Because I’m one of the idiots who lives in it!

Posted: June 3, 2017 in Urban farming
Tags: , , , , ,

Near the end of the first Guardians of the Galaxy movie, Rocket Racoon asks Peter Quill, Ravager, crook, con-man, and general ne’er do well, “why would he want to save the galaxy?”  I suspect there is an implied, “why the hell” in there and an “I am Groot” from elsewhere onscreen.  Quill’s reply?  “Because I’m one of the idiots who lives in it!”  

That is the general mood ’round here, since 45 said the U.S. would pull out of the Paris accord, on account of saving jobs in the US of A.  *Cue Eye Twitch.* Many friends on my various social media accounts are incredulous.  Some are jubilant.  One of my younger cousins noted happily, that hey, folks have been saying there is climate change since 1970 and nothing really has happened, so it must be false!  Good thing he is my cousin and not Peter Quill.  The Galaxy would have been fucked.  I mean, really, really fucked.

Since the late 1960s, when the EPA was founded, the US overall has generally been fairly keen on improving environmental regulations to try and limit man’s influence on the globe. Success could be debated.  I mean, how bad would it REALLY have been if Florida had been sucked into the ocean?  Now, that Harry Potter World is also open at Universal in Los Angeles, I mean. Alas, we implemented regulations and improved upon our impacts to the environment and so Florida sits.  Mostly above the water, soggy and full of alligators. Because, that is much of the real story. Regulations (LA implemented the first air regulations just after WWII and hey, we can still breathe here) were enacted and things, environmental ones, improved.  At least somewhat.  Like, we’re also all not dead.

If one isn’t old or doesn’t read, then, maybe one might think these regulations have done nothing. Startling incidents, though, pepper the history of the U.S. and Europe, starting in the late 1800s and stretching into the modern day.  Incidents that made folks think that maybe all the poisons and toxins (hey- non-science types, they are NOT the same things!) that we were pouring into the air and water were not the best idea ever.  Like in 1930, when pollution in Belgium was so bad, 60 people died.  Or in the late 1940s, when polluted air from a local factory killed 20 people (and made nearly 14,000 ill) in Pennsylvania.  And then, because people are slow to be taught the lessons of history, the same thing happened again in the 1950s in London. D’oh! 

In 1969, the Cuyohoga River caught fire from all the crap in the water.  This was a seriously STARTLING INCIDENT.  All caps. The water- THE WATER- was on fire.  Look it up.  Go find pictures now.  I can wait.  Clearly, this was End of Days!  People started thinking that maybe, maybe more needed to be done to protect the environment.  Because, let’s face it.  You can’t drink the water if it’s on fire.  And so, although, the thick, brown air in major cities in the 1960s and 1970s were pretty much expected and accepted, more people cared.  The EPA was founded in 1969.  More cities developed regulations to control pollution. People started recycling.  Memories I have of Omaha in 1975- there were tornadoes, there was SNOW, and there was recycling.  And the Henry Doorly Zoo and an alligator that lived under a bridge in our neighborhood.  But, really, I swear there was actually recycling. We had cans at our house.  Near the alligator.  Really.

I suppose, though, that people forget. They don’t remember how bad the air smelled and tasted. I remember hot smelly summers in the late 1970s on the outskirts of Washington D.C, where I couldn’t go outside to play because I had asthma and the air was so, so gross.  Brown and thick and kind of chewy. And no place an asthmatic kid could play. But, my cousin?  He was born in the late 80s.  Leaded gasoline had been nearly phased out. Regulations put in place 20 years before had resulted in cleaner air. Factories operated under stricter air quality guidelines.  I don’t recall a single incident of a fiery river in my teens. And I could go outside. 

Our air really isn’t as bad now.  But, we’re still standing on the edge of that cliff.  We could slide backwards.  Easily.  Quickly.  Ignoring climate change, because one is ignorant of science (scientists of numerous countries and disciplines agree current climate change is man driven, folks), or one thinks that regulations kill all jobs (the number of people employed in the area of the environmental regulation is huge) or just possibly in hopes that it will go away (it won’t, Mother Nature doesn’t give a fuck about you), does not help our planet.  And all of us idiots have to live in it.


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