Industrial right wingers love to characterize environmental sustainability as something opposed to good living, saying that environmentalism wants everyone to give up on the things that make life worth living. Think about that claim for a minute, though, and it falls apart. Do poisons in the air, land and water really make your life better? Would your life really be more worth living if the earth were stripped of wilderness? Is that morning commute in clogged traffic a barrel of monkeys?
No, the truth is that smart environmentalism combines what’s good for the environment and feels good for the people who experience it. I feel pretty good about the new bushes in front of my house, for example. They just look better than what was there before.
They’re better for the environment too, it turns out. Oh, they’re not ecopure, it’s true. I planted six boxwood bushes, a non-native species. However, these boxwood aren’t invasive where I live, so they’re really not a threat to the local ecology. In fact, it’s because these boxwood can stand apart from local ecological forces that they are, in the end, a good environmental choice.
The deer in my neighborhood don’t eat boxwood. That’s an essential consideration, because every shrub that deer do like to eat gets reduced to twiggy nubs in short order.
That’s what happened to the yews that were in the front of my house before I planted the new boxwood shrubs. The yews were so heavily deer pruned that most of their branches were dead, and they just sat there, not consuming much carbon dioxide, not providing much shade, not providing much eco benefit at all.
The yews were also just plain ugly. The boxwood will remain green, and growing, consuming carbon, filtering the air, where before there were bare branches. They make my house look a little prettier, and they’re providing a bit of environmental benefit along the way.
The right wing industrial warnings about environmentalism don’t hold in this case. Through this replanting, I’ve gained environmentally and aesthetically. I don’t feel deprived at all.
The truth is that I’d rather sit next to a clean boxwood shrub than a bushel of unclean coal anyday. Ain’t that a kick in the stock options?