Thursday, April 26, 2007

Who'd be an environmentalist?

I sometimes think it must be so disheartening to be an environmentalist.
I mean a professional environmentalist - one in the business, so to speak - not just a concerned individual who wants to do the right thing. I would put myself in the latter class, and that can be disheartening and frustrating enough.
But imagine what it must be like to be fighting an uphill battle ALL the time. Fighting governments, corpocracy, indifference and apathy. Fighting other environmentalists and splinter groups, even. That has to get pretty depressing, surely.
Imagine knowing what needs to be done and then watching as things slide ineluctably in the oppposite direction. Imagine knowing that progress is unlikely in your lifetime, if ever, but equally knowing that you have to continue the good fight, if only for the good of your own conscience.
Add to that the nagging doubts at the back of their minds. Even the most committed greeny must have some doubts about at least some parts of what they espouse. Most environmental issues are not clear-cut - even in this blog I have pointed out several instances of these kinds of dichotomies (e.g. switch to CFLs to save energy, but what about disposal of the mercury they contain; support Kyoto because it's the best we currently have, even though it is fatally flawed and next to useless; close down coal-powered power stations, and run the risk of increasing our dependency on nuclear energy; promote ethanol to save on oil use, but what about the energy and CO2 emissions associated with fertilizing, growing, harvesting and processing the ethanol; etc, etc) - and most involve some sort of trade-off and compromise in the real world. This must all lead to added stress and weariness in their lives.
So, give them a break! The next time you see someone campaigning on your high street, or begging for door-to-door donations, give them a boost - a little bit extra, a kind word. I know from my active campaigning days, many moons ago, it can make a big difference.

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