Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Deep Thought For The Day

By the Environmental Protection Agency, EPA:

EPA officials concluded that a pesticide, when it's deliberately applied, isn't a "pollutant" under the terms of the 1972 Clean Water Act. Consequently, after considering nearly 700 public comments, officials ruled that federal "discharge" permits aren't necessary when using pesticides to control waterborne pests.

Ok. So if I accidentally-like spill some weedkiller on the ground I pollute, but if I calmly and deliberately spray it on someone's face I'm not polluting? Just kidding, I know what the statement means.

But what it also means is that we have an agency with a name having something to do with protecting the environment but which does mostly the exact opposite, and that is quite hilarious in a sinister and mean way.

I don't write enough on the environment. This is partly because there are other blogs doing it much better than I can, but also partly, because I get so very angry when I try to write on it. I garden, and I keep a garden diary which clearly shows the effect of global warming on my little plot of Eden, the global warming which wingnuts say doesn't exist. That is not what makes me angry, though. What makes me angry is the whole idea that there is this thing called the "environment", something totally separate from us, and that we may, if we so choose, protect it. Or not, depending on whose livelihood is threatened or whose religion argues that protection is unnecessary. And all the time this so-called "environment" is all we have to live in. If we kill it we, too, will be gone like fleas on a dead dog.

My stance is partly spiritual, but I don't think one needs to approach the question from that point of view. It's much simpler than that: What are you going to drink when there is no more clean water? What are you going to breathe when there are insufficient trees to make oxygen for us?

But a spiritual take is not a bad one as a counterweight for all those centuries of philosophical arguments which have tried to distance human beings from nature by elevating the former and by debasing the latter, because it is these arguments which make it so very easy for some to think that protecting the environment is optional and hippy.