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Dear Terry and Peter,
I think all of us who talk and teach to others about the environment
suffer from these feelings of being overwhelmed. How can we not be so
saddened by the problems we address every day in our work environment?
And how easy it is for others who don't have this daily contact to
"forget" about the problems Mother Nature faces from our wrong-doing.
But I think sometimes this "Responsibility Assumption Overload" has to
give way, like Terry wrote so nicely, to a simple joy of being alive,
seeing children and their optimism, and hoping that our work will show
its fruits, even if we can't believe it. I tell a story to my students,
of the professor and his 20-foot swath. He knew so much but also
couldn't even decide where to even begin to help save the planet, so he
started cleaning up the area outside his office---his 20-foot swath.
Every day he picked up the litter and kept it very clean. Soon people
didn't throw things down, and the grounds crew spent a little extra time
to make the spot even nicer. He was happy passing this area on his way
to work. Now he could go on to the next task, something more demanding
and with a larger scope. But still he couldn't do it all! It's a simple
story, but one that always helps me to center and to not despair about
all the problems I can't solve. Please take a moment to meditate on the
good you have done, Peter, and how much more you will accomplish. It's
true that people like you and Terry have made in a difference in many
ways. Then go sit with your son, and sing, and be happy. Tomorrow is
Public Education Coordinator
Monterey Regional Waste Management District
Tel.: 831/384-5313 FAX: 831/384-3567
From: Brennan, Terry [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Tuesday, November 02, 2004 1:32 PM
Subject: RE: [greenyes] Global Warming and the Sounds of Silence
I understand your feelings completely. I kick myself for not being more
proactive as well, beyond my roll as a public employee in an
environmental organization. I too, think about these things as I watch
my two children sleeping.
I often wondered if it was wrong to bring them into this world, knowing
more about the uncertain, but almost definitely gloomier future that I
see. Shortly after 9/11, I spoke to my father about this. He said he
had gone through the same thought process when I was born, thinking
about the cold war and nuclear threat. He worked on satellites with
Lockheed, and most likely knew much more about these threats than the
average person. But he turned to me and asked, "Well, would you rather
be here, or not?" Put that way, it made me feel a little better about
I later spoke to my mother about not doing enough. She has always been
very active in social programs, and reaches out to everyone with an
extremely positive energy. I know she has an affect. She pointed out
that working in the field I do has its affect, and that every person I
speak to about these issues is affected, often more than I will ever
know. Thinking about this, I realized that there have been many people
over the years who I have spoken to informally or at events that have
told me that they were moved or motivated by my words. I know there must
be more that I do not hear from.
You, Peter, have sent many quality posts to this list (particularly on
climate change), spreading the word in a way that can easily be passed
on to others. I know that I have benefited from them, and I have sent
them to many others who also are benefit, and in turn benefit the cause.
You are having a positive affect on change, whether you can see it or
not. While we can always do more, we can't carry the world on out
shoulders. We do what we can.
Perhaps we all could work harder to get the our "leaders" in politics
and the media (the people with the megaphones) to make people aware of
the seriousness of this issue and to initiate more actions to deal with
In the mean time, it is also important to enjoy the simple tings in life
like the beautiful natural world that still surrounds us, or the hug of
a small child or loved one. After all, what are we doing this for if it
is not enjoyed?
Terry S. Brennan
Integrated Waste Management Specialist
California Integrated Waste Management Board
phone (916) 341-6578
fax (916) 319-7474
Zero Waste - You make it happen!
From: Peter Anderson [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Monday, November 01, 2004 9:53 AM
Subject: [greenyes] Global Warming and the Sounds of Silence
With reference to the CAPITALIZED sentence in the article excerpted
("...WHO HAS DESCRIBED THE THREAT OF CLIMATE CHANGE AS GREATER THAN
TERRORISM"), I just cannot grasp how the Presidential campaign has been
but devoid of any mention -- other than in one or at most two fleeting
passing asides from John Kerry when he is given the chance -- of what
likely will wind up being the defining issue for the increasingly
inhospitable world that we are bequeathing to our children.
To the nearest that I can understand, this moral abdication has occurred
because polling showed that the environment didn't register above the
cacophony of the war in Iraq and the war between the secular and
fundamentalist worlds colliding here in America.
But, to me, this has been a total and abject failure in imagination on
parts. To let ourselves be passive receptors of poll numbers, without
strategizing on how to proactively redefine the national temper, for
by the equation of threats from terrorism as from global warming, not to
mention the growing shortage of potable water on a global scale, is
As I look at my 7 year old boy in his Halloween costume, and playing
with his Pokemon action figures, I kick myself for letting myself be
consumed by the coming and going of our busy busy lives, while the
defining foul up of our generation (and the two that came before), ramps
to levels which may have already entered a feedback loop from which
no turning back.
I can no longer look at myself in the mirror as I shave without, for the
first time in my life -- because I have always otherwise been so
optimistic about being a part of the beauty of being alive -- shaking
fear and anger, at myself as much as those horse's behinds in their
and SUV trucks.
How can I have sat back and let the miracle of our lives ineluctably
before our eyes is something I cannot answer because of what it says
US must act over climate says Queen
Mark Townsend and Gaby Hinsliff
Sunday October 31, 2004
The Queen has made a rare intervention in world politics to warn Tony
of her grave concerns over the White House's stance on global warming.
She is understood to have asked Downing Street to lobby the US after
observing the alarming impact of Britain's changing weather on her
at Balmoral in Scotland and Sandringham in Norfolk. The revelation gives
unusual glimpse into the mind of the monarch, who normally strives to
Further evidence of the Queen's views on global warming will be seen
week when she opens one of the most high-profile conferences ever staged
Europe on the issue. She is keen for this to be interpreted as a
and political statement.
The Berlin summit will come a day after the US presidential elections
its outcome will dictate the tone of key climate talks. George Bush's
administration has remained hostile to international attempts to reduce
emissions of climate change gases.
'There has been dialogue between Downing Street and Buckingham Palace on
issues relating to climate change including the US position and the
science. She is very keen to get involved,' said one of the UK's most
eminent experts on climate change, who agreed to speak to The Observer
condition of anonymity.
He added: 'From her own observations on the climate she has become
like the rest of us. She has made it clear she wants to raise the
of the issue.'
In addition to her own fieldwork, the Queen was inspired by briefing
supplied by Blair's chief scientist, Sir David King - WHO HAS DESCRIBED
THREAT OF CLIMATE CHANGE AS GREATER THAN GLOBAL TERRORISM - and John
Schellnhuber, research director of the Tyndall Centre, where Britain's
pioneering work on global warming is conducted.
Peter Anderson, President
4513 Vernon Blvd. Suite 15
Madison, WI 53705-4964
Ph: (608) 231-1100
Fax: (608) 233-0011
Cell: (608) 698-1314
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