Sunday, December 17, 2006

An Inconvenient Truth

Just finished watching An Inconvenient Truth and if there were ever a movie to get you off your ass from mere guilt then this would be it.

Boyan and I have been always been fans of documentaries and more recently have had our eyes glued on BBC's new TV series Planet Earth as well as the Discovery Channels' Discovery Atlas. While these documentary shorts are focused on showing parts of the world with a new perspective, An Inconvenient Truth goes a step beyond by telling us how close we are to losing the beautiful and balanced climate which has made life on earth sustainable for so long.

I am not an environmentalist by any means. I don't vote Green, I eat meat, If I could afford fur I am sure I would wear it, but there are things about how humans abuse the environment that is truly upsetting to me.

1. Public Transportation: I've always had a problem with the public transportation system in Los Angeles. If you have visited any other major city in America or abroad and used public transportation you can't help but see fault in the way the city addresses mass transit.

It is true the city is stretched out over a large area, it is also true that our ability to create an underground subway system is limited, but other factors that can be changed are prohibiting the improvement of mass transit as well as pollution and traffic (such as, wealthy beach residents not wanting undesirable tourists bus-ing in from downtown or the fact that cars are such a status symbol in Los Angeles).

I am just as guilty as everyone else for driving my single passenger vehicle to work everyday. I am going to try to take the bus at least one day a week if not more, that is a promise.

2. Population: The population is growing at such an astronomical rate and our economy is struggling to keep up.

Two things that need to be addressed for this problem.
- Accessibility of Birth Control and Sex Education. It is down right irresponsible to promote abstinence while saying No to birth control. Teen pregancy cost U.S. Taxpayers 9.1 Billion dollars in 2004. Its a serious problem that is being inhibited by ignorance and moral issues which should have no place in politics.

Paul Ehrlich wrote an article in New Scientist magazine at the end of September addressing the problem of population and said, "Much of today's population growth is occurring is rural regions in the developing world..." It is safe to assume that a majority of these people have access to little or no birth control or sex education.

-Which brings us to Illegal Immigration. He went on to say that, "an increasing number of young people migrate to cities and to wealthier countries looking for a better life." Well, yea it's an obvious point but one that needs to be said. Illegal immigration leads to higher birth rates, (anchor babies or children born in the states insuring it's American citizenship), poor health care for those residents, and exploitation of immigrant workers. Numbers of working-age people are said to rise by 3% per year.

"Expanding populations also create rising demands for food, energy and materials. The strain this puts on ecosystems and resources in developing countries is compounded by demands from industrialized nations keen to exploit everything from timber and tropical fruits to metals and petroleum."

Its alarming how interconnected these problems tend to be, and how small changes can make a big difference in combating negative consequences.

In the end helping our environment does become political. An Inconvenient Truth harbors good intentions but there is a political message hidden between its statistics and charts. It tells the tale of the would-be President and how things could have and would have been different if he had not been cheated in Florida. Gore mentions the failure of the White House to uphold its promises of curbing Global Warming while clearly demanding citizens to "Vote for Candidates" dedicated to environmental issues, a thinly veiled way of saying Vote Democrat.

My own little speech is enough to show how interconnected saving the planet and the politics of our country truly are. It all seems to fall back on the faulty practice of dictating policy based on issues of morality. NO- it's not a crime to teach REPRODUCTIVE science in the classroom. Telling your children that sex is something you do only after you are married and abstinence is the only birth control is not going to prevent them from having sex-- but it will most definitely insure that if they do have sex it will not be done safely. Making sex education and birth control available is not enabling them, it's making them educated and preventing pregnancy and disease.

Protecting our borders, TRULY protecting our borders and penalizing businesses that employ illegal workers is not HARSH-- it is our right. It protects the workers from being exploited and protects tax payers from expenses created by these workers. It protects our citizens from terrorism and crime. Maybe even working with the Mexican and Central-American governments by helping them build their own economy would make their citizens want to stay and build their own economy.

Small things make a difference. Like I said before I am going to begin taking the bus more often. I plan on bringing my own bags to the grocery store. I already recycle but I will make sure I recycle more consistently and with a wider range of products.

The entirety of 2007 will be spent preparing for the 2008 elections and the two major changes I hope to see abound will be the expulsion of moral politics and the Christian conservatives (I am hoping people will see the failure of Bush as a signifier that putting religion over politics has devastating consequences-- pertaining to issues such as the war in Iraq, gay marriage [which in the future will be known as the SECOND Civil Rights movement], protection of roe v. wade if not a federal definition of sex education and birth control for minors) and a nation wide initiative to curb global warming (Kyoto anybody?).

The logic behind a country who refuses to accept the development of governments based on Islam in the middle east while try to create a Theocracy in the states is beyond my own comprehension. Are we saying that a government based on Islam is WRONG because it only exists in the form of Islamo-facism? What would the U.S. be if our government policy was dictated based on principles of Christianity? Christio-facism? Whatever it may be I am sure the founding fathers would roll in their graves. It's irresponsible and damaging to the health of our nation.

We only have 50 years before major consequences from our irresponsible consumption will occur and we have to start today to ensure a future for tomorrow. A Change is going to come. It's already at least six years past due.

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