What – and Why – We Work For…


This site is clearly “green,” yet tends to avoid that phrase because of the connotations it raises, of do-good concern for “saving the planet” even while there are enough other problems (or maybe, some would argue, none). The reality is different.

This post is from Cherine Akkari, a friend who got her BSc degree (in environmental sciences) from University of Balamand (UOB) in Lebanon and is now in Montreal, starting on her Master’s degree.

It was originally a Facebook note, but – as much as people have tried to point this out before, it bears repeating, and so – it is a statement worthy of being out in the open:

What critics of environmentalism have to understand is that it is not about saving the earth – the earth will be fine – it is about saving us.

We are the ones who get cancer when we pollute our air and water with carcinogens, not the earth.
We are the victims of climate change from burning fossil fuels, not the earth.
We are the ones who suffer when we make the top soil unfit for planting, not the earth.

We would be the ones who would lose irreplaceable beauty and quality of life if we destroyed or despoiled our natural treasures and national parks like Yosemite, Yellowstone, Grand Canyon, Redwoods, the Great Bear Rainforest, etc., not the earth.
The earth doesn’t care, it is we who would lose out on these irreplaceable gifts from our Creator, we would be the losers if we despoil our natural treasures, not the earth.

When there are nuclear meltdowns, deep sea drilling oil spills, when we cut the tops off ancient mountains, cut down thousand-year-old, old-growth forests, when we drive endangered species to extinction, we lose, not the earth.

When we pollute the air, water, soil, food chain, and our own bodies with pesticides, herbicides, toxins, chemicals, and endless carcinogens, mutagens and teratogens, we lose, not the earth.

If the ocean conveyor belt shuts off, the sea levels rise, the oceans acidify, the big fish die, the coral reefs die, the sea mammals die, the phytoplankton die, we lose, not the earth.

If we were to live in a world with no lions, tigers, wolves, bears, dolphins, whales, elephants, gorillas, chimpanzees, orangutans, leopards, cougars, lynx, pandas, koalas, sea turtles, bald eagles, etc., that would be our fault and we would be the ones to suffer a great loneliness of the spirit, not the earth.

“What we do to the earth, we do to ourselves.” That is why it matters, not because of the earth, but because of us.

The earth will be fine, it is our own existence that we are protecting when we try to prevent pollution of our air, water, and soil, prevent deforestation of old-growth forests, prevent global warming, prevent extractive activities that are too destructive to fragile ecosystems, prevent the poaching and habitat loss of endangered species, prevent the overuse of pesticides, herbicides and antibiotics in our food, prevent plastic and e-waste from being dumped into the biosphere when it can be recycled instead, when we push for clean energy like solar, wind, tidal, algae and geothermal to replace dirty fuels like oil, coal, gas, and nuclear, when we push for urban sustainable development, weatherized homes and businesses, energy efficient automobiles and appliances, organic local farming, recycling, best-available-technology mandates for corporations to use to clean up their pollution.

We do all of these things for humanity, not for the earth.

It is for us that we try to fight for the environment, for our well being, for future generations of people, for our children and our great grandchildren, that we and they can enjoy a good standard of living, with clean air and water, healthy food, natural treasures, national parks and wildlife to visit and enjoy the beauty of, oceans, forests, and ecosystems that can support life.

A healthy biosphere is for us, not the earth.


  1. Totally agree

    I presented at a Renewable Energy Conference in Australia recently and was on re same meme…

    Forget Climate Change.

    That is an ‘externalisation’ of the problem..and a brand who’s value was clearly defined by the flood of funds to the Financial community in reaponce to the Global Financial Crisis just when the world was just ‘getting’ Green.

    Collapse of natural ecological systems, “bad”. But to power wielders, collapse of artificial financial system, “badder”.

    What we need is a new mantra..

    People, Change!

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