We can be ethical only in relation to something that we can see, feel, understand, love, or otherwise have faith in.
From Aldo Leopold’s “The Land Ethic”.
Published in 1949 as the finale to A Sand County Almanac, Leopold’s ‘Land Ethic’ defined a new relationship between people and nature and set the stage for the modern conservation movement.
Leopold understood that ethics direct individuals to cooperate with each other for the mutual benefit of all. One of his philosophical achievements was the idea that this ‘community’ should be enlarged to include non-human elements such as soils, waters, plants, and animals, “or collectively: the land.” - Via.
Gah! Yet another flubbery enviro-PSA. It’s 2012. We KNOW the problems. People need to know the solutions! At 4 minutes and 20 seconds long, it dedicates 10 seconds(!) to a weak and wispy appeal to the public to “do something.” Well, like what? Their answer (like most enviro-PSAs) is that, “Citizens have responsibility of encouraging and supporting their politicians to make (policy) decisions.”
COME ON! People need a roadmap. Environmental organizations are getting crushed partly, imo, due to too much focus on the lazy activist approach (Sign my petition!).
In my opinion, environmental groups need exacting methods to embolden the public to actually influence policy. More focus on things such as,
- Since policy making is public, what, exactly, are the methods that the public can use to inform the policy?
- What is the proposed policy and who wrote it?
- How will that policy choice work?
- Where are draft policies located, online database, in an office drawer, or??
- Which meetings can the public attend to help shape the policy?
- Is there an appeals process?
- A comment period?
- Provisions restricting legal standing?
- How does one actually read a policy tweak and/or a recommendation?
- Where can one find the NGO’s proposed draft policy?
- Can the public influence the NGO’s proposed policy choices, too? How?
- Once the policy is in effect, how does it get implemented?
- Will the policy be monitored? By whom?
- Can the policy be adjusted? Administratively or by court order?
- Where does the money come from to promulgate the policy and who enforces it?
- And, my personal favorite: How does one run for office?
Perhaps my crits are invalid. But, I know from working with city governments that policy makers do not want too many people involved in shaping policies and regulations. They prefer the “sweet spot” to show they’ve met their democratic obligations - not too little involved public, not too many public, but half-a-room of quiet folks is just about right.
I need evidence that campaigns such as the above are much more effective then showing people how to land a seat at decision making tables. Perhaps such evidence exists, but I’ve yet to see it.
Overfishing visually explained
As part of their mission to reform destructive fishing practices, Ocean2012 explains the risk of catching too much fish, in motion graphics. I like the pixelated aesthetic.
Infrastructure win in NYC
Mayor Bloomberg and officials today broke ground on the initial phase of critical infrastructure work at Willets Point in Queens, including construction of a sanitary sewer main and reconstruction of a storm sewer and outfall. These improvements, which constitute a $50 million investment, support the historic redevelopment of Willets Point, which has always lacked this basic infrastructure, and will allow for the creation of a vibrant new mixed-use neighborhood in Queens. The work also represents a major first step in the environmental remediation of the long-contaminated site. This first phase of the project will create 1,800 permanent jobs and 4,600 construction-related jobs.
According to the Mayor:
“This major investment in infrastructure will create jobs, catalyze private sector investment, and lay the groundwork for New York City’s next great neighborhood. These investments mark the first physical steps—after years of planning and working together with local leaders—in reimagining Willets Point as a vibrant commercial and residential community.”
Dig deeper into the Willets Point redevelopment plan, and find more details in the press release.
Photo credit: Edward Reed