I stand front row at a concert, the music of the Cold War Kids rocks through my body. The volume so loud it vibrates the walls and the audience…just the way a concert should be. It was one mass of people smashed together forgetting about personal space and popping all the personal bubbles. After the concert I sat waiting for the bus to take me home as I watched everyone get in their cars and drive home.When I got home I laid in bed thinking about the idea of space, not “the final frontier,” our physical presence and how much space we take up. In this blog I will be addressing a few topics in relation to space. How much space we, as a nation, take up. How much space I personally take up, or try not to. Lastly the privilege of mobility and moving through space.
As a nation The United States takes up WAY too much space for what we need. We take land from natives for resources we “need.” We force ourselves into areas of the world to take things that again we “need” looking at you our Middle East oil supply and countries who provide cheap labor. This exemplifies our constant demand for taking up unnecessary space. Then again according to Republican Nominee Donald Trump “we should have taken all of the oil when we were there,” even though I heard him say this during the debate just one of many times, I am sure he didn’t say it. The thing with oil and other fossil fuels is they don’t last forever, much like the organisms that made the fossil fuels. Green energy is the best way for us to continue to live comfortable. It can power our beloved cars, buses, trains, and other modes of transportation. Solar energy can even power our roads relaying less on the materials needed for asphalt and concrete check out what I mean by following the link “http://www.solarroadways.com/“. By no means will/can this happen overnight nor is it free. However, you can pay for this by redirecting the funds for current fossil fuel based construction/uses toward green energy and technology. Also, fun fact green energy takes people to make happen *hint, hint, nudge, nudge job creation.
I have been keeping up daily with the Syrian Civil War, I don’t know if I suggest it to many people…it can be rather emotionally draining. If you were to do a word association with someone who is somewhat aware of what is happening, one word that would come up would be “refugee.” Before I continue further I want to give you a frame of mind; the state of Missouri is almost the same size as Syria. Population wise Missouri is just shy of 6.1 million people according to “www.census.gov” while Syria had a population of 22 million prior to the civil war which began in 2011. Some other numbers for your consideration; the UN has identified a total of 13.5 million Syrian’s who need humanitarian assistance. Out of the 13.5 million over 4.8 million Syrians are refugees that have been displaced to outside of Syria, and another 6.5 million have been displaced within. Unfortunately, with almost every world crisis, children are one of the hardest hit. In this case half (6.75 million) are children. They are ripped from their homes, have been physically injured by the warfare, lost a parent, are food insufficient, don’t go to school, and/or don’t know where they are going to be in the six months to a year. Over 12 countries have opened their space to those who are fleeing and are in need. If you’re wondering how many the United States have taken in it is a total of less than 15,000 compared to Germany a fairly equal country in many respects hosts 600,000. Looking at size Germany is close to the size of Montana! And that number doesn’t even come close to Jordan, which is ranked 3rd on the list of countries taking in refugees, at 1.2 million. This isn’t just the case for the current refugee crisis with Syria in general poorer countries are hosting refugees, a great article to learn more is “http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2016/10/ten-countries-host-world-refugees-report-161004042014076.html“. I ask myself why the US doesn’t take in more refugees in hopes that I forgot the reason, but then I remember “terrorism.” At least that is why some citizens and politicians don’t want to, because every man, woman, and child is a terrorist or knows one according to many. Before I get pushed off my soap box I would like to state that by no means am I an economist or someone else working for the government to fully understand the full logistics. What I am asking for is to truly look at why we as a nation can not take in more and/or help with other humanitarian crises?
Now to take the heat off everyone and just put it on myself because the shade is making it too cold. Prior to moving and living in an intentional manner the way I lived was less than green. I drove almost everywhere in my personal vehicle. Shopped almost whenever I wanted for things I didn’t always “need.” When I did shop I pretty much bought everything new. Threw almost everything away unless it was convenient for me to recycle it. This past year I have definitely gotten better at recycling, however wasn’t were I needed to be. August 22, 2016 was the last time I drove my car, since then I have driven twice. I haven’t purchased anything new aside from food since being here. All clothing, books, small household items have been used. I would say 90% of the time I take the bus or walk when I personally need to get somewhere around town. I recycle everything, like seriously will hold on to things until I get to a recycling bin. I pick up trash/recycling when I am out and about, I am sure I look like a weirdo. However, I have realized something, I am okay with looking like a weirdo because at least I am a weirdo who cares about Mother Earth.
Which brings me to my last point of moving through space, and really the privilege of mobility. The nearest grocery store to me is a half mile away which isn’t bad at all…now for the catch. It is a co-op which is great for the local community however, if you don’t have a larger income it can be difficult to shop there regularly. It is about twice as much as the local H-E-B (the equivalent of a Walmart grocery section, Kroger, Publix or other low price grocery store in your region). Alright so I need to go to H-E-B then for groceries…it is a mile and a half walk according to Google only 30 minutes…without carrying anything. Well let’s take the bus it is only a 5 minute walk to the stop and 10 minute walk from the stop. You get to make this trek twice, once there and back, on the trip back you also have about 40-50lbs of groceries now. So it is biggest pain in the ass to do this…just once. The privilege continues, I don’t have to do this (thankfully) I have roommates with cars that take me there.
When I opened this blog post I mentioned waiting for the bus to take me home as I watched others drive home what I didn’t mention was it took a total of an hour to get home (between waiting for the bus and all the stops) for less than five miles to home. That is 50 minutes longer than if I had driven a personal car. The added frustration with the bus can be the time in between arrival times of the bus and start times of where I am going. Church for example, I can arrive about 20 minutes early or 10 minutes late for service. This would be similar if I had appointments around town, and needed to take off work for so much extra time. This is not to say I would stop taking the bus to take a fasten or my own personal car if I had one. I don’t mind this personally I feel like that I am doing the environment a very small favor by commuting via public transportation. It is really the least I can do for all the benefits we get.
So what the hell is the point of this long rambling blog?!
I want you/us to think about the limited amount of space we have on this earth and how much are you/we taking up?
Peace and Love,