Gay and Green
The Sunday of Memorial Day weekend was one of the most beautiful mornings we’ve had in Rehoboth Beach all year. Bright and clear, with a perfect blue sky and delightful temperatures, it was the kind of day that wiped out memories of our long, cold winter, and eased us right into Summer 2014.
My intention this morning was to write an article about Gay Pride Month—and maybe I still will—but at the moment, I’m completely caught up in that blue sky and the sharp clarity of the day. I am filled with gratitude and awe that I am able to live in such a beautiful place.
Yet even as I think those words, a dark cloud appears on the horizon of my mind, and I remember the recent dire environmental warnings so much in the news of late. On a beautiful day at the beach, like today, I find it hard to worry about what rising oceans will do to our dear Rehoboth Beach and her sister cities up and down the coast.
And therein lies the problem.
We find it hard to think about what the future will look like—especially if we have to make changes in our lives, or worse yet, make sacrifices in order to insure that future generations will be able to enjoy beautiful beach days like this one.
Quite a number of years ago, I made myself a promise that I would do my very best to recycle as much as I possibly could. For the most part, I’ve done that. Here at CAMP Rehoboth we also try to do a good job of recycling. We have six large recycling bins behind the Community Center, and several containers inside and outside in the CAMP Courtyard marked “recycling only.” Still, I can’t help but notice how often people—staff, volunteers, visitors, and caterers alike—fail to take the time to put recyclable trash into the proper containers. Even at our own big events, we haven’t been able to get a good handle on recycling bottles and cans.
I don’t in any way claim to be an authority on environmental issues. It’s one of the areas I keep promising myself I will learn more about…in my spare time. Sound familiar? I really would like to know exactly what happens to all those bottles and cans and cardboard boxes I’ve been recycling all these years.
For all of us, recycling is a small way we can help the world around us, and yet, until we completely change the way we think about our relationship to the planet as a whole—about the very foundation of the way we design and manufacture our products—we will not be successful in our efforts to save our home world. That means that the disposal/reclamation of a product should be as important to its design as it is to its function.
Nature is filled with cycles that provide inspiration for changing the way we think about living in the world around us. Trees are a perfect example. Trees give us oxygen. The leaves fall from the trees and nourish the soil so more trees can grow and give is more oxygen. According to the New York Times: "One acre of trees annually consumes the amount of carbon dioxide equivalent to that produced by driving an average car for 26,000 miles. That same acre of trees also produces enough oxygen for 18 people to breathe for a year."
We need to act more like trees.
We also need to give our politicians a good switch on the butt with a nicely trimmed tree branch! The politicization of “climate change” is a terrible disservice to the progress of humanity. Just last week, the House of Representatives passed an amendment by Rep. David McKinley (R-WV) that would prevent the Department of Defense from spending money on climate change related national security issues.
The amendment reads: “None of the funds authorized to be appropriated or otherwise made available by this Act may be used to implement the U.S. Global Change Research Program National Climate Assessment, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Fifth Assessment Report, the United Nation’s Agenda 21 sustainable development plan, or the May 2013 Technical Update of the Social Cost of Carbon for Regulatory Impact Analysis Under Executive Order.”
Even monumental change happens in tiny increments. A glacier melts in the artic, and drop by drop the water is added to the ocean. By itself it is nothing but a drop of water; altogether it is a flood.
If each one of us changed our thinking about our relationship to the planet in a small way, we could flood the world with new energy and ideas and hope for an environmentally sound and sustainable home for us all.
I guess my article on Gay Pride Month will just have to wait for the next issue of Letters. I will say, that I’m quite proud of our LGBT community and that we are a particularly creative and trendsetting bunch. Add that to the fact that “environmental projects” do have a mention in the CAMP Rehoboth Mission Statement and Purpose, and who knows what good ideas we can generate.
In the immortal words of Kermit the frog, “it’s not easy being green.”
Murray Archibald, CAMP Co-founder and President of the Board of Directors of CAMP Rehoboth, is an artist in Rehoboth Beach.