All There Is to Be
The convenient truth: taking better charge of what we already have
By Dwight Young | From Preservation | January/February 2008
These days, with everybody talking about "greening,"
It's obvious that what used to be just the name of a pretty color has
taken on a whole new meaning.
No matter how you feel about it—profoundly skeptical, utterly terrified, or only mildly annoyed—
Global warming (or if you prefer something a bit less apocalyptic and slightly more benign, climate change) is a topic you just can't avoid.
If you believe the pundits and prognosticators, it becomes more frighteningly apparent every day that it will take all the powers of Merlin and Gandalf and Spider-Man and Harry Potter
To keep mankind from burning up as the temperatures
keep getting hotter.
And while folks are sweltering
The polar icecaps are meltering.
And if this alarming trend keeps up, it won't be long before a worldwide sea level rise gives New York's penthouse dwellers an unsettling view
Of surfers hanging ten in the middle of Fifth Avenue.
Of course, every Tom, Dick, and Millie
Has a solution to the problem, some of which strike me as impractical, if not downright silly.
I saw a guy on TV, for instance, who earnestly insisted we all take up residence in houses made of bales of hay.
Let me say this about that: Nay.
Didn't one of the Three Little Pigs build his house of straw,
And didn't it make the Big Bad Wolf chortle and guffaw?
And here's another question that probably isn't very bright, but I'm going to go ahead and repeat it:
If your whole house is made of hay, what happens when a cow decides to eat it?
When you get right down to it, the crisis that we face today
Is simply the result of our longstanding love affair with wasting and polluting and throwing stuff away.
I certainly don't mean to downplay the seriousness of the crisis, but let's face it, it ain't exactly rocket science
To recognize that one fairly simple first step is for preservationists and environmentalists to form a strong, long-overdue alliance.
And proclaim this message: OK, people, over the course of these past few centuries we've all taken this poor old planet on a hair-raising, hell-for-leather ride,
But now it's time to stop this foolishness and let good
sense be our guide.
We're all in the same boat here (actually, it might be more accurate to say we're all in the same cooking pot)
And we need to spend less time running after whatever's newer and bigger, and more time making ourselves better stewards of what we've got.
I hope you won't think me mean
When I tell you that I'm getting pretty tired of hearing people quote Kermit the Frog saying it's not easy being green.
I'm not arguing with the simple, inescapable truth of that statement—but if you ask me, another line from that same song shows us what we really need to see:
Green is all there is to be.
For more photos, stories, and tips, subscribe to the print edition of Preservation magazine.