Would you workout in a casino?
Okay you pegged me; it’s a trick question because if you live in Utah you breathe its casino air everyday.

I can count on one hand the number of days per year that I ride my bike because the air is too polluted.

It’s curious as to why there is still any debate regarding the regulation of environmental pollution. As an attempt to eliminate the dangers of second hand smoke in public, how can cigarette smoking be banned from restaurants and public buildings to improve what was a Public Health concern twenty years ago in the name of progress, but we’re struggling now to control the severity of air pollution in Utah? Utah, where there is a casino-like air quality on a daily basis, this should be a top priority. Nobody has reason to be arrogant or to continue the denial here. Polluted air affects everyone.

Just last week I was thinking about the steps in mindfulness and in doing my best to be a wise steward that I personally take to reduce environmental degradation. Shoot, by choice, I eat a plant-based diet, and I have consolidated my driving to three days per week. But individual efforts are one thing when gigantic corportions with short-sighted goals are another topic. If industries and even large corportions were to put in a fraction of this effort, that would hugely change things for the better. Just imagine if gigantic industries/corporations were to sacrifice just a small percentage of profits to allocate to cleaner standards. This would be huge, awesome. They would be leaders and each giant that did this would reduce a lot of pollution.

Industry is designed to maximize profits; that is, on steroids, and too often this is at the expense of everything and everyone else-very one sided. Thus the need for regulation right, since the greed would grow out of control. Industry (and the historical human for that matter) doesn’t have the best track record of regulating itself/ourselves. The current model of perpetual growth is part of the problem and ensures that there can never be enough profits for giants; this further perpetuates the cycle of decline. They stomp out everything and everyone else. This is not only an environmental, but a social problem too.

Look, I get that not everyone is a naturalist, or has enough time or energy to be highly concerned about the environment. I get that. However, I do believe that most people care about nature to at least some degree. But in all fairness, people are busy with lives, jobs, families, relationships, the need for fun, and life is hectic. Shoot, I think we all have enough on our plates these days, especially these last two years. Not everyone is a biologist or ecologist and has time or energy to put into stopping to consider and research just how each step they take will impact the environment. This is all the more reason why the regulation of certain industries is essential. Not everyone can stop to think each time they are waiting in line about shutting off their idling car, or remembers to bring their reuseable grocery bags made of cloth instead of plastic.

If Biden (I say Biden not only as the current president, but because Republicans don’t have a good track record for correcting environmental problems or being particularly concerned about them, or even admitting that they exist,) were to implement incentives to reduce fossil fuels, half the nation would throw a fit. We already know how this conversation would go. Extremists would be yelling conspiracy and that our freedoms are being taken away. Yet, incentives toward, or even requirements for catalytic converters on small engines, solar, electric cars or even natural gas (less polluting) would go far and the average citizen operating a motor vehicle would hardly feel it. The impact would hardly be noticed on an individual level. It wouldn’t make your car any less “zippy”, stylish, lacking in horsepower, or your lawnmower any less efficient. Your vehicle would hardly notice the difference. But the environment would improve tremendously with a change this broad.

It is unacceptable that gigantic industries own the day and are permitted to run amuck, not doing their fair share to reduce pollution all to maximize profits. Yet, this is at the expense of everything else. This level of greed is criminal.

Another biggie is plastic. The same would be for a ban on plastic bags and implementation of more natural materials instead. Measures that would hardly be noticed on an individual level and yet would make a tremendous (in the positive) difference nationally/globally. (Like it or not, with twenty years of the world wide web, it is now a global world). If Biden were to require regulation in plastic production so that for most applications, (especially something as widely used as grocery bags and bottles) plastic is replaced by material using coconut, rice husk or other natural materials; (they do exist; I have planters made from these). This would help tremendously.

The ripple effect of healthy (or unhealthy) oceans and forests don’t need to be spelled out. But I find that people generally need to hear that these do affect us. And they do. Yet, part of the problem is, (in all fairness and due respect), that not all people have time, energy or resources to find these details.

Some of the rules of this LIC/WD philosophy are meeting others halfway and giving credit where credit is due. Not everyone should be expected to spend all their time and energy here. That’s why environmental improvement measures that are hardly felt on the individual level but make tremendous change nationally/globally should be the top priority. Personally, I am glad when I meet someone who is in a position to perform a valuable service to humanity or nature where I may lack in time or practice. “Nobody can do everything, but everyone can do something.”

The idea that people are the only living things that matter is an outdated viewpoint. “Dominion” from the Old Testament has been a problematic word in our perceptions of it. I can’t believe we still need to have this discussion in 2022. Diversity is the answer. Other beings (and other people too) are allowed and encouraged to thrive also and their thriving also helps you to thrive too; like it or not and maybe you’ll need to humble yourself a bit here, this is the case.

Feeling pressure or shame about having to drive is not something that should be added to your plate. The average person already has enough going. Transportation should not be this destructive. Something is wrong with this picture. Technology makes other forms of power available. But the current reality is that industry owns the day.

I am registered as unaffiliated, but this is what I do like about the Democratic party. The largest industries are regulated and required to carry their share, both in environmentally sound practices and in taxes. Helping other people and even nature to thrive also is a Democratic principle that I like; it certainly hasn’t been a Republican one. Biden seems to be making some positive changes for nature (and people too, it’s not mutually exclusive). I’m glad to see this.

People hear about ecologists or biologists being concerned about a certain bird or field mouse and this gets a lot of heat, thought of as frivolous and nonsensical. What some may not realize is that while this may not be the be-all, end all, we see these as indicators, symptoms of a greater systemic problem. These are pointing to unhealthy ecological communities, ecosystems and a troubled earth. Many of these natural systems are in danger of collapse. This matters; all of these affect us, like it or not. I don’t need to go into the details of the reasons for this. Air pollution is just one aspect already severe in Utah alone and now it’s going to get worse. Species in their varieties are another issue, but one that still impacts us. Many of them perform a valuable service to humanity. Nature will do this when we let it. That is the beauty of it. Like it or not, we are part of nature, not separate from it, and certainly not above it. It performs these services naturally, just doing what those plants, animals and fungi do. Don’t fool yourself or live in perpetual denial. These changes to the climate on earth absolutely affect us.

The fact that we’re still having this conversation and that policies are being debated and antagonized in 2022 about whether or not giagantic industries should have to be required to extend the least possible effort in reducing environmental problems is just foolish. It represents a major disconnect. It’s concerning, actually. What if industries were to voluntarily reduce their impact and thus do away with the need to be regulated? Reaching a point of actually being satisfied and ceasing constant exponential growth? Wow, there we go; imagine that! Now that is real change, an idea that works and not only one that works, but there would be a leader of a gigantic industry that would be willing to forego what is essentially pocket change to provide a service to fellow beings, humans and nature. Now that would be a good move, real change.

Yet, here we are…


Related writings:
Snow. Melt. Blow.
January Rain
Are You Loving the Snow?

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