I think President Kennedy was on to something when he made the profound statement, "ask not what your country can do for you- ask what you can do for your country." Such words have never been so timely and appropriate despite the almost 50 years that have passed since he spoke them. President Kennedy continued with words that hauntingly describe our world today...
"Finally, whether you are a citizen of America or citizens of the world, ask of us the same high standards of strength and sacrifice which we ask of you. With a good conscience our only sure reward, with history as the final judge of our deeds, let us go forth to lead the land we love, asking His blessing and His help, but knowing that here on earth God's work must truly be our own."
We, the people, need to act, and we need to act swiftly. Not tomorrow, or the next day. Today. It is not the extinction of polar bears that I am worried about. While I find polar bears to be tremendously adorable, all cuddly out there on their melting ice caps, it is the human race that I am concerned out. It is humans that will become extinct. We do not need to save Planet Earth. We need to save ourselves because in the end the Earth will survive. She will restore and regenerate herself, but we don't have the same means. Once we kill ourselves off, that is it. There is no restoring and regenerating.
I know what you're thinking. Oh, but we're smarter than that. We have technology to make sure that doesn't happen, and besides, nothing bad is really going to happen anyway. Wrong. Just look at what happened during Hurricane Katrina. My guess is that Mother Earth is pretty pissed off and she was just letting off a little steam with that storm. Imagine Katrina 10 fold and you might get a glimmer of what is to come if we throw away our resources without a second thought. We have turned into a world of consumerism that is ruining our planet. We spend, and buy, and drive, and burn, and throw away everything we spend all of our time working to pay off. Life can be so much more simple. And one day, we might end up like the Katrina refugees who were required to live more simply because they had no choices. According to the United Nations, by the middle of the century there could potentially be 150 million environmental refugees. Once we get to that point, your choices are gone, my friend.
If every citizen around the world, however, made it a point to reduce their carbon footprint today we could reduce our oil consumption by 90%. 90%!!! Come 'on already. Even if we can only get half of the world to give it a shot we'd still be a hell of a lot better off.
So think about Kennedy's statement. What can you do for your country? What can you do for your world? A whole lot more than you realize. It's the little steps. The little actions that add up to a very big movement. So today, start. Find one thing to help the Earth, and tomorrow find another. Maybe then you'll have a few more choices down the road. Choices that you are currently taking for granted.
"You can always count on Americans to do the right thing- after they've tried everything else." -Winston Churchill