Cameron Conaway explains why good men must care for the environment, not dominate it.
Many articles here at The Good Men Project have talked about the biological and mythological drives that make men be and want to be dominant. But there has not been an article that’s talked explicitly about the single most consistent and easily exploited source that has “fueled” men’s dominant drive: The Environment.
Exclaimer: To the people outspoken against the triple bottom line and climate change, to the people wanting to end the EPA because it’s stopping economic growth: You are homicidal and suicidal without know it or showing it. Talk about a lack of transparency. Environmental and social activist Derrick Jensen said it best, “The needs of the natural world are more important than the needs of the economic system.”
But what do we hear about during political debates or from the President or from nearly every media outlet? Economic growth. What are our politicians saying will create economic growth and get the economy moving? Construction. And what is construction mostly? Destruction.
Those unemployed during these difficult economic times are struggling hard. But their struggles should not be alleviated by jobs that rely on overusing finite resources. That’s putting a Band-Aid on the exposed veins of a severed limb.
Without hesitation, I can say that most men in positions of corporate power see the environment as something there to be used and abused. It’s a free source to be exploited so their company can be successful. It’s easy and cheap. It’s the quiet victim they know can’t speak out. In that sense, as I’ve controversially stated before regarding porn, exploiting the environment unsustainably is for wimps. In fact, you are a wimp even if you are ignorant about this issue. Ignorance isn’t an excuse anymore.
Like Luke in this clip from Modern Family, we need to learn to be frugal. Now. We need to learn, as we’ve done during depressions and WWII—to make do with what we have. To stop saying to ourselves, “the sky’s the limit” if it means first crushing species and permanently destroying the environment for the sake of finding a trace chemical that fuels the umpteenth iPad. If it means flying a pre-boxed Caesar Salad 3,000 miles to make it to store shelves.
Remember in gradeschool dodgeball how you’d first take out the easy opponents—the uncoordinated or underdeveloped kids? That came from instinct and learned behavior. We see early in life that other things can be stomped on. When I purchased my Jack Russell Terrier puppy he was absolutely tormenting a smaller, weaker dog. The world is all about survival. Unfortunately, like smoking, the environment shows the effects of its degradation slowly. Doubly unfortunate is that we don’t realize the degradation of the environment is the degradation of ourselves. Whereas with smoking we will eventually see our symptoms and get to the hospital for our cancer, regarding the environment, we’ll die before we have the chance to know what we did and what symptoms in us it caused.
In 2011, most men do not care about the environment because they don’t live there. They may work there but they don’t live there. They work in high-rise cubicles and enclosed garage warehouses, they live, as I do here in Bangkok, mostly seeing the environment or whatever traces are left of it through windowpanes. Soon, we’ll be looking out through widow pains. Veni, vidi, Vici. We Came, we saw, we Conquered.
It’s cool when fashion recycles itself. It’s not cool when sustainable living does because it means there was (and is as I write) a period of absolute and possibly irreversible destruction.