Putting environment higher on
the national and local radar
By Jason Givens
August 8, 2006 | Recently at the G8 summit in Russia,
President George W. Bush used an expletive while speaking
to British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
Bush said, "See, the irony is that what they
need to do is get Syria to get Hezbollah to stop doing
this s--t and it's over."
It's been somewhat of a big deal in the media lately.
I don't really care what Bush said. What concerns me
is the fact that he was talking with his mouth full.
How am I supposed to teach my children proper table
manners if the president of the United States is seen
on TV speaking to the leader of our greatest ally in
the war on terror with a mouth full of food. Bush's
table manners are almost as bad as his environmental
policy. Which makes me wonder, how can I teach my children
to care about the environment, when the president doesn't
show much concern for it.
I read an article titled "A Deeper Shade of Green"
by Bill McKibben in the August 2006 edition of National
Geographic. In the article McKibben said, "The
old paradigm works like this: We judge about every issue
by asking the question, Will this make the economy larger?
. . . But it turns out that above all else, endless
economic growth is based on the use of cheap fossil
fuel." McKibben added, "Precisely the same
fuels that gave us our growth now threaten our civilization."
This same logic about judging things on the basis
of how they can help the economy rather than how they
affect us environmentally can be seen in the current
debate being waged in Logan about the new recycling
program. In an April 27 article in the Herald Journal,
Cache County Councilman Craig Petersen was quoted as
saying "We're going to spend $10.5 million to increase
the life of the landfill by 17 months."
Maybe recycling will only extend the life of the current landfill by 17 months, but how long will it extend the life of the next one? Or, how long could the current landfill last if mandatory recycling would have been implemented sooner?
Most of what I know about the debate comes from the
letters to the editor section of the Herald Journal.
In these letters people have been complaining that the
recycling was forced about them, others say, "so
what? Garbage collection is forced upon us too."
Some advocate refusing or returning the blue recycling
bins. There is little concern over how it may be helping
us environmentally only that it is of concern economically.
I have an idea that can help us environmentally and economically. In Michigan near Detroit there is a ski resort built on an old landfill. Imagine that a pile of garbage so big you can ski on it. We could give up on recycling and just let the trash pile up so high that we can turn it into a ski resort. The economic benefit comes from having a ski resort in Cache Valley. The environmental benefit comes from it being so close to the city that people don't have to travel very far to get there, this will cut down on pollution from automobile emissions. And those complaining about their freedom being violated by having recycling forced upon them should be happy too. I didn't even mention the beauty a monstrous pile of trash will bring to the valley. We could even add hiking and mountain biking trails to it and enjoy it year round.
I recently found something my wife had written in
one of my notebooks. It was a saying she remembered
from a sticker or poster or something her brother had
when they where children. She said it was an old Native
American saying, and it goes something like this: Finally,
when the last tree is cut down, the last fish caught
and the last river poisoned, you will know for sure
that man cannot eat money.
I think it's time we change the question from, how will this effect us economically? to how will it effect us environmentally? We cannot continue to let economic growth run amok without concern for its effects on the environment.