Friday, May 8, 2009

I've Got a Scooter

by Mark J. Lukes

OK, maybe this isn't earth-shattering - or even blog worthy - news. But it is to me. For my 60th birthday, my friends and family got together and bought me an Zapino Scooter - all electric! Sure, it's fun to ride. And yes. I feel pretty "green" tooling around town on my electric scooter. But we all know that there's more to it.

I read an article some time ago about changes in the definition of "being green". (I'd tell you where I read the article, but one of the problems of being 60 is that my mind does too good a job of filtering information). In the 80s, recycling aluminum, picking up your trash and turning down the thermostat made you green. In the 90s, you could add buying a more fuel efficient car, re-insulating your house and participating in Bike-to-Work day. In the 2000s, we saw a number of conservation issues get relegated to a back seat - or were kicked completely off the bus! We saw our country's leaders ignore the effects of climate change, neglect the needs of wild things and wild places and show a disregard for the welfare of third world cultures.

While all of this was happening, people who cared about our planet were mobilizing and redefining what being "green" meant. People all over the world began to "Get It"! No longer was it good enough to do the easy things that used to make us green. It takes effort, sacrifice - and it takes lots of people. That's certainly true with our efforts at Art for Conservation.

We've been conservation "activists" since 1985. And it seems like every year, our level of "activism" has increased. I put "activists" and "activism" in quotes because everyone has a different definition of conservation activism. Not only that, but as I mentioned earlier, with each year, the definition takes on new meaning, and in these trying time, even more significance.
To be honest, I had become a bit unsettled by using the word "activism". I wanted to make sure that we at Art for Conservation didn't alienate those who are still trying to make up their minds about climate change, about the need to protect wild things and wild places.

Then I attended a presentation by Robert Kennedy, Jr. After hearing him speak, what I already believed became obvious. We don't have time to sugar coat conservation messages. The threats to our planet are real. And the solutions are really more evident than most of us realize. Our job at Art for Conservation is to showcase the photographers and artists who are telling the conservation story. And to foster a dialogue about how all of us in the art community can be a part of delivering the conservation message.

I do love my electric scooter, and even though it's only one little step towards energy sustainability, I feel good riding it. But I know that I need to do more. If you want to do more for our planet, join Art for Conservation. Tell your story. Share your images. Become a part of the dialogue - and the solution.

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