The Green City Challenge exists basically because many of us have overlooked the fact that we’re in this together. What we do to the earth, we do to ourselves. This is the disconnect that has led us to the state we’re in today. We have seen the effects of our appetite for energy with hydro fracking, mountain top removal, nuclear disasters, the gulf oil spill, and all the Garbage Patches in our oceans.
It is not just our modern culture exhausting our natural resources; we’ve been doing this for a long time. Before petroleum, New England used whale oil to light their lamps and make wax for their candles. They hunted down and killed every whale with 1000 miles of New England, and had to go further and further out to find whales for their oil. They would have killed every whale if petroleum hadn’t been discovered. And the further they had to go, the more the price went up for the oil. Whale oil was the basis of their economy, just like petroleum is today. Sooner or later, the Arctic National Wildlife refuge will be on the chopping block.
If you look at our economy you’ll see that it depends on the environment. Every product we have ever bought came from natural resources. Cell phones, IPads, televisions, all came from raw earth elements that were mined or harvested from the earth. It takes a considerable amount of energy to dig up raw earth resources, separate the waste, melt it down, mold it into the product it will become, and transport it to the Walmart store. We then drive over to buy it, drive back home, use it, and throw it away. Then a truck comes by and hauls it to a landfill!
In essence, we are transforming our natural landscapes into trash!
Our economy is based on increasing consumption but that model depends on ecosystems that are limited. Harvested forests may be replanted but they never increase in size. Mountain tops do not grow back. We have entered an era where this imbalance has to end. We can put it off as long as possible but the transition will only get more difficult. We must begin to build a new culture, one that is sustainable. If nothing is done to slow down the depletion of our natural resources, imagine what our lives will be like in another 20 years.
The Green City Challenge is supporting this transition to the new eco culture. We are showing people how to begin altering their lifestyle. As more and more people support green technology and green businesses, tthe economy will have a chance to transition along with us. If enough people patronize a deli because they serve biodegradable plastic ware and compost their food waste, the competition would then follow suit. Eventually it would become the norm. Capitalism will always adapt to any cultural shift. Jobs that depend on raw earth materials will decline as jobs in recycling and renewable energies will increase. It will not happen overnight. It will take time. So why not get started right now!
The Green City Challenge is here to connect people to non-profits and green businesses and we are helping to build a new culture that works with the earth instead of against it. Our annual challenge brings people into direct contact with small local green businesses.
So sign up and get involved!
By: John Messerschmidt