Quote of the Day:
“We don’t inherit the Earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.” –David Brower
TB first saw the QOTD at Epcot Center. It is prominently displayed on a wall next to an otherwise forgettable ride relating to the future production of crops and whatnot–important stuff, but not nearly as fun as Soarin’.
That second clause is what is so striking to me. How often do we hear the lament concerning our national financial debt, “we are borrowing from our children!” Damn often, that’s how often. The reason is simple. It’s true. Over simplistic, but true. My daughter’s taxes will be paying for our bloated military budget, wasteful domestic spending and worst of all, interest on the debt, her whole life. But man, it’s just money. Why, with a minor tweak in our tax system, a little inflation and some sensible spending changes, that debt can be wiped out in due time and without nearly as much calamity as the fear mongers would have you believe.
But what of the damage we are doing the Earth? That is much more permanent or at the very least it is drastically more difficult to reverse. Why isn’t the sentiment that “we are borrowing” this Earth from our kids more widespread? After all, it’s true. Should we not be equally as focused on the loan of the planet from our kids as we are on their money?
I realize–I don’t understand, but I realize–that whether one “believes” in the science of global warming depends nowadays upon one’s political beliefs. How strange that just a few years ago most self-styled conservatives accepted the science of global warming. That the numbers now break down largely along party lines is a testament to messaging. So forget global warming. How about just reducing pollution? Reducing our dependence on oil production in the middle east? Advancing our technological capabilities? Spurring the economy? Reducing waste?
There are a myriad of reasons to support environmental causes, and they need not be tied to politics. Let’s assume for a moment that man does not contribute to global warming. Is that any reason not to support solar energy as a means to reducing air pollution, reducing consumer costs and staying ahead of the Chinese on an essential future technology? Is that any reason to oppose the destruction of forests and encourage conservative management practices? Is that any reason not to litter? Wouldn’t it be great if our kids’ kids still had forests to explore, clean air to breathe, and, maybe even a few extra bucks to spend due to a lower light bill?
They will probably need it to pay for the debt we are leaving them.
A couple of notes:
First, click the link on David Brower’s name. I didn’t know who he was when I read the quote, but it turns out, predictably, he was a stereotypical panty-wasted liberal Sierra Clubber. Also a mountaineer with numerous first ascents in some of the most difficult mountain terrain in the US. Also wrote a mountaineering book used to train American troops fighting in the Alps in WWII. Also served in that war as a 1st Lieutenant. An interesting guy.
Second, remember the heat wave last month? According to NOAA, there were 15,000 record high temperatures. In the US. In March. Here is one of many articles on the subject.
Third, the ironic title to this post was completely unintentional, or at least consciously unintentional.