Today is Blog Action day, dedicated to blogging about the environment.
Not many people know this, but I graduated from Michigan State University in 1986 with a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science. (I also got a B.S. in Anthropology, but that was meant just for my own enjoyment.)
Why am I not working in the environmental field? The year I graduated, Mr. Watt took office and sliced the DNR budget right in half. No jobs for someone in the middle of the grade range as I was. High B's weren't going to get me hired in the ever-diminishing pool of jobs to be had. So I moved to Japan and continued teaching English as a second language... but I digress.
Things have come a long way in the two decades since. Of course there is still plenty of room for improvement, but these days kids are taught energy saving tips right along with frog dissection in science class.
Major companies have seen the economic value of catering to the millions of people concerned with leaving a smaller footprint. Just take a gander at the lighting aisle in your local supermarket if you need to verify this, or pay attention to the larger percentage of commercials touting the environmental consciousness of companies from the big auto industry to flooring manufacturers. I adore the change in housing choices available, and the prevalence of educational how-to shows that inform a consumer of the most recent advances.
More people need to recycle, more people need to carpool, and more companies need to pay more than lip-service to the idea of leaving the earth a better place than when they formed their business, but it is encouraging to compare the profile of environmental issues twenty years ago, and now.
In 1986 the Nobel Peace Prize was given to Elie Wiesel, Chairman of The President's Commission on the Holocaust. A worthy recipient, no doubt about that. " The Norwegian Nobel Committee believes that Elie Wiesel, with his message and through his practical work in the cause of peace, is a convincing spokesman for the view of mankind and for the unlimited humanitarianism which are at all times necessary for a lasting and just peace."
Twenty one years later, in 2007, the co-winners are Al Gore and the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change "for their efforts to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate change, and to lay the foundations for the measures that are needed to counteract such change."
In 1986 (heck even in 2006) people speaking of the threat of global warming were considered alarmists.
I thank the Gods times have changed. Lets hope it's enough, in time.