Thursday, September 22, 2011

Are You An Environmentalist?

I was wondering today what the opposite of “environmentalist” is. Choose one:
1.) Litter bug/polluter,
2.) Earth squanderer,
3.) Capitalist.

Reporter Jeff McMahon asked this very question of his readers two years ago, and no one could come up with an exact antonym, at least no antonyms that weren’t pejorative.

The definition is “a person who is concerned with or advocates the protection of the environment.”

One reason to advocate is pollution. We are polluting ourselves out of existence. When you think about it, we should all be environmentalists.

Did you know this week is Pollution Prevention Week? (Do visit the EPA site and get some ideas on preventing pollution.)

I have not always been an environmentalist. I trusted the government to take care of the earth. But now I realize, with regret, that my trust was misplaced. Different times require different behavior. Environmentalism had almost gone out of style. But that, too, is changing. Bloggers can spread the word on how desperate the situation has become. We need to fight pollution on all fronts.

There’s plastic pollution, something I have weighed in on already.

Toxic synthetic chemicals surround us, polluting modern life. (Watch this brilliant short video from the Environmental Working Group and join the movement.)

In the Midwest, the air and water are polluted with glyphosate. Pesticide residue pollutes the food we eat. Monsanto has polluted our seeds with the insertion of GMOs.

The government will soon decide whether or not to allow the extraction of natural gas from the Marcellus Shale, despite the ground swell of opposition to fracking and the fact that such a procedure will create pollution of the drinking water of millions of people.

Here on Cape Cod, NStar intends to pollute our sole-source aquifer by spraying four herbicides under the power lines. You may have seen the spectacular banners on Outer Cape bridges this month, created by Femke Rosenbaum of CWAACC (Clean Water Art Action Cape Cod). We don't want herbicides to trickle down. We cannot allow this pollution to move forward. These herbicides will remain in our drinking water for generations, creating chronic disease.

Do you consider yourself an environmentalist?