Saturday, March 28, 2009

Call Me an Eco-Freak if You Wish, but I'm Joining Earth Hour!

Greetings to all my friends and bloggers around the world. It's been a while since I added my print to the ongoing Gonzo 2.0 revolution. Well, I have some less Gonzo-like writing to take care of lately so that's kept me away. Before I get into the matter, some quick shout-outs and kudos...
  • Patronapalooza Christmas Extravaganza was out of this world! My girl and I had a great time, so big shout-out to my family and my friends who made it possible. Especially, I want to thank my folks for being SO FREAKING nice while we were there! Also, my good friend Oscar "David Bloodclot" García, who was an amazing host while we were in Boyacá. The meal in Sutamarchán, the afternoon in Ráquira, and the visit to Chiquinquirá with your dad will always be remembered. Another big shout-out to my Colombian brother from another mother, Carlos Rico and his lovely girl, Michelle! It was great seeing you two together... best of luck!!!
  • Seeing the girls, Isa & Manu, was out of this world! They're amazingly bright, lovely, and beautiful... and they can rest assured that for as long as I live, there'll be no hippos bothering you EVER!
  • My mind is now in Medellín more than ever ... Mom's got a surgery to fix a hernia this coming Wednesday. Whoever you believe in, please offer a prayer for her health. If you're not into the whole deity thing, your positive thoughts and wishes are also helpful. El Patrón accepts happy thoughts and get-well wishes in a non-denominational fashion.
  • One final shout-out to my former students in Early Childhood and Secondary Education at the U of I who are graduating in May. I've read in their Facebook statuses that they've passed their certification exams. CONGRATULATIONS!!!! Soon enough you'll learn the happiness one feels as a teacher when his/her students are thriving and succeeding!!!
Now, on to the main event...

Eco-Freak? Maybe; Tree-Hugger? Not so much; Concerned about the earth? Absolutely! And that's why I'm shutting my lights off tonight!

Global warming is a fairly heated issue. Whether you adamantly believe in it and think we need to do something to save our planet before it's taken over as parking space (à la Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy), that we need to do something for everybody's future, or you think "global warming" is an invention of some crazies that belong to the Church of Al Gore and there's nothing wrong with a warmer planet because you abhor the winters in the Midwest anyway, we all have an opinion on the matter. I am not here to chastise those who are against environmental efforts, nor will I be so sanctimonious to call myself the Second Coming of Captain Planet. I'm just a citizen of earth who's concerned about what your and my children will be able to call landscapes.

Since 2008, there's an ongoing global effort spearheaded by the other WWF (sorry, in the back of my mind, WWF will ALWAYS be the World Wrestling Federation... we all guilty pleasures and mine is "wraslin'") for people around the world to turn their lights off for an hour, wherever they are, in an effort for more awareness of the consequences of global warming and the lack of concrete policies in regards to the environment (more on that later). More and more people keep joining, and reports indicate that some of our greatest architectural landmarks have gone dark in celebration. Sure, critics of the event have been quick to point out that the WWF is a pseudo-fascist organization that is inspired by obscure commercial agendas that ultimately wants to drive civilization back to the Dark Ages by obliterating what made us progress in the first place: Energy and light. Some of these pundits are in fact inviting everybody and their mother to actually turn every light and appliance you have available and if necessary borrow a few from the neighbors who are celebrating Earth Hour (hey, it's not like they'll be using that stereo between 8:30 and 9:30 anyway, right?). 

As I said, my goal here is not to chastise those critics of Earth Hour per se. But, I'd be failing to the third descriptor in the name of my Gonzo 2.0 page (you know, provocateur) if I didn't lambast them somehow, right? Let's see... turning my lights off will promote a fascist society where progress isn't allowed, yada yada yada... well, the way I see it, turning my lights off and controlling my energy consumption may actually benefit my wallet too. Plus, some of those economic journals need to start thinking of other issues, like why on earth some of them were in cahoots with Wall Street and some of those conglomerates like AIG in creating the clusterf**** of epic proportions under which we are now. It's a good think that folks like Jon Stewart are already doing that for the rest of us (if you haven't seen the Daily Show interview with the Mad Money guy and how Steward owned him, look it up!). I think controlled consumption of our resources might actually benefit our economy to some degree. That's a reason why I'm endorsing Earth Hour.

I'll give some of the critiques to the event something, a little bone I'm throwing at them, if you will. We need to move past awareness  and move on to knowledge and I may add a serious praxis. Those of us into critical theories have heard of praxis: Practice based on theory and reflection. I agree that being aware of something means squat if I don't DO anything about it. It won't do me any good to be aware that gaining too much weight is going to affect the shelf life of my right knee. But I don't go to the gym and exercise, my knee is going to deteriorate faster. Being aware of that won't slow it down. Knowing what to do to and actually doing it, that's the X-factor there. Ditto for the enviroment. A lot of people are aware that the environment needs a hand, that maybe we're wasting too many resources by throwing garbage to the floor or driving trucks with 10 mpg consumption. It's what we actually DO what makes a difference. And that's why I again endorse Earth Hour. 

However, that shouldn't stop there. As I read in a time article recently, action at the political level is also required. We need to push for some change in terms of policies. Smart energy consumption policies are good for your pocket - just to give you an incentive. More energy-efficient appliances will bring lower energy bills! It's also about what we can do at an individual level. I have my own methods and I have my own plans to offset how many trees I'm killing by working on my dissertation. I only invite you to think about what you can do and if you ultimately want to borrow my laptop to watch videos on YouTube while I keep my lights off, do it beacuse you've reflected why that's a good idea. Ditto if you finally turn the lights off in an hour. Do it reflexively, not because it's a cool fad. 

One thing is for sure, I know that one of the reasons I'm doing it is because if I have children one day, I'd like to take them to their mother's homeland to visit the Siberian snows, not the Siberian prarie, or I'd love to show them the beaches of Cartagena, not the shores of Cartagena Island... if you catch my drift...

That's it for now. Till my next blog, I bid farewell.

The Blogger, the Thinker, the Provocateur...

Raúl A. (El Patrón)