Rick Dubrow’s “On The Level” Column in the Cascadia Weekly; Published 5-2-07
Government tends to wait quite some time to react to a problem, doesn’t it? The delay between problem recognition and embracing a solution set can be forever long and typically diluted in its effectiveness. Political compromise crawls at a slug’s pace.
Then there’s the Precautionary Principle, a key environmental concept that suggests this: once the majority of the scientific jury is in about a particular issue, logic demands that we begin to enact the solution. It may simply prove too late to wait for consensus or yet another study confirming the momentum of data that is already compelling.
Consider this system dynamic we find ourselves in: government tends to react slowly and weakly, while threatening environmental problems compel us to react quickly and strategically!
The result is that, at times, we have the right to behave in a certain way even though we know, at our core, that it’s not the right thing to do.
My immediate reflex is to suggest a few examples for you but I’m not going to do your homework for you! Instead, consider what you do that you know, in your heart, is the wrong thing to do. Something for which society offers you a smokescreen behind which to hide. “Hey, there’s no regulation against such-and-such, so I can carry on! When our government knows that such behavior is wrong, I’m sure they’ll take the necessary actions to make it right!”
Wrong. Remember the governmental lag time and its probable dilution?
How long have we known, for example, the intelligence of increasing the average fuel efficiency of our vehicle fleet? Like….. forever. Instead we’ve gone backwards. Our fleet continues to crawl. Frankly, it’s beyond embarrassing. It’s criminal.
You live in a city with environmental behavior that’s off the charts. Our per capita environmental performance for things like hybrid vehicle ownership and green power purchasing reveal a population that is more aware and intelligent than the norm. We are a strange and wonderful breed….. a people who adore our natural world and are willing to fight for it. We’re willing to act in ways we know are right; towards solutions we wish our government would lead us.
We simply can’t wait for government to catch up to the problems at hand while our natural world continues to unravel. Hence the dance: we can regulate ourselves, voluntarily, or involuntary regulations will follow.
You and I need to do what’s right, sooner, not later, even though others choose to behave otherwise by hiding behind lagging and ineffective environmental laws. I can only dream that if enough of us act in unison with the natural world, leadership may unfold that will align society’s law with natural law.
In the meantime, this I know: we cannot grow on like this. We need to get a grip on our numbers and we need to get a grip on the average ecological footprint that each of our numbers brings forth.
Consider doing what’s right even if you have the right to do otherwise.