I've been procrastinating about writing a blog post for a while. I think some of the wind was knocked out of my eco-sails at the end of summer. With President Obama rejecting the new EPA ozone standards and the news about the bankruptcy of the solar company Solyndra, I got depressed. Could it be the "green" movement is over?
According to Gernot Wagner's op-ed in the New York Times, you can reduce, reuse and recycle all you want, but it really isn't going to make a difference. His view is that unless "a regulatory system compels us to pay our fair share to limit pollution," nothing is going to happen:
"Limit, of course, is code for 'cap and trade,' the system that helped phase out lead in gasoline in the 1980s, slashed acid rain pollution in the 1990s and is now bringing entire fisheries back from the brink. 'Cap and trade' for carbon is beginning to decrease carbon pollution in Europe, and similar models are slated to do the same from California to China."
Given the current mood in Washington, however, I am not feeling too confident that we will be seeing a federal cap and trade bill in the U.S. anytime soon. So what is the average eco-minded person to do? I have written numerous blogs on ways to go green, to save energy or to recycle in your home. But even I cringe a bit at these types of posts. We know the drill. We know we need to turn off the water, stop buying plastic bottles and unplug the toaster. Do these small actions really make a difference?
Giving up can't be an option. There is too much at stake. It's good to remember the little things, but let's not forget the bigger picture, too. Unplug your toaster, but also lobby your workplace or your kids' schools to reduce energy and bring fresh local food to the lunchroom. Support your local farmers' markets and call your politicians to stop fracking. And a big thank you to the American Lung Association, Environmental Defense Fund, Natural Resources Defense Council and Appalachian Mountain Club for bringing a lawsuit again the EPA over its rejection of stricter standards for ozone pollution.
The fight goes on...