Collective Expletive

Living and experiencing life together is something we rarely do anymore. It's ironic that with today's focus (Blog Action Day) on amplifying over 19,000 (actually over 20) voices unified in topic--the environment, I still feel that we're not really experiencing things together as a culture, especially as communities. Not even the weather, for as many years as it has devoted its existence to the fodder of our smalltalk with strangers or those that make us uncomfortable, can really even be shared anymore.

This weekend, I experienced the living, somewhat instinctive and primal emotional roller coaster along with over 17,000 other people while watching the San Jose Sharks attempt to fight off the Boston Bruins (I'm not a hockey fan, but didn't all sports teams coming out of New England, with the exception of New York, pretty much always suck except for the Celtics?).




At one point, I was even confused when approximately an eighth of the arena broke out in loud chants of "Bullshit!" in response to one too many referee decrees of "no goal" against the Sharks. It was so eerily East Coast of them so it threw me off at first.

But there was something in that experience that was living and breathing- even among the minority of us (4 voices from around me calling out to encourage the Bruins) that was bonded. It's this kind of passionate bonding and psychic experience that our culture is desperate for if we're to really take a whack at helping get the environment back on a healthier track. The other times I have also felt a similar rush were during times of experiencing dramatic arts or controversy. The arts are an extremely underestimated power in our culture.

A very insightful book I'm slogging through right now (a sociology buff's Bible-sized dream of studies, charts and analytics of cultural and societal indicators) is Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community. Its research points to the explosive growth of the environmental movement which was exemplified by the creation of Earth Day in 1970. That was 37 years ago. But I'm still feeling the effects the book researches- the American community is still in a collapsed state.

We need a way to all be together in the moment to moan and leap from our seats as we play this game of environmentalism. The Web could be a way to deliver it, but now there are so many forums it's hard to keep up. How many people are really reading when, for example, Earthjustice and company win another victory for the environment from the judicial branch?

I'm just 2/3 of the way through Bowling Alone so perhaps there are suggestions there- but what the environment needs now is a unifying entity of support so all the little things we are doing start to really collectively be taken into account.

People need not just a reason, but a whole new ideology to put cleaner air, water and communities, healthier oceans, soil, forests and tundras at the same level of priority that they have in buying Lincoln Navigators to haul around their 1-5 children. We need a motivator that transcends socioeconomic status, political affiliation, ethnicity, language, age, gender, geography.
I don't have the answer but I know writing today is a modest start toward this. Thanks for hearing my voice.
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