Thursday, March 15, 2012

Quote of the Day

I'm reading Leslie Paul Thiele's "Environmentalism for a New Millennium" and he's got a great quote from John Nichols, author of The Milagro Beanfield War, about the interdependence of environmental issues:
The tragedy is "environmental action" is often seen only as an effort to save the spotted owl... without giving a hoot about the ghettos of Houston, Cleveland, North Philadelphia and the situation of the people on this globe, which is atrocious. Until environment is seen as the entire picture, both natural and human, we're going to have a real problem... If you're a member of the Sierra Club you should also be against death squads in El Salvador, if you're a member of the Audubon Society you should have also been out there trying to stop the Gulf War; if you're a member of the National Wildlife Federation you should also be worried about the total destruction of our inner cities and the fact that unemployment among black children between 15 and 24 is 80 to 90 percent. Otherwise, it becomes irrelevant to worry about sea turtles. The clue to any kind of survival of the planet is training people to the macroscopic overview, to understand how their lives are connected to everything else, to understand that if you kill one species you're endangering all others. 
It all sounds like a recipe for an engaged citizenry to me.


  1. I totally agree with the concept, but I tend to resist when people tell me what I SHOULD believe and do. I think Thiele can give this message in a better way, such as by stressing the point about the interconnectedness and asking how people can care about and be compassionate towards the 'lower' forms of animals and not show at least equal concern for the 'highest' form.

    1. Thanks for writing, Bob. I see the comment as coming more from exasperation that we're blind to the interconnectedness rather than pontificating. But sometimes, "should" applies, because for example, we should all get out and vote.