22 April 2010

goldilocks planet

Earth Day is becoming a big deal everywhere and we're all a happy bunch of treehuggers. I am always rather cynical about these things which seem to be a big deal one calendar day of the whole year. If you recall my post for Earth Hour last year, I expressed the same sentiment. This year Earth Hour came and went whilst I was in Chicago.

For Earth Day, I am in California - home of hippy-chic and the original renaissance center. Celebrations are set to take off everywhere this year. Recently I have been pondering our incredible planet aided no doubt by copious amounts of documentary watching. It fills me with this goose-bumpy feeling of belonging as well as paralyzing frustration. Somewhere in between the two is also a calm place that feels hopeful.

It feels so odd to be hopeful in the midst of chaos and yet I am and there are reasons why:
1) More and more businesses are taking note of sustainability issues and incorporating these principles into their activities
2) Small green-start ups are pushing the envelope in terms of technology and innovation forcing the big guys to get their act together
3) Most people are aware of the fact that there is something terribly wrong with our planet and something must be done. They are changing their life-styles, getting involved in their community, asking their government to make positive choices - all excellent signs
4) Governments are taking notice with EU rapidly pushing for better, cleaner, greener-everything
5) America has finally woken up from the dark Bush years and although the country is in serious debt, they are investing in increasing green jobs which is something they cannot out-source. Many cities in America are now making recycling and composting mandatory. Chicago recently started a recycling program which up until now, did not exist!
6) Emerging economies - India and China, are investing in greener technology; this combined with their already lower carbon lifestyle is a powerful move
7) Consumer awareness is at an all-time high, not only about planetary health but also of human health and these two are intricately connected. Meatless Mondays anyone?
8) NGOs and businesses are finally finally learning to work together and realizing that they are on the same side
9) Everyone is talking about it! The information out there is incredible, almost to the point of overload.This is great because it hastens the tipping point
10) The recession is forcing people to have some free-time to think, reflect and figure out what they want to do with their lives. Some of this reflection means that people are getting in touch with what really matters to them. Unemployment is not all bad!

My wish-list for the year:
1) More businesses to jump on the green-wagon especially SMEs who have the immense power to change the world around them and don't even realize it yet
2) More empowerment so that people have an easier time being green - education, awareness, tax-breaks, incentives, information - all of these will hasten a revolution yet to come
3) More docu-movies like Age of Stupid, Blue Planet, Sharkwater, End of Line etc to be made and publicly screened. These work in two ways: to educate, increase awareness and also to create within us a sense of wonder for the natural environment which is key to protecting what it so precious
4) More funding to discover new technology that can be used to improve quality of life everywhere
5) Less war, stable governments and less poverty - all of this provides an ideal environment for our focus to shift elsewhere

In addition to this, this year I want to:
1) Travel to a rain-forest and do a small expedition
2) Grow my own organic vegetables

Mars is too hot and Venus is too cold... Earth is just right. Anyone else reminded of the story involving a little girl and porridge? We live on an Goldilocks Planet - nobody knows if it is too far gone already, but I believe we can still try. We can still hang on to what we know is right and make choices that are least harmful.

Have a greener, cleaner year everyone. More power to you!


Pocketmouse said...


Ramesh said...

Another very nice post. Instead of the gloom and doom that is usually portrayed by many "treehuggers", you project hope. You are right to articulate both the dangers and the reasons for hope. I truly believe mankind will find the sensible balance between needing to grow and develop and protect the planet. I see the same hope as you.

Akhila Vijayaraghavan said...

The way I see it, there is a choice to be made in either despairing or hoping. I think hopeful action just generates positive energy.

Thanks for sharing the hope!