and comparing it to the present. I have read a lot on climate change as well. A lot of the science is, admittedly, over my head. But what I have read, both pro and con, has helped me to the position of seeing climate change as something that is here.

Not a terribly scientific perspective, I agree. But its the perspective I have come to. Please don’t try to explain climate change or disprove it to me. Once you start down the path of Environmental Science, my eyes will glaze over, and I will zone out and begin to think about how to balance my checkbook. Hardcore sciences is not something that excites me, nor is it something that will hold my attention for a long period of time.

Anyways, back to the topic. Has the Pagan Environmental movement failed? Maybe. I can’t be sure that the Pagans of today would agree with the Pagans of yesteryear over what would be a “successful” move within the area of Environmentalism. Just as I believe that the Paganism of today, might not be an acceptable definition of “growth” for the Pagans of yesteryear. I can’t speak for the Pagans that came before and where their mindset is. Nor can I speak for the mindset of the Pagans that are yet to trod this Path. In all honest, I can’t even speak for the Pagans of today. I can – however – speak for me and where I am right now.

Full Trash CanWe live in a disposable, consumeristic world. People consume, consume, consume. And to make their consumption easier, manufacturers create products that are cheaper, and far more disposable. I was reminded of this in the conversation thread I was having on John’s post. The next morning was trash pickup day in my neighborhood. Talk about a moment of synchronicity. As I carried my half-empty hefty Cinch-sack out to the curb, and rolled my overflowing Recycling bucket out behind it – I took a glimpse down my very short street here in Suburban America. Each of my neighbors had multiple trash sacks set out by the curb. Only two others had recycle bins out as well. One of them, I knew was filled with glass beer bottles. Every week, if I am home at the time of pickup, the clinking of those bottles is extremely loud as they are loaded into the recycling truck. But I mentally took note of the differences between myself and my neighbors in the amount of trash. A quick thought on the average was three bags to my one. One of my neighbors is a family of five. The others, however, have the same number of people living in their homes as mine: three. And yet, I was extremely outnumbered in terms of the amount of trash generated.

Now, my comment was concerning the amount of trash found around the Goatman’s bridge here in Corinth, and the lack of trash barrels available for people to dispose of their trash. Putting in trash containers may not ebb the tide of trash around the area, but its a start. I am currently lobbying the three town councils that maintain the trails to do just that – as well as organize a monthly trash pickup day for the communities, which I have already noted I would gladly volunteer for. None of this is going to do much to ebb the amount of trash that is currently found in the DFW metroplex, or even in the surrounding areas of Denton county. But I argue that its a start. Small steps first, then we can move into larger steps. To be honest, to get momentum in a movement of any kind, you have to start with motion, and then hope the inertia helps by taking hold.

Has the Pagan Environmental movement failed? If we measure that success or failure by the determination of an older generation of Pagans – then the answer may well be “yes”. has that movement failed to gain the inertia necessary to be effective. Sure it has. But that doesn’t mean that you don’t get behind the cart and start pushing again. Perhaps even more people will help get it moving, and perhaps that doesn’t happen. I do know this, if I don’t start pushing, the answer changes from “maybe” to a definite “yes” – and I would rather try helping the movement along with what little effort I can provide, than to sit to the wayside and talk about why the cart isn’t moving. Just my pair of pence…spend it how you see fit.

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