Wednesday, February 16, 2011

See your footprint?

Bear on black snow

A few years ago I met a woman from the South who had never seen snow before she moved here. We talked about how beautiful and enchanting snow is and how we both loved it. Eventually, predictably, the conversation turned to how snow in a big city looks after a few weeks on the ground. "Why would anyone do that to snow?" she said.
Her comment seemed charming, almost funny. Of course no one does that to snow. It just happens.

That’s what I thought then.

It’s easy to not see a link between what we do and what happens in the world and to the world. The result of any one action seems inconsequential, and undetectable: even the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is invisible from satellites.

But that doesn’t mean that our choices don’t have consequences. And that, maybe is the real magic of snow. For once, something can show us, quite literally in black and white, how we are polluting our world.

What’s the answer? There are certainly no big, easy ones, just a lot of little, sometimes difficult ones. But I believe before the world can collectively solve this, we have to all individually acknowledge our role in it. And that’s not easy. It goes back to the question, “Who would do that to snow?” And it requires a painful, honest answer for all of us:
“I would do that to snow.”


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