Your Personal Environmentalism

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

To kick off our Earth Day family meeting, we want to hear what environmentalism means to you. Are you constantly conflicted by your energy use? What do you do personally to try to help - or at least not harm - the environment? What fears do you have for the future and what trade-offs do you make?

Comments [21]

amalgam from NYC by day, NJ by night

Earth Day 2014: An Eco-Stravaganza of Sustainable Tips and Tricks (Part 1)

Earth Day 2014: An Eco-Stravaganza of Sustainable Tips and Tricks (Part 2)

Apr. 22 2014 04:28 PM

I'm 66 years old & was 'there' for the birthday of Earth Day. Back then, most of the nation was 'all for' saving the planet; we knew back then that nothing is limitless. I've been a recycler ever since ~ and throughout the years, wherever I worked, I was the one picking thru the employees' lunch garbage, separating whatever there was that was recyclable at the time (it started with paper). I can't tell you how many times I've been ridiculed ~ behind my back and to my face ~ about being an environmental 'nut.' Even today, working in my retirement as a petsitter, I still find that most of my clients don't recycle anything but, perhaps, paper. The plastics and metal cans still get thrown in the regular trash. It's been so disheartening, and still is. My husband and I (married 45 years now) chose not to have children because of the overpopulation issue that was just coming to the fore in the '60s. Quite frankly, we've never regretted it or looked back, but we were always criticized for being 'selfish' by not producing progeny, including by my own mother. More depressing is that, in the late '60s & early '70s, development of alternative energy sources was on the upswing (solar, wind, geothermal). Within ten years though, enthusiasm quickly waned because fossil fuel proponents saw this as a real threat to their view of capitalism. The U.S. start-ups in alternatives that just couldn't finance against them eventually sold their technological ideas to Western Europe & the cause in the U.S. simply died. Now Western Europe is decades ahead of the U.S. in use of alternatives; some are almost independent of fossil fuels. The loss to our children and our planet from the U.S. side is just staggering. But what's the MOST depressing is the question of what happened to most of the like-minded people of my generation ... where are they today in the effort to save the Earth? When the '80s came along, Pres. Reagan changed the direction of the whole country toward the me-mine, get-it-now attitude of ultra capitalism; my former environmentally-concerned friends jumped ship into the ocean of instant gratification, becoming CEOs/CFOs/middle management & creating the Mega financial, business & industrial complexes that are now 'too big to fail,' enslaving us all in their web of lies & deceit. Politics, also, became much more divisive, and politicians much less trustworthy. Self-interest reigns supreme in human nature; altruism only comes into play after self-interest has been satisfied. For some, it's never satisfied, so altruism has become a rare commodity these past 2-3 generations. (continued...)

Apr. 22 2014 01:08 PM


The world I knew is not coming back; it's time for our next industrial revolution, a revolution to make a habitable planet for those that survive the crisis we're now hurtling headlong toward. I'm disappointedly glad I won't be alive to see this whirlwind get reaped, although the winds are blowing harder & harder each year. My hope is that the current generation & its use of interconnected technology could be the one to recognize the 'old' problem and have the strength & stamina to force positive change: when you don't have a job, it leaves a little more time to contemplate the universe. As for me, I will continue to the end of my strength and end of my days still recycling & composting ~ not for me any more, but for you & your kids. Anything is still better than nothing.

Apr. 22 2014 01:06 PM
joel mason from Manhattan

We compost our fruit and veggie scraps once a week at the Lower East Side Ecology table at Union Square. Before hauling the veggie scraps we store them in the freezer and when the bag is full, we cook them to make a nice vegetable broth. Saves $ and energy associated with buying packaged goods. Tastes better too!

Joel & Jenny

Apr. 22 2014 12:35 PM
Cab from Manhattan

My environmental activity is centered on Lake Dunmore in Vermont where I spend summers. I assist in controlling an invasive weed that can overwhelm the lake causing massive changes in the ecosystem. It was introduced by human means such as using uncleaned boats, trailers and motors from lake to lake thereby spreading the infestation.

What I and others in our community do is a form of environmental damage control that can be accomplished by a blend of individual and cooperative action. On a personal level, I do it because it is within my abilities to do so and since it involves a lot of swimming and snorkeling I get the benefit of the exercise as well as a sense of having engaged in an effective and cooperative manner with the problem.

In the long haul, it remains to be seen how successful our efforts will be; but we are doing something and trying to use our available resources to the best effect. It is a local attempt to resolve a small part of a global problem. It is an approach that, depending upon the circumstances, can work on a variety of water quality concerns.

Apr. 22 2014 11:51 AM
J.C. from NYC

Every day is my personal Earth Day.
It's sad that we need to be reminded about the planet we live on by designating a special day.
Every single day is Earth day!

Apr. 22 2014 11:34 AM

The first Earth Day gathering was held at Union Square, not Central Park. I know - I was there!

Apr. 22 2014 10:36 AM

Steve Cohen's insights are so interesting! Yesterday's Leonard Lopate talked a bit about the psychology of deniers and enemies of science, very relevant I think to the Climate Change issue. Agree that celebrating Columbus day is beyond ridiculous.

Apr. 22 2014 10:35 AM
John A

In response to the question, I never use airconditioning. Just dress accordingly.

Apr. 22 2014 10:33 AM
Wendy from Upper West Side

As I listen, I am putting what is left of fruits, vegetables, coffee grounds, etc. into the freezer so I can bring them to the compost collection at Sunday's neighborhood farmers market. Since someone mentioned it to me last year, I've done it every week. The opportunity to compost and make good use of earth-friendly "garbage" should be more broadly publicized - it's a great opportunity to make more good use of the good food we are privileged to eat.

Apr. 22 2014 10:30 AM
Jocelyn from Brooklyn

I called in, but got taken out of the call stack. I am a revolutionary, that's why I care about the environment. Its true that "its all connected", and that means climate crisis, environmental crisis, and the economic crisis aren't a matter of poor individual choice, but the very system we live in. The fossil fuel industry, for example, isn't breaking any of the rules of capitalism; it is following them. Exploiting workers, creating profit, and investing in 80% of underground fuel that according to the recent IPCC report couldn't be used without total destruction of the planet and humanity--this is all part of the logic of a society based on accumulation of capital, not on people suviving. McDonald's CUNY (where I teach as an adjunct and receive far below a living wage), the MTA--they are all built on the same logic. We need to not just understand how the world is connected, but take action to build a new society.

Today there are events all over the city. At Columbia University, from 12-8 on Butler Lawn there will be events all about how to take action Please come and organize.

Apr. 22 2014 10:29 AM

This segment is so smug and tedious I'm never going to recycle anything again!

Apr. 22 2014 10:21 AM
The Truth from Becky

I agreee with the caller, Kermit - let us drop Columbus day and make Earth Day a National Holiday!

Apr. 22 2014 10:16 AM
Nancy from Manhattan

Wear vintage clothes.

It's fabulously environmental, and takes you out (except for undies!) of the garmento-industrial complex, plus you'll look GREAT.

Apr. 22 2014 10:15 AM
Peg from paradise

I am very afraid of people like Ed and Martin C. And I'm very afraid for all the young children in the world today. These unfortunate darlings will inherit a very different and harsh world than we have at present.

Apr. 22 2014 10:13 AM
Dennis Dinzeo from Las Vegas, NV

The great unsung hero of Earth Day and every other day; Claire (Pat) Patterson...............saved us all from slow deaths by lead poisoning.
from Wikipedia:
Patterson's work both to determine the age of the Earth and his campaign against lead poisoning were central elements of the seventh episode of the 2014 series Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey.

Apr. 22 2014 10:11 AM
Ernie from UWS

Why is it a day of fear again?

Apr. 22 2014 10:11 AM

After listening yesterday's show, I'll just pray the invisible hand will provide.

Apr. 22 2014 09:42 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

So Ed, is that your tacit acceptance of the necessity of birth control? God forbid - abortion?

Apr. 22 2014 09:03 AM

“No politics, no hysteria, just science.”

Sorry, it’s too late. No sane person can deny that the climate scientists haven’t somewhat hyped the problem (and admittedly destroyed evidence to hide it), if for no other reason than their own self-interest in order to advance their funding, their importance and their careers.

Climate science is hopelessly politicized now. Even if you AGREE that there should be concern and action: try to debate the scope or urgency of the problem and you are vilified. (“The debate is over.”)
EVERYTHING is political now. It’s just another “war against ....” used by the partisans for whom life is now a never ending campaign.

Apr. 22 2014 09:02 AM
Ed from Larchmont

Perhaps we have almost fulfilled God's command 'Go, multiply, and fill the earth'. Perhaps.

Apr. 22 2014 08:03 AM

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