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I’m leaving on a Greyhound Bus

November 11, 2010
A picture of a Greyhound Bus in Downtown Colum...

Image via Wikipedia

Why does being “environmental” have to hurt so much? So alright, it’s not that bad, but sometimes you have to ask yourself if your effort is even worth it or if you are just being a martyr without a cause. I thought about how I hate the idea of doing something in vain, as I stood in a line-up the length of the bus station, waiting for a bus a half hour late, among travellers eating McDonald’s and wearing lots of leather. I had arrived promptly 1.5 hours before the bus was *supposed* to leave. I try to be a “good” person, whatever that means. Take the bus and don’t fly. Isn’t that what every environmentalist should do? But wait, aren’t there still a large group of people out there denying climate change is actually happening? Aren’t there still “environmentalists” who eat meat and travel around the world in jumbo jets? At this point I wonder if my discomfort outweighs the benefits to the world from me taking the bus over flying. I think that’s an easy question. Answer: discomfort is WAY worse. But wait, that’s coming from a very individualist perspective. And don’t my actions potentially have an influence on others (whether conscious or not) and so maybe indirectly, I am participating in reducing carbon emissions? And furthermore, shouldn’t I also consider my emotional discomfort, which would undoubtedly arise from the clear hypocrisy of my actions if I decided to fly to Toronto, or worse yet, buy an SUV and just drive my damn environmentally-confused self?

I need to ensure that I don’t end up going down that all too familiar path of helplessness and misanthropy. There is good in this world and there is a lot of selfishness and ignorance. But I don’t believe it is the fault of the masses. We are in a world run by few and it is up to those few to ensure a world in which appropriate values are learned and capital is not the only incentive.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Michael permalink
    November 16, 2010 5:30 am

    Doing the right thing for the environment is a bit like voting. If no-one did it, it would be a disaster. But if you don’t do it, it won’t make a blind bit of difference. I think you just have to suck it up and do it, and then drop it into conversation as often as possible so at least you get the credit for being a good person.

    *pat on the back*

  2. Sorry but... permalink
    November 16, 2010 8:02 pm

    Your last sentence – are you kidding me? 1. Although it may be run by a few, it is the masses who vote them in. 2. values are learned at home and thus the importance of families and good role models 3. capital is always an incentive (although not the only) but for sure the most effective.
    Ps. love all of your posts, you are an amazing writer, have wanted to comment before but not until today was I motivated to do so. I’m confident you will respond.

    • November 16, 2010 9:12 pm

      When was the last time the movers and shakers ever followed through on their promises to the masses who voted them in? Your point is well taken, but it assumes a very ideal system where democracy actually works. Capitalism is the ruin of many great nations and although money may be our greatest incentive, it is consequently the greatest weakness of humanity. Not sure I can offer an alternative that would be appropriate for humankind, but there again, I start going down that all too familiar path of despair and cynicism.

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