As Father’s Day was approaching, I got to thinking about a post I published about my father about a year and half ago. It was a meaningful post to me for a couple reasons. One, it honors my father and how he lived his life. Two, it dispels (at least in my view) much of the left-wing narrative about how right-wingers don’t care about the environment. And this politically charged environment which is constantly being primed by the non-stop, agenda-driven media (on all sides!), I thought it was appropriate to post again. Labeling people one way or another is not only unfair, it will (most likely) end up being extremely inaccurate. Our society likes to think in black and white terms. In left and right terms. But people and life and reality are really not that way. So anything I can do to dispel such silly notions, I will certainly try to do.
So for Father’s Day, my wish is that we stop putting people in boxes. But for some reason, I get the feeling a Clinton-Trump election will not stop doing that. Oh well. Here’s my part.
Happy Father’s Day!
“The Problem with Politically-Charged Labels. An Example from my Father.”
This is not a post about either side of the Global Warming mud-throwing match which goes on in politics and academia.
This is a simple post to dispel a certain narrative that exists about “right-wing, conservative, Christian fundamentalists” who dismiss global warming and who don’t care about the environment.
I’ve seen plenty of these kinds of talking points in my day. I contend that such a narrative is misguided. My father is the proof.
Upon first glance, he would seem to fit the mold of a person that certain left-wing environmentalists would heap scorn upon. They would certainly be wrong to do so.
Not because of ideology or politics. Not at all. They would have plenty to disagree with my father concerning politics and religion. My father has always been a Republican. He is certainly conservative, and he is a Bible-believing Christian.
Has he already been pigeon-holed? Would left-wingers quickly cast him aside into a certain box? Regardless of how some people might label him, he is the most environmentally conscious person I know. Consider this:
- He gardens. He’s one of the best gardeners I’ve ever seen. Mulch and compost. The whole works.
- All that gardening is used for canning. Lots of canning, especially when all the kids were still at home. Re-usable Mason jars. I wonder how many decades they have been used.
- He’s the most diligent recycler I’ve ever seen. Obsessive in sorting out the containers, throwing organic matter on his compost pile, of course.
- He is obsessive about keeping unnecessary lights off. When I was putting in a router for the house’s computer, he was quite concerned when I told him that it had to be kept on at all times. It seemed to him like such a waste of electricity. And when I was growing up, how many lectures did I have about turning off the lights when I left a room?
- His car tires are always pumped to optimum level. (unlike me. oops!)
- In the winter, the furnace (an extremely efficient one) is kept at about 68 degrees. We freeze when we visit, but the savings is tangible. He has a wood-burning stove in the basement that further helps to keep the electricity usage down. The trees are from his own property.
- He has been upset and complaining for years about the corrupt oil companies who have been gorging the pockets of American citizens while rolling in record profits. He tells me how all those oil companies are in cahoots with the government, which has done nothing to curtail their power.
- He has been tracking his gas mileage for years, trying to figure out ways to increase it. He is always eager to investigate new devices which claim to raise mileage significantly. He has said time and again that the big three auto makers have purposely put many innovations out of business by buying them out just so they can hold onto to their monopoly. And so they can continue their cozy relationship with big oil.
- He collects rain water off the roof in order to water the garden when the weather is dry. Or he uses it to flush the toilets in times when rain has been few and far between.
- In the summer months, especially, their water usage from their well is very strict. It is never wasted.
- When at all possible, laundry is dried outside in the sunshine.
- He is keenly interested in wind and solar power.
- He never buys anything he doesn’t need. He always uses everything he already has.
I know I’m missing some stuff here, but perhaps this gives you the proper picture of what I’m talking about.
Don’t actions speak much louder than words? Isn’t my father the perfect example of someone who cares deeply about our environment and lives it out in his everyday life?
Isn’t this exactly the behavior that the so-called left-wing environmentalists are trying to encourage? If people act like this, who cares what they think about global warming because they are doing more than their share to take care of the environment.
This shows me just how silly labels really are, and I’m sure there’s another example out there which could be written coming from the opposite ideology and perspective.
I’m thankful for my dad and the great example he gave me about taking care of the earth. I hope I can do the same with one caveat. The next time I live in North America, I’m not sure that a 68-degree thermostat in the winter is going to work for me. Just saying.