Last Sunday, on October 10th 2010, I attended a "work party" put on by '350.org.' '350.org' is an organization determined to spread awareness and knowledge about environmental issues, especially the amount of Carbon Dioxide in Earth's atmosphere. The organization's logo, 350, is the amount of CO2, in ppms, needed to sustain life as we know it on Earth. Currently we are at 388ppms of CO2 in the atmosphere.
The work party I went to was in Lakeville MN. The famed environmentalist and arctic explorer Will Steger was there and he gave a speech on just how critical it is that we protect and try to reverse the damage the human population has done to the environment. The day also consisted of a choice between a ten and a three mile bike ride around down town Lakeville and the new bike paths all over the city. This was promoting people to take their bike instead of their cars when doing everyday errands such as grocery shopping or going to work. There were also a few other speakers discussing their personal contributions by biking to the grocery store and commuting by bike and how it not only is good for the environment by lowering carbon emissions but is also a great way to exercise.
Being involved in this event to lower carbon emissions and bring a greater understanding of global climate change reminded me a lot of the class discussion on denial, surrounding hurricane Katrina. Especially during the George Bush presidency, congress denied the fact that global warming was occurring, ignoring the studies of multiple scientists, allowing most of the public to turn a blind eye towards the dangers that surrounded pollution and burning of the Earth's limited fossil fuels. If congress had accepted the fact of global climate change, which most other countries did right off the bat, we could have gotten a head start on protecting the Earth instead of continuing to damage it.
However, this event also brought another form on denial to my attention, that of personal denial. We all like to think we are changing our ways and making a difference by going on a bike ride like this, but to what extent are we really? So many people drove from surrounding towns and even from a close neighborhood to this park in order to participate in this bike ride, resulting in an unnecessary car trip. We use these events as a personal comfort, making us feel like we aren't the ones at fault; it's everyone else that is destroying the environment, ignoring the fact that we ourselves are a big part of the problem.