I have been having some morbid eco thoughts of late. Various green friends and family members and even many colleagues have been expressing fatigue with the futility of the environmental movement. Their eco malaise, coupled with increasing apocalyptic global warming headlines, the recent failure of the G8 to make any real and significant progress and the firm belief that only more foolish political posturing and stalling will take place at the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen this December, is enough to drive my mind to some hopeless places.

Frankly, my dark state of mind was not helped by a recent trip to the city of Victoria on Vancouver Island. Now Victoria is hardly a booming metropolis, it is located on a smallish island off the coast of western Canada, home to about 735,000 people.

Victoria is really not so different from where I live on Salt Spring Island. I think of Victoria as a bigger, more densely populated and overdeveloped rendition of Salt Spring Island. But whereas Salt Spring Island still retains its wild, natural beauty, Victoria is now an ugly urban place.

I tell myself that ugliness, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder and I remind myself that there is also relative and absolute beauty. But Victoria, in my eyes, has lost its natural beauty.

I know that for some people this small seaside city may still be the closest thing to paradise they have ever seen, but for me, born and raised on Vancouver Island within a few kilometres of Victoria, all I see when I visit is the relentless construction, the crowds, the concrete, the deforestation and the dryness. Everywhere you look is bumper-to-bumper traffic, overbuilt, dry, damaged and so unbelievably parched.

I make my trips to Victoria as short and as infrequent as possible. Hard when the majority of my friends and family still reside on Vancouver IslandÖ

After my recent record-breaking brief trip, I found myself waiting in the biggest no-accident or construction site related traffic jam I had ever seen on the Pat Bay Highway (yes, in a small compact car also directly contributing to the climate change problem) on the way to the ferry terminal and back to Salt Spring Island. I looked around at the sea of cars filled with grim looking people, some eating their fast food or chatting on their cellphones, and others with their music blaring, most with their windows closed against the heat and using their energy inefficient air conditioning, and the state of the planet flashed before my eyes.

It was a weird Baraka/Koyaanisqatsi kind of moment.

Thank Christ I was sitting down as a litany of human ills, woes, ignorance, pestilence and well, for lack of a better word, sin, passed before my eyes.

I saw stupid politicians, Hummers, mountaintop removal, the invasion of Iraq for oil, Hurricane Katrina, drought, clearcut logging, Monsanto, factory farming, engine idlers, the Great Garbage Patch in the Pacific, animal extinctionÖ and it went on and on. It seemed liked an hour passed, but in reality the traffic hadnít budged at all.

I felt sick. I opened my windows wider and inhaled deeply of the ripe fumes of engine exhaust from the enormous SUV in front of me, filled with fussy children (one stuck their tongue out and I swear another wagged a diminutive middle finger at meÖ).

At that moment, I had a sudden realization that the entire species probably canít fundamentally change enough or for that matter, change quick enough, to save the earth or ourselves.

Havenít we all learned this lesson when dealing with loved ones? Sure, we might be able to make a few adjustments (like teaching people to use reusable bags or eat a bit less meat), but I donít believe you can fundamentally change the entire essence of a person, population or species.

I started to wonder, are we environmental activists really so naive? Or are we really just that self-preserving? I realize that some of us are willing to work, at all costs, to save the planet. While others canít see past the dashboard of their Hummer or over the plate of their steak and couldnít care less what the future holds.

So in this moment, with these dark thoughts filling my head, I wondered maybe if we truly love the earth, the plants and the animals, we should stop trying to change the seemingly unchangeable human species and maybe just accept the somewhat grim future orchestrated by the majority of the human population.

Valerie Williams is a writer living on Salt Spring Island with five chicken friends. She is also the editor of GreenMuze. Her dark thoughts were a temporary lapse of reason that quickly passedÖ

Via:www.greenmuze. ??m

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