Changing the Environment

An article by David Brooks on April 29, 2008

 

It was like I was reading the tag line for a new Michael Crichton book, “New Species Found in Papua New Guinea.” As it turns out, it was legitimate. Conservation International sent out a team into Papua New Guinea where they found some amazing things, things I didn’t actually think existed. I guess it hit me that there are some things still hidden in the world, that creation still has potential to astound.

It’s interesting after reading that article and seeing some new scientific findings that I come back to Seminary and watch a news program about how global warming is destroying our planet. Included in the destruction of the planet comes the possible extinction of polar bears, something I didn’t even know was a danger.

During the news program a few things were made clear to me. First, something must be done. Second, we tend to see this issue as unimportant. Third, we really shouldn’t overlook this issue for long because it’s quickly getting worse. (The researcher actually pointed out that the rise in temperature will make things like hurricanes grow in intensity, again, I had no idea.)

The question I had after watching the program was this, “how can I do anything by myself? I’m just one person.” Then, when in conversation with my classmates I received some clarity on the issue.

I began to see it along the same lines as the old financial rule. The principle is that if you invest a small amount of money every month it will grow faster than you realize and that by doing so you can have quite a large return when you’re ready to retire. I’m starting to see all my actions in this type of setting.

By doing small things all the time it equates to much larger things after awhile. It’s not that I single handedly have to pioneer a new product that will change the direction of global warming. Rather, it’s probably that my biggest impact is by doing things like turning off the lights, not using air conditioning unless I must, not driving everywhere if I can help it, recycling anything possible and maybe even giving a little money to conservation efforts and helping the poor.

As it turns out, if I do most of those things I will probably save money anyway. I mean, turning off the lights, not using air conditioning and not driving (especially with high gas prices) will save money for sure. Recycling could cost, depending on where I’m living and whatnot and obviously giving money to conservation efforts and the poor will not be free. But then, I could probably get a tax write off if I was so inclined.

“Why help the poor?” You might ask… Well, I can only use the example of Costa Rica because it’s the only place I’ve dealt with the issue personally. Apparently the way it tends to work out is this. The poor people living in rural areas don’t have any money to buy fuel for fires. (i.e. gas, etc.) They of course need fire to cook food, heat water for drinking, etc. So, they must travel to get wood. Now, if you have a small amount of people and a massive forest the dent isn’t necessarily obvious. However, when you have a handfull of people and a large forest the dent gets bigger.

If you keep adding people who need wood and don’t add to the number of trees somehow, the forest eventually disappears. Now, I probably don’t have to tell most people about how trees give oxygen therefore making them an essential part of life. That being said, if we stop cutting down the trees the quality of oxygen will probably go up. I would also think that it would help the environment as a whole. In the words of The National Arbor Day Foundation

“Trees produce life-giving oxygen and remove air pollution as they lower air temperature, release moisture into the air, and retain particulates.

Trees prevent erosion by holding soil in place and slowing runoff from storms, allowing rainfall to percolate into the soil.

Along streams trees help reduce floods and erosion by slowing water and trapping sediments.

Trees provide shelter and food to a variety of birds and other wildlife.”

So, I think I’m being called to be a better steward of my resources be it money, time or my slice of the enviroment. I like the way a local writer said it when writing to the opinion section of the newspaper, “But willfully destroying the Earth for future generations certainly should qualify as sin.” (Barrie Maguire)

I don’t want anyone to think I’m blaming them for the environment, that’s not my intent. Rather, I think that most people are probably like me, living in some sort of denial that their actions have any impact at all on the environment. I like to think that most people are simply thinking “I’m not the problem, and even if I wanted to do something I’m just one person.” That mindset can be changed, it’s quite simple actually. The world changes by small steps, but many people making small steps will cover a lot of distance.

My thought is that in being conscious of this effort to conserve and preserve God will honor my efforts. And, even if that isn’t the case, my kids will probably thank me later.

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About David Brooks

David Brooks is the owner of the small creative studio, Northward Compass, based out of Orlando, Florida. He writes electronic and ambient music as Light The Deep, and fantasy stories about a place called Elerien.

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