Friday, May 12, 2006

Unbelievably Negligible

Today this author turns back to The Onion for a particular interesting article by Peter Keim entitled "I'm Doing My Inconsequential Part for the Environment". In it, he lays out his plan for how he's making a difference by recycling, growing his own vegetables, and walking or riding his bike whenever he can. If any of those things strike a nerve with you-the-reader, then go read the whole article.

This particular post is not about recycling. It's about Mr. Keim's math. Not the accuracy of it, the beautiful sarcasm behind it. To quote Mr. Keim: "Why do I boycott multinational oil and gas corporations that fail to acknowledge and address global-warming issues, resulting in a few less dollars in their swollen coffers? Or participate in demonstrations against local wetland destruction that are attended by as many as a dozen people, before the wetland is eventually drained and cleared for a new Wal-Mart anyway? Why make the effort? Because I care. And I want these feelings to manifest themselves in barely measurable ways." He went on to illustrate how his overall impact will inevitably be barely noticeable. And he's right, if he measures himself alone.

This similarly-frustrated author sympathizes with Mr. Keim about spinning wheels towards a belief -- a greater good -- that seems to gain no traction, build no steam, and go virtually nowhere.

Now I am a more passive environmental conservationist that Mr. Keim is. I have never demonstrated in a wetland (or any other piece of land for that matter) to try and save it from corporate or commercial doom. I don't hunt for sport, either. I'm somewhere in between. And when I grow my own fruits and vegetables, it's because I like the challenge and prefer the taste of the fresh produce my efforts yield.

But I am passionate about things I believe in, and I feel more often than not that I'm screaming my opinions into a black hole where noise gets absorbed and forgotten. Yet I keep screaming, hopefully at well-chosen opportunities. Not because I like the sound of my own voice, but because I really believe that there is something important in my blatherings.

We all feel particularly stimulated by something. It could be a belief, a theory, a thought, an ideology, a quirk, a pet peeve, or a passion. But it's there and we all feel pretty alone when we stand on our proverbial soap boxes about it. And perhaps at the root of the entire internet revolution is a bunch of lone soap boxers looking for those who will band with them and become three or five or fifty similar-minded allies fighting the same fight. Grass roots movement it's called, in politics. Or you could call it community (Rousseau would). Whatever semantics you want to use, it's the thing that unites two or more floundering minds into a commonality that brings about hope.

So to my one fan who reads my blog daily, thank you for giving me hope. There's probably one or two more of us out there that enjoy what I have to say and find something significant in it.

And in the words of Peter Keim, "Together, we can make an unbelievably negligible difference."

1 comment:

redwulf said...

In utmost humility, I will assume that I am the one to whom you refer as "my one fan"; but only because I seem to be the only one who regularly comments. As such, you're welcome. :). While I don't always completely agree with everything you say on here, you're being heard.