Updated: Jan 21
Just into the new year and barely blinking, the wave of holiday-themed altruism flows into an obsession with self-care. It's a "New Year, New You" after all! So, you toss those leftover cookie and candy bins. And you add healthy snacks to your online carts.
You grab for collagen powder and pea protein instead of chips! And you update your smart watches with the newest exercise apps to make sure you're staying on track with fitness goals! While I might sound jaded, I'm not. I'm right there with the rest of you--trying to lose those extra 15 pounds from the Covid malaise (plus so many binge-worthy shows on Prime, Netflix, and HBO--#justsaying).
The part where some of my readers might drop off is now--where I'm focusing on politics and environmentalism. Gahhh! But this really matters. Caring for the environment should matter as much as the other altruisms--or at least wrestle its way up there with them--contending for our time, money, and mental resources.
While the issues of microplastics, carbon emissions, and EVs tend to be left-wing concerns, they should be equally significant for right-wingers. In other words, caring for the planet needs to be a bipartisan issue. A few more of you just clicked the X on your screen. But someone needs to scream this to the hilltops, because our beautiful planet is too important to take sides. Everyone needs to care! It doesn't matter if you're on the right, middle, or left.
Manatees, dolphins, and sea turtles from our warmer waters don't get a chance to pencil in their concerns. Nor do the polar bears, belugas, or narwhals of the chilly Arctic.
While the right and left both get some things right, they need to stop playing games. It's about more than parading as the sycophant just to get more votes.
Both sides can incentivize businesses and private individuals with green credits and tax write-offs! Both parties can make solar and wind energies more accessible to companies and individual homeowners. The right and the left can work with farmers to limit the spraying of pesticides on the foods we eat (other natural methods work besides poisoning humans and animals). Our neighbor to the south deserves a pat on the back for its recent mandate: eliminating the use of Glysophate by 2024, but Mexico's list of tolerated substances is still long. Since a lot of our food comes across the border, these conversations matter (for both political sides).
Both sides can have reasonable conversations about oil and fracking and ethanol; it's about finding a meet-in-the-middle option (not being dependent on other countries for our own energy is significant too--let's not act like that doesn't matter). This necessary conversation isn't because people are good--but because the planet needs us! ALL OF US!
The left says we shouldn't push China to go green--let's not be confrontational, but let's engage further with them economically and build partnerships. It's about being open-minded and about not judging others (keeping prices low on our favorite items from Dollar Tree, Target, and Walmart). Stretching our dollar from cheaper production costs sounds ideal, but not paralleled against China's pollution problem--with them using outdated (very un-green) methods from their own delayed 21st century industrial revolution.
And what about safety issues for Chinese employees and poor environmental standards (like the air they are breathing for starters)? Portions of their own country have been turned into environmental wastelands that could double for a dystopian book cover. Let's not even talk about the proper disposal of single-use masks and gloves (the ocean is not a dumpster)!
And why were we selling our own oil but not willing to increase storage capacity? Is that really making us more green (I get the way it looks on paper, but...)? Then again, the left wins by a longshot on attendance at the United Nations Climate Change Conference each year (since the right barely even shows up); they set goals; they measure environmental changes and share in the ohs-and-awes of the dissonant global dialogue. Plus, they draw up lots of colorful graphs and pie charts (those charts matter, even the predictive ones). Massive emphasis: This global involvement is essential!
Additionally, the left promotes EVs and clean energy practices in the US (we're doing a really fabulous job with solar, wind, water, and other clean energies). Nuclear doesn't produce carbon as an output, but it's tricky as a green option due to concerns about nuclear waste--that said, France is a pretty big advocate of nuclear, which accounts for 70 percent of their energy.
I mean, we might not be as green when it comes to wind power as Germany, but we're making progress. Some would say batteries are the key (pretty sure Elon Musk would agree). There's a waste consideration though, and lithium runs out eventually, right?
Insert a scary sounding theme song (not Jaws though; sharks matter too). The right says global warming isn't even real! Pics of the polar ice caps from just the last five decades should send a chill down your spine. You know what happens when the ocean changes by just a few degrees, right? Some coral reef populations and entire bee species are dwindling at unmatched rates (the chemicals are bad). Ever heard of The Great Pacific Garbage Patch? It's time both sides incentivize the implementation of less single-use plastics! Have you heard microplastics are showing up in the air we breathe? Even in water and food samples!
But (whether by green motives or not) the right pushes for tighter restrictions on China because they believe there's a major trade deficit that is destroying American jobs. By deflating their currency (which makes their products cheaper), and with a much lower labor cost--some consider the result an unfair competition for the US. If you lost your manufacturing job recently, you'll probably agree this could be problematic.
The point is--I'm trying to act as a bridge here. Both sides need to care! Environmentalism is a bipartisan issue. It's like a timebomb has been set (from nature and nurture) but people are still just looking for the best prices and the most number of options for their own pleasure (do we need 50 deodorant choices?). But if both sides started caring about implementing green practices, trading with green countries, showing up to the conferences, and offering more write-offs or green credits--the earth would in fact notice and begin to heal.
Bees will thrive! Your grandchildren will still be able to eat fruits and vegetables that the bees pollinate. Manatees will continue to have the chilly water they love. Pixar and Disney will keep making cute animal movies because they will in fact still exist. PLEASE start caring more! Whatever political side you fall on--let your voice be heard. Going green matters, and your political party shouldn't be the reason you care or don't care about the health of our planet. Please comment below--we'd love to hear from you.
Written by GIL founder: Dianne Bright