Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Today is the day when we celebrate the life and legacy of an inspiration, a leader, a teacher, a human that makes mistakes like the rest of us, and a man that helped change the world. Some days I feel like we have so much further to go. And that’s true. Other days I can see how far we’ve come. And that’s true too.
I would love to say a belated happy birthday to Dr. King today. I would love to see his dream come completely true. I wish that we could have seen his potential through to where he wanted us all to go. (“If wishes were horses, beggars would ride.” And there would be no reason to wish, just as there is nothing great that can really come from wishing except to put the fire within and pull us toward action by pen, foot, or realization.)
“In any situation, the best thing you can do is the right thing; the next best thing you can do is the wrong thing; the worst thing you can do is nothing.”
Setting an example is not the main means of influencing others; it is the only means.
All progress is precarious, and the solution of one problem brings us face to face with another problem.
~Martin Luther King, Jr.
Which reminded me of a thought-provoking essay I read over the weekend, “Confessions of a Recovering Environmentalist” by Paul Kingsnorth. It is long. I almost didn’t read it, yet it drew me in. Modern environmentalists have to fight the fires coming from all ends of the spectrum. I wouldn’t say the author is recovering from anything, he is only staying true to himself. That is admirable in this time. I only wish we had more people that realize that solutions to fossil fuels is not always simple and in fact, often causes more problems due to our consistent greed and consumerist lifestyle.
Kingsnorth offers up some beliefs I take issue with, even though I am perhaps a bit biased and a bit out of touch with the mainstream movement myself. He says, “If ‘sustainability’ is about anything, it is about carbon.” And he is saying that ultimately what is coming from the mainstream movement is this, which is eliminating the connection with nature, the realization that we are nature is lost.
“This reductive approach to the human-environmental challenge leads to an obvious conclusion: if carbon is the problem, then “zero-carbon” is the solution. Society needs to go about its business without spewing the stuff out. It needs to do this quickly, and by any means necessary.”
And then to really throw a wrench in how I feel justice should be served, “To square the circle, for those who still realized there was a circle, we were told that “social justice and environmental justice go hand in hand”—a suggestion of such bizarre inaccuracy that it could surely only be wishful thinking.”
Oh, oh. Could it be true? Could fighting for social justice and environmental justice be an anomaly or even contradictory?
I believe that both carbon and the steadily rising population both contribute to social injustice and environmental degradation. Really, can’t we do both? I suspect Kingsnorth’s argument might say something about how the bourgeoisie are unwilling to give up anything to make that happen. We must be radical to win the fight.
Going Green for Dr. King.
Dr. King was an inspiring leader and teacher who worked to end prejudice and discrimination. He fought ignorance and irrational fears just as those working for civil rights and the environment do today. I believe he would fight for both social and environmental justice (no matter what others may decide is the history of such terms) were he still alive and that is just what I intend to do now. What about you?
Will you do something in honor of his memory today. this week, this month, this year?
Consider giving of yourselves to help nature. We are all a part of nature, we just need to remember that and stop trying to separate ourselves from it.
“During times of universal deceit telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.”
~ George Orwell
What truth will you tell?
Listen to Nina Simone tell her truth: I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to Be Free