Tuesday, July 8, 2008

road trip for the christian and the pagan

      Today, my friend, Emily, and I drove up to San Francisco from Los Angeles. Technically, I guess the drive could only take about six hours, but we wanted to take the scenic route via the Pacific Coastal Highway, so we took a good eight hours or so to get here.   But really, I'd rather see the ocean than the highway any day, so the few extra hours were worth it.  

    The drive was lovely.  The ocean was on our left, the mountains on our right, and we were just humble travelers, grateful for the amount of beauty that is still so present in this world.  I hear so many people talking about the hole in the ozone layer that gets bigger with every puff out of an aerosol can of hairspray, global warming, the loss of the do-do bird (which really is terrible--that bird was on this earth for a reason, right? So, there's gotta be some kind of imbalance now that it's not here...), and we should be talking about this stuff.  They are very real and present wrongs that humans have committed, and there are things like recycling and shopping for earth-friendly wares that we should be trying to do, that I should be trying to do...But, sometimes people just act like this earth is going to hell in a hand basket and we might as well just bomb the whole thing and stop having children cause it's so very bad...One of my dear friends, for instance, has recently told me that he thinks the time of the humans is coming to an end; basically, that we are going the way of that poor do-do bird.  He thinks life as we know it will be handed to the aliens, I guess, cause we have just not been good enough stewards with what we've been given (though, I'd like to meet these amazing, earth-friendly, recycling, never-stepped-foot-in-walmart, and only-wears-American-Apparel aliens who deserve what we have.  If they came here, I bet that they'd at least shop at K Mart, they'd be drawn to the light with all those blue-light specials--like a moth to the flame, so to speak).  He says that every civilization that has been on top has tumbled eventually and it's only a matter of time for us.  

       Well, I don't like the idea of being a ticking bomb and that kind of thinking is depressing.  And I guess today's drive made me grateful because I saw first-hand that not every bit of America has been paved to park our mercedes' or turned into a strip mall.  We have majestic and breath-taking beauty that is alive and well.  We need to protect it for sure, but we don't need to just will ourselves to defeat and let these amazing aliens take over.  Because, frankly, I am not so sure they are amazing.  I think they could be even worse than us, and I personally don't like the idea of being experimented on by them.  I don't care if they are holding a smart water in a recyclable bottle in one tapered hand, I don't want that other spindly hand touching me. Ew.  

    So, yeah, America  is beautiful.  It is green.  It's mountains are still majestic and it's oceans awe-inspiring.  We need to do what is right and keep it that way, maybe even make some of the places that are not so green anymore a little more green again; maybe even try to not shop at wal-mart so much (I know their prices are cheap, but they really are a corporate villain, guys).  

    I'm gonna end with a question: What is something small and easy (or big and very difficult if you happen to be awesome, which you very well may be) that you do to help this earth?


Peaj said...

No spindly-handed aliens for Jessica. Got it.

What I do to help the earth is that I try to live simply so that I chew up less of the world's resources. I also fix up old computer equipment so that it doesn't go to landfills.

Lady Leth said...

I have to say that I kind of forgot that you would be leaving LA. It seemed like you would always be there. I would think its weird to leave. I hope that San Fran warms up for you!

jason said...

plant trees!

Joshusa said...

Don't eat meat.

How does eating meat affect water usage, water pollution and the ocean?
By Jolinda Hackett,

See More About:how to go vegetarianvegetarian definitionswhy vegetarian
Question: How does eating meat affect water usage, water pollution and the ocean?

Answer: The global effects of meat consumption don’t stop on land. Agriculture also requires water consumption, and animal agriculture is no exception. Animal production consumes an amount of water roughly equivalent to all other uses of water in the United States combined. Besides grains, animals need water to survive and grow until they are slaughtered. One pound of beef requires an input of approximately 2500 gallons of water, whereas a pound of soy requires 250 gallons of water and a pound of wheat only 25 gallons. Meat production is inefficient as it requires the consumption of an extensive amount of resources over many months and years before becoming a usable food product. With the water used to produce a single hamburger, you could take a luxurious shower every day for two and a half weeks.

Even the EPA identifies agriculture as a major water pollutant. (1) Agricultural pesticides and nitrates used in fertilizers and manures seep into our groundwater, eventually spilling out into the oceans creating so-called “dead zones” (expansive areas so toxic that neither plant nor animal life can survive) viewable from space in places like the Gulf of Mexico where the Mississippi spills out into the sea. Besides the chemicals used in cultivation, accidental pollution though chemical spills and manure dumps are an ongoing source of water pollution from feedlots. The manure created from the billions of animals killed for food has to go somewhere, and often, it ends up in rivers and streams, killing millions of fish in one fell swoop (2).

Jessica Latshaw said...

Jase, how many trees have you, personally, planted?

Selah said...

recycling and paying $4 a gallon for gas which is drastically going to change the way we all drive and what we drive in the future. I am seriously considering getting an electic scooter which gets 100 mpg to go to work and back.

KathieK said...

Well, I am sure my husband probably thinks that, by my penchant for clutter, I am personally trying to eliminate the need for landfills by never throwing anything away.

We have planted a dozen or more trees and bushes on our property...which, in the scheme of things, isn't much, but it's at least 12 more that weren't there before. We had also planted trees and bushes where we lived before we moved here.

We try to consolidate our road trips, not always successfully, but we try.

We give our older clothes (and other things) a second life by giving them to the Cancer Federation and/or Good Will. I also take clothes I don't wear any more to the school where I work to be given away to whomever can use them. At work we recycle paper, cans, and have just started/are soon to start recycling plastic, as well (I forget which). I believe we will also begin cutting down our paper consumption by limiting copy machine use (we talked about this at the end of the last school year). Also, at the end of every school year, any lost and found clothing left at our school (by students) that is not collected by their owners is donated to those in need.

John and I try to patronize small, local least for some things, I am sure we could improve in this (and many other) areas.

A very small number of our cleaning products are "green", not all of them because, unfortunately, some of them don't seem to clean quite as well. I know there is more we could be doing.

Anonymous said...

selah, where are you working now?

jason said...

Jessica, I plant trees ALL THE TIME. Actually as a part of a volunteer effort I planted hundreds of trees at Ashland Nature Center...

in high school.

Ok, maybe I need to do more.

But see, the last time I did something noble for the environment, it really backfired. I was at the beach here in CA (leo carillo, for those who care about such things) and I saw a plastic sandwich bag in the water. Now we all know that turtles eat these things thinking they are jellyfish and then die, so despite the fact that I had to get my pants wet I waded into the water and fished it out.


And I couldn't just throw it back in, that would be my litter, so I had to carry it, gagging all the while, until I found a very faraway trashcan.

So that is very noble!

Actually, get a filter and stop using bottled water. That would be really helpful.

Jenna said...

haha jase that was the funniest thing ever! and don't forget i have lots of pics of that memorable moment.

Jessica Latshaw said...

Thanks for all you good ideas, guys! You rock!

Jase--I literally LOL when I read your...ah, testimony...hilarious! I am so glad it happened to you, of all people--with your penchant for gagging, it must have been just marvelous!

Josh--you have a good point, but I think I might starve to death if I became a vegetarian; I don't eat enough of the protein substitutes (soy, beans, legumes, etc) to be able to last through a show, I think.

Jonathan, are you serious about buying an electric scooter? You should look into the smart car--they are tiny, run on barely any gas, and are pretty affordable.

Anonymous, good question!

Something that I did just today was buy two reusable grocery bags from Trader Joes. I am gonna try to remember to take them every time I go, instead of using up throw aways.

I also try to support local shops and stores (do boutiques count?)

KathieK said...

Boutiques ALWAYS count!