By Kathie Kuhn
“Today there is no longer a choice between violence and nonviolence. It is either nonviolence or nonexistence.”
Dr. Martin Luther King jr. spoke these words 40 years ago, and at the present we are undeniably on the brink of both non-violence and non-existence.
Our planet- our home- is in dire need of gentle loving care. Most certainly now is the time to be concerned and to dedicate ourselves to a healthy, united and sustainable world. Non-violence, in terms of our relationships with ourselves, each other, and the living planet, is not only possible but absolutely critical. There is a strong united global call for an end to poverty, abuse, war, racism, sexism, heterosexism, ableism, ageism, and environmental wreckage.
We are also faced with non-existence- people in power bent on division, exploitation and destruction resulting in an Earth ravaged by global warming, nuclear warfare, and ecological catastrophe. According to the EPA Toxins Release Inventory, 102 million pounds of toxins were released into the air, land and water in Michigan in 2005. Indeed, we are all endangered species.
In Michigan we are surrounded by 20% of the available fresh water in the world. What an awesome gift and responsibility! The everyday choices that we make have a direct effect on the quality of the Great Lakes. We can either be conscious stewards or we can add to the devastation that threatens human health, wildlife populations, and safe drinking water. The Lansing Board of Water and Light is of the top ten polluters in Michigan, and reducing energy consumption (i.e. turning off lights, appliances, etc.) is something we can all do to save our planet.
In the U.S., many consumer and lifestyle choices are heavily influenced by television. With the average American watching more than four hours of T.V. daily, we cannot analyze much about our society without taking this into account. Television advertisements and programming and other corporate mass media are given legitimacy and have become centrally defining factors in our culture Just what is being marketed on T.V.?
Cars, war, and chemical warfare for our bodies, homes and lawns. Plastic and other petroleum products, including many medications. ‘Cheap’ goods made by oppressed and even enslaved people, including children, who, along with the Earth, are exploited and abused for profit by giant corporations. Greed, competition, low self- esteem (thus the ‘need’ for more things- such as the mostly toxic ‘health and beauty aids’- to make us worthy), white male supremacy, bigotry and mean-spiritedness in general. ‘Food’: waxed, artificial, colored, poisoned, preserved, genetically engineered, hormone, antibiotic and sugar laden junk that leave us malnourished and unhealthy.
So what can we do???
Plant a garden. Share. Plant trees- without them we could not breathe. Smile. Buy clothes and goods second- hand. Walk, bicycle, or use public transportation. Unplug the T.V. Build community instead. Put a stop to all wars- by far the most toxic enterprise the world has ever known, with an increased usage of radioactive depleted uranium ammunitions and other horrendous attacks on the Earth and all living creatures. Urge representatives to support the Safe Climate Act (HR1590) to reduce global warming. Buy organic, and environmentally safe products. Discuss environmentalism.
Celebrate Earth Day, everyday!
Kathie Kuhn is the Chairperson of the Lansing Community College People for Positive Social Change