Community

June 9, 2010

We just got back from a two-week vacation to the northeastern part of the North American Continent. Not quite as far northeast as you can go, but towards that side of the map anyway.

We spent a few days in Maine, a few days in New Brunswick, several days in Nova Scotia and a few days in Newfoundland. Being in Canada — actually anywhere outside the U.S. — is great. I get sad when I come back to the U.S.

I see a total destruction of community in this country. One town looks like the next with the same strip malls, the same franchises, the same architecture. That’s not what I see in Canada or Australia, the other nations in which I have recently traveled.

Many Americans have no connection to the earth on which we live. Without this connection to earth, to place, to community, we loose the ability to see what is really important. We loose the ability to treat each other and the planet with respect. That’s not what I see in Canada or Australia.

I also get sad when I see the news on television. That’s one of reasons why we don’t have television home. We only see national news shows when we are traveling. Part of the reason I’m sad, angry and depressed about coming back to the U.S. after our trip has to do with what we saw on the news over the last two weeks regarding the disaster in the Gulf.

This country got derailed. We are on the wrong path. We have allowed corporations to take over our country (and, they are not stopping with the U.S.). In my heart, I believe that many, if not most, politicians aren’t elected; they are bought. I respect that many of you don’t believe that. I respect that many of you think that the U.S. still has fair elections. I just don’t believe it for one minute.

How else can you explain the fact that our government allowed a corporation to drill in the Gulf with inadequate protection for our natural resources? How else can you explain the need for “clean-up” of the regulatory agencies who were responsible for the lack of oversight that led to this global disaster? How else can you explain the banking crisis and lack of regulation of the financial institutions in this country?

Greed, corruption, self-importance, power. Are these our values? Unfortunately, it appears that the answer is “yes” for many of the people who shape our government’s policies.

I recognize that there are good, decent politicians out there. For example, Bernie Sanders, Senator for Vermont might be one. There just aren’t enough of them. We need another political party. We need campaign finance reform. We need it now so we can get down to the business of taking care of this planet ASAP. It won’t wait until tomorrow. It may be too late right now; but, we have to try.

If you have read this blog for a while, you know how I hate a pictureless post. Well, here are some pictures for you:

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2010/06/photogalleries/100608-gulf-oil-spill-environment-birds-animals-pictures/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/05/03/gulf-oil-spill-photos-ani_n_560813.html

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/2010/06/02/2010-06-02_the_hidden_death_in_the_gulf.html

http://www.treehugger.com/files/2010/06/bp-bans-workers-sharing-photos-animals-killed-by-oil-spill.php

I hope these photos disturb you as much as they have disturbed me. Something has to goad Americans into action, NOW! I am angry. I am very angry. I will not sit back and let corporate assholes ruin our planet.

Need more proof that it’s happening:
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/22/us/politics/22scotus.html We need to act now to reverse this sickening trend. Write letters to your Congressmen. You can find email addresses here: http://www.usa.gov/Contact/Elected.shtml

It feels a little stupid, writing to the very guys I believe are corrupt. On the other hand, writing will let them know you know that they can’t pull the wool over the eyes of the American people any longer. It will let them know that it’s time to straighten up and fly right. We need to seek real political candidates who will actually do the will of the American people instead of try to subvert it in order to make money for an elite few.

Meanwhile, I encourage each and every one of you to take a look at your lives and to see what you can do right now, today, this instant, to help repair your relationship with the earth. Can you use less plastic? Can you consume less? Can you do things that help to lighten your footprint on the planet? I can, I am and I will continue to do so.

What to do? There are a bazillion resources out there. Here’s a good one to start with: http://noimpactman.typepad.com/ Check out that link now — No Impact Man has a video explaining the immediate need for a phone call to your state Senator in the June 8 post. Read about it, then CALL!

I’m sorry if my straying into politics feels wrong to you. It feels right to me. I am going to do everything in my power to stand up for this planet.

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2 Responses to “Community”

  1. Kimberly Says:

    Feels right to me! Great post Ruth.

  2. Chris Says:

    You’re right. Whatever method can be used to rethink our wasteful use with resources is another little little stroke to fell the big oak. When my Knitee is in Germany he is always quite amazed about the recycling system here, while to me it is a very poor one. Obviously no one uses glass bottles for milk or yoghurt in the us that are washed and used again. His roommates, when asked, why they don’t recycle, just answer, that they haven’t been raised like that. Hellllllo? But they do a lot of other stuff as adults, that they weren’t allowed as kids as well, right? Sometimes they would recycle, by throwing away the superbig and enormously sized orange juice cans, without !!!! folding them flat. What a waste of space. They have enough glasses in their cupboards, but for the convenience of not doing the dishes after a party the would buy a lot of plastic !!! cups. Why not paper, if at all. They even use the leftover cups when they are alone and just want to have a sip. Have they been raised to do so as well? I can hardly believe that. These are very drastic examples of somewhat laid back people in their twenties, but they create a lot of unnecessary garbage that is not fit for recycling.
    The health food store will reimburse you with 15 cents if you put all your stuff in the backpack you brought, and 10 cents if you bring back the paper bags they hand out for free !!!!! In Germany you don’t get any bag, plastic, paper, cloth, or what have you without !!!! paying for it. I don’t want to sound like Germany is such a wonderful and environment conscious country. There are still tons of plastic bags sold anyway. But some small measures could be taken in the US that would make a lot of a difference, regarding the amount of the population of the states. At least they plan on installing bike paths in the Washington metropolitan area now. Not that there haven’t been a lot of complaints about that. ;-))) Ok, I will leave the pulpit and rather start to look at my own mistakes and shortcomings.


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