22: “In half a century, the car, which used to be a symbol of liberation, has become a symbol of encumbrance and alienation.” Bruckner brings up on multiple occasions the influence media has on our view of environmentalism—it tends to focus on tragedies and horrors to portray how “fragile” our lives are (51). It is interesting that media can also be used to manipulate what we perceive as threats to the environment. A common car commercial is a family driving through rugged landscapes in an attempt to keep the freedom and adventure associated with cars alive, rather than focus on the negative repercussions of cars.
44: “The credibility of a disaster can only be based on tangible elements.” Hypotheses like the thousand+ years it might take to get rid of CO2 emissions from the twentieth century have basis in small changes over time. I think it is important to notice these small changes, which are tangible, and not wait until there is a disaster to act.
75: “Our partial mastery of nature makes us its debtors, and our debt is redeemed by an endless dispossession.” In his book Next of Kin, Fouts’ explains animals should be treated ethically for two reasons. First, he argues to treat animals ethically because they are so much like us (Similar to how Bruckner explains some believe, “Animals are our brothers because they suffer and take pleasure just as we do” (Bruckner, 95)). However, humans can be very different from one another (racially, culturally, spiritually, etc.), and should still ethically treat each other with respect. So, Fouts’ second argument for ethical treatment is that animals share a “continuity of life” with humans; after all, humans and other animals share this earth, are a part of creation, depend on each other and are related. Fouts’ description of continuity is, for example, interpreting Genesis 1:28 (“Have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and all the living things that crawl on the earth.”) as humans taking care of God’s Creation, while others see this passage as having permission to rule over the animals. If we stop viewing ourselves as masters indebted to the environment, but rather people living in a community with nature, some guilt might be alleviated.
104: “…there are always those who escape, showing the species’ extraordinary resistance… It is never the end of the world, it is always the end of a world.” This reminded me of the book H2O by Virginia Virgin, which portrays the resilience of the human species after only 0.27% of humans survive rain that kills most humans off with just a single drop. Some humans in the book think they deserve death because of what the human race has done to the environment, while others fight to survive.
115: “… science and technology are first of all acts of faith…” Many believe science can replace faith, but in my opinion they go hand in hand. My house project for Interfaith House this year was a panel of three professors explaining how they thought science does/does not coincide with faith. An interesting comment Dr. Lever made was that science tells you what you can do, but doesn’t tell you if you should do it; where science lacks in providing answers or a moral compass, faith can serve as an important guide.
126-127: Bruckner points out that by not eating meat, all the animals in the meat industry would never have a life at all. An interesting book to read is Callicott’s Defense of the Land Ethic. She explains how liberating domesticated animals or animals in the food industry would, ironically, lead to their extinction. In addition, by clearing land to meet the demand for vegetables, more habitats of free animals would be destroyed.
172: Bruckner questions how much of an impact gardening can actually have. This reminded me of visiting a gardener named Janet. Besides using her garden to obtain food and exercise, she also uses it as a place to connect with people and shares what she grows. Her lifestyle shows how we can use sharing the earth as a way to foster caring and a sense of community with the humans around us, while using the environment responsibly.
Is fatalism important to activism?
“…in the event of humanity’s disappearance, the remains of our cities and factories would continue to exist for at least 500 years, despite the erosion and deterioration of their materials?” (Bruckner, 47). Some express the importance of caring for the Earth in terms of needing to pass down a planet suitable for life for our future generations (56). Should we also be concerned with what happens after humans are gone?
“…technology has become a second nature, an extension of our nervous systems…” (Bruckner, 174). At what point does the cost of technology outweigh the benefit?
78: I wanted to look into what about developing countries is most influential in an increased life expectancy, and found that education is one of the most important factors to staying healthy.
86: I was interested to see what the Universal Bill of Rights for plants looks like, and found this video on YouTube.
157: Some ways to reduce the amount of salt used to melt ice on roads include sugarcane molasses, beet juice and cheese brine. Wisconsin saved $40,000 by adding cheese brine, which would otherwise be thrown away, to salt (this helped reduce the amount of salt needed by 30% because it reduced the amount of salt that bounces off the road when applied). While these tricks don’t eliminate the CO2 emissions from trucks used to distribute salt, they are a start for eliminating the pollution of water tables.