Happy Earth Day*, I suppose

Yes, it's Earth Day today. So, enjoy it.

I, apparently, am a blight upon the face of this Earth. A quiz over at Earth Day Network tells me that my "Total Ecological Footprint" is 13 (apparently 24 is the average for Americans so I'm doing quite well there).

It also adds (in capital letters),


A problem with that statement is that it doesn't tell me when we'd need those extra planets.

If you ask me, environmentalists have a bad rep in this country. I was part of a conversation yesterday in which another student expressed their concern for being known as a "tree-hugging hippie" if they ended up studying about the environment. Most folks I know back home (both in Nepal and Thailand) are pragmatic about their use of "the environment". Trees are to be cut so one can have wood for fire, soil is to be tilled so plants can be grown and animals are to be eaten since they taste good (though, Nepal doesn't allow eating of cows. Buffaloes, on the other hand, can be slaughtered and quite frequently are). I guess if you've grown up being told that it's either one (environment) or the other (economics/business), or if big firms are involved, then the issue is different. But, why should it be a question of environment/firms? Can't (shouldn't) you have both?

I would say I'm an environmentalist--after all, I have a degree (rather unused) in Environmental politics, my Masters thesis was on conflict-management in community-based forestry programmes (yes, I like hyphens) and I spent nearly two years of my life writing and working on issues of "agroindustrial development". I don't hug trees though and don't think much about the spiritual growth potential of environmentalism/meditation (I've been reading flyers for the Summer classes at TUWSNBN and I didn't make that one up, I swear). I find the position of being an environmentalist who doesn't hug trees, support PETA and thinks big businesses can be useful is similar to that of a security studies scholar who researches foreign policy as identity and looks at discourses--useful in pointing out cracks in the "mainstream" way of looking at things and answering questions that the mainstream often doesn't ask or cannot answer.

* PTSD realises that only having an “Earth” day violates various universal guidelines about considering all planets to be our potential friends but, as Earth is the foremost of all planets and pretty much the only one we, as a species, seem to be interested in celebrating, it’s Happy Earth Day to you all.

PTSD also does not condone the value-judgement behind using “Earth” as the only planet worth having a “Happy” day for. Instead, PTSD would like to recommend having a Happy Universe day. Or, even allowing each planet to have its own Happy Day. A Happy Earth day seems rather isolationist, to us. It’s not like Earth has much to celebrate.


At 4/24/2006 10:30 AM, Anonymous serena said...

if its a consolation, I have a footprint of 12 and i need 2.7 planets...LOL

At 4/25/2006 12:54 AM, Blogger Priya said...

I wonder what the 0.7 (or 0.9) of a planet involves? I guess they'll be focusing on Big Important Things like America which means Nepal will probably not make it into the 0.7 (it "might" make it into the 0.9, since it does have terrorists and all. Not like those South Pacific countries or Greenland or even Scandinavia, which really don't have much to talk of)

At 4/25/2006 9:13 AM, Anonymous serena said...

LOL that's an interesting perspective, but wouldn't they rather have those non-terrorist countries and the scandanavian ones that have very little? that would make for better ecological planets i think


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