Some of the Ways we talk ourselves into doing nothing

Well, that was interesting. Both the last two entries have been largely off my usual topics, but they’ve generated more response than usual (see previous comments). Morbidity and Scatology. I can see how they both have relevance in everyone’s lives, unlike my usual preoccupation with the Lifeforce 300+ years down the line. But I was surprised by the emotional response the discussion on picking up dog poop got.

Before I go on, please take a look at the last entry’s comments. I have more detailed responses than given here, and I might do it in the previous comments section, but I kind of doubt I’ll get around to it. I’ll summarize here, though, the points made in the comments section so you won’t have to traipse all over the place as I elaborate on thoughts those comments generated:

The suggestions both writers made that I take an additional step of separating the plastic from the poop and flushing the biodegradable bit suffers from failing an important consideration. The problem isn’t just the obvious odiousness of having to get so intimately involved with another creature’s usually repugnant excrement. It’s about acceptance by potential practitioners. It would be very much like advocating that everyone simply stop driving cars. It makes perfectly good sense, is clearly better than the current practice, not so ridiculous if you really look at it, and there are a large number of people who already do it (well–about this I’m not currently so convinced re the dog poop thing). But, under current circumstances, not many people either can or will stop driving their cars, and suggesting it will merely get your whole set of ideas dismissed out of hand. And that’s ten times as bad with the “flush the poop” idea. Someday such campaigns might make sense, but not here and now.

Yet both problems are real and improvements can and should be made. I don’t think it too much to suggest that people clean up after their pets. They are their pets, after all, and the plastic bag thing is actually the expected norm in most of the civilized world. Whether that has anything to do with environmental issues, however, is a totally different question. In any case, the (dog) poop thing is clearly a trivial problem compared to finding solutions to the consumption of fossil fuels.

The contrast between the expectation of city dwellers and country folk brings something else up. It’s always struck me as odd how much more entitled to destroy the environment people who live in the wild feel than those who live where it’s already been destroyed. Loggers generally live in forests, yet they usually have almost no sympathy with the tree huggers who live in locales that, although they, too, were once forest, are now cement. It’s a clear case of the opposite of “out of sight, out of mind.” Some things are so wonderful that it’s not until they are out of sight that we think of them at all. There’s no need to think about a forest when the feeling of a forest surrounds you from rising until falling asleep. Well, at least there’s a common tendency not to do so.

The second writer also triggered a critical point of which we must constantly be aware, and here I’ll quote a little bit:

“. . . boat docks at Tahoe are frequently 3 inches deep in goose poop. You’re worried about being within half a mile with your dog? This stuff is 6 inches away. And the marina and boat owners’ solution is to sweep / shovel / hose the stuff directly into the marina. (Don’t get me wrong here, I blame the geese, not the humans.)”

By the way, this same writer absolutely nails the real problem facing Gaia later when he speaks to the people population issue. But here he is making one of the most devastating concessions environmentally concerned people can make–and very frequently do make. And I’m no more innocent than the rest of us. He’s justifying paying no attention to one problem about which he might be able to contribute positive energy because of how very negative, and much larger, the energy is in some other arena over which he has little or no control.

We often give up because we see our contributions as insignificant. The time for leaving solutions to others is past. We have to do what we can, where we can, when we can. Only when we all start sacrificing on a daily basis will we see the groundswell that we need to force the bigger problems onto the agenda of the big guys. It’s broad sacrifices on the “little guy level” that forces the big guys to notice and, eventually, to act. The key thing here is the unity of the broad sacrifice. I think we’re ready, finally, for just that.

But deep analysis of our assumptions is the very first step, for our assumptions are at the root of how we got here, and they will be the key to whether we ever get out. Now I’m beginning to drift back onto my real topic, but. . . not today.

Time and length also prevent comment on the blaming the geese thing, but perhaps that would be a good topic to encourage people to respond to? What do you think about the parenthetical insert in the quote? I’d really like to know. Please add a Comment to this thread. Thanks.

Reminders to anyone in the Tahoe vicinity or about to make a visit:

In The Service of Gaia: The Call booksigning February 17, 2:00-5:00 with free chair massage 2:00-3:00, at Neighbors Bookstore.

booksigning February 17, 2:00-5:00 with free chair massage 2:00-3:00, at Neighbors Bookstore.Earthwise Commute-athon meeting (Common Sense for the Third Millennium) February 20, 6:30-8:30 with refreshments at El Dorado County Library on Rufus Alan Blvd.

Green Builders Faire February 22, 5:30-9:30 at Lake Tahoe Community College (contact: Nicoletta Florio @ 530.577.8359 or

Spaghetti dinners on invitation–just express interest by replying to this e-mail or calling 542-2368.

Send us money at Common Sense for the Third Millennium, P.O. Box 7987, So. Lake Tahoe, CA 96158 ($35.00 annual membership donation).

Thanks, love, and Namaste.

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