I just finished reading State of Fear by Michael Crichton, and sweet Jesus was it ever an eye-opener.
I had resisted reading it because I had heard, to my dismay, that the book denigrated the environmental movement. It does; that's no lie. More accurately, the book denigrates the rhetoric behind the environmental movement.
Lord knows I have spouted more than my fair share. I've gotten in some pretty heated discussions with the like-minded about the ghastly state of the planet, the greenhouse effect, the spotted owl, and who knows what all else. Unfortunately, I have never actually known what I am talking about. All of my information comes from the media and a lot of it comes from the fundraising packets that flow daily into my mailbox. I rarely argue my point with people who disagree because I don't have a single fact to stand on, and that's the truth.
I love the earth. I love nature. I want the beautiful places on the earth to outlast human development. Thus, I am an environmentalist.
Sadly, defending the environment has somehow become enmeshed with fear-mongering. Global warming, climate change, deforestation, famine--that's all we hear about. Isn't anything good happening? Isn't there anything to be glad about? Isn't the earth still a gorgeous, miraculous place?
I happen to think it is. What's more, after reading this book, I have to admit it's possible that this planet is vast enough and complex enough to be able to outlast our stinking industrial chimneys and blazing fossil fuels. It's even possible that we're not quite smart enough to even understand this planet, let alone manage it. And it's probable that science and politics are sharing the bed when it comes to environmental matters, which is bound to muddy the factual waters.
I like to think of myself as an open-minded person, even when my very favorite causes are challenged. As I consider these possibilities I have been feeling a surprising reaction: relief.
Hey, maybe we're not going down the tubes. Maybe the earth is doing what it always does--changing. We've been changing right along with it for a long time.
Maybe it's not the end of frickin days after all. But I will still recycle, just in case.