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Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Improve Your World


Commencement address by Sandra Steingraber at SUNY-ESF:
 
The lunch-counter moment of our age...

 "Here’s the amazing secret about combining an unflinching willingness to look at the data with political action: it makes you happy. It gives you purpose. It makes brave. It makes you a hero. The people who are truly depressed and scared about our environmental situation are the people who aren’t doing anything about it. They suffer from what psychologists called well-informed futility system. They suffer from what I call being a good German in the face of an ecological holocaust. But that’s a choice. Instead of closing your eyes to hard environmental truths and pretending everything is fine, you could choose to be a member of the French resistance. You could choose to be an abolitionist. You could choose to fight.
 
And here’s another secret: taking action makes you a better environmental scientist. There is a difference between being able to analyze environmental data objectively, which I believe in, and being neutral about the environmental crisis, which I don’t believe in. It turns out that it’s nobody’s job to take the hard truths of environmental data into the political arena and make sure they inform our laws and policies and our economic structures. We have to do that work ourselves.  And doing it is what makes science moral."