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April 26, 2007

Money isn't always evil.

When you are dealing with a population of such a large size with such variance in morals, you really do have to find something that can appeal to all of them. Money! Our country doesn’t run on our morals (though it is nice to think) as much as it does on money and economic advancement. We are capitalists not socialists. Look at what the prospect of money has done to the work force. It’s hard to imagine many people going to work if they weren’t being paid. Would you ever think that if we appealed to people’s “better side? and told them that it would better our society if they worked for free, that many people would go to work willingly? It’s a wonderfully idealistic thought and completely unrealistic. The same thing applies to leading sustainable lives. We need incentives if we are to limit our freedom!
People have talked a lot about the wealthy who are unwilling to comply or just don’t care and continue to drive their SUVs. However, I think that one demographic we often forget in our society is the lower class working families who are struggling just to survive. How could you possibly care what is happening to your environment if you can barely support yourself and your family? The tactic of appealing to people’s emotions and their “better nature? cannot be feasible when there are so many other things to worry about in our world for many people. Of course I’m not saying that such people don’t care, but that for humans, survival is always most important. If you can’t survive now, what difference does it make what happens in the future?
The ability to have time or means to take care of the world is a privilege that many people don’t have. Before we are to tackle this issue at a global(or even national) level in terms of appealing to people’s “better sides?, we must eliminate all other factors that are most immediately important. Only when there are no wars or famine or squalor, can we expect everyone to think of what we are doing to future generations. Until than we have to think in terms of self-interest. Many people don’t have any other way to live.

April 19, 2007

didn't we learn in 2nd grade that generalizations are bad?

While I find that Williams has a point in drawing a connection between the subjection of women and subjection of land, I think she does an awful job in presenting her case. Her stance on the issue and writing in this essay alienates too many for it to be an effective piece. While I am pro-equal rights, I tend to think that extreme feminism is just a reversal of sexism. The essay is teeming with generalizations that I think detract from any point that she may have and discredit her.
To say that women have a spiritual connection to the land is an outrageous generalization. I don’t even know what that means. Spiritual connection has nothing to do with whether you have one x-chromosome or two in my estimation. Williams and her friend may have a special connection to the land, just the same as men such as Thoreau or Abbey. I’m sure there are millions of women and men who have no spiritual connection to the land. It’s about your principles, not your anatomy.
What I think causes an alienation from nature is not an inherent loss of intimacy realized at birth, but a need for wealth and power that grasps some(of both sexes) later in life. Williams talks about the perpetrators of destructive actions against the earth as being men who have lost touch with themselves. I think she should be blaming people who have forgotten other factors and now think only of themselves.
The key issue here however is the continuation of the “blame game?. We’ve had this discussion before about science and religion. Pointing fingers only allows the problem to continue to grow while we squabble amongst ourselves. Williams gives a recommendation that men change their ways, but spends most of the essay bashing our actions. Maybe we should all change our ways. Maybe women and men are having an equally negative impact on the environment. What does it mean that women have a special spiritual connection to the land that men don’t? If they do then why don’t I see a drastic difference in the way that men and women treat the earth? Until I see that there is a remarkable difference, I will refuse to accept the point that Williams makes.
There is no difference between men and women. There is a difference between people who care and people who don't.