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One Year and Counting

Observations from the Edge
Robert T. Nanninga
North County Times
September 6, 1999


Last week's column was a milestone of sorts, it marked my first anniversary with North County Times readers. And like any relationship this too has had it's ups and downs, with more than it's share of miscommunication, name calling, and personal growth. Being a native of the North County I am proud to be part of the regional discourse this paper provides, and hopefully we are all better because of it.

The voice I provide is that of Generation X. Angry and overwhelmed by a paradigm put in place by our parents and their parents, we realize that it is all down hill from here. Notice the baby boomer voices in print calling for economic growth, development and convenience, this is the only mantra they know. Suckled on the ideology of the cancer cell, theirs is a generation that will not be happy until every last perceived resource is consumed or converted to cash. It is time that alternative voices be heard.

To all of our benefit, where once there was none, a environmental dialogue has been created. Before my column came on line, letters to the editors fell into three categories: god, country and why the two should be merged. Homophobic rhetoric ran high, as did pro-life propaganda and calls for restrictions on free speech and affirmative action. Today however, human impact on the environment is being discussed daily, and environmental concerns have gone mainstream. This is progress.

Last week one reader, Jeffery L. Daniel of Vista, accused me of hypocrisy, because trees die so that my column can run weekly in this newspaper. In response to that I would like to direct Mr. Daniels and all North County Times readers to page one. In the bottom left hand corner is a green recycling symbol and the statement that this paper is printed on recycled newsprint and with soy based ink. So in fact, the NCT publishers have made a significant environmentally sustainable decision, as did I when I decided that I wanted to write for them.

Mr. Daniels also makes a good point when he stated that we all pollute in different degrees. The system has been designed so that we have no choice. More damaging to the environment than a never ending stream of newsprint is the never ending stream of consumer goods being advertised in the media. So do I take the moral high ground and refuse to write for NCT because Legoland is hawking unnecessary plastic items on page A-5, of course not. Instead I choose to convert the dominant paradigm from within.

Do I pollute? Yes. Is this unavoidable? Absolutely. Our Culture has violently removed itself from the natural order, and my generation is only inheritor of a philosophy that sees the planet as a collection of consumable resources. Struggling against the existing cultural imperative is similar to salmon trying to swim up a river long ago dammed. For me to not use this opportunity to help further the conversation towards environmental sustainability, would be a disservice to the trees and soybeans that gave their lives so that the general public could have the news, sports, comics, and opinions of "holier-than-thou" columnists delivered to their door.

Keep those letters coming, and if you find the use of paper, of any kind, unjustifiable, you could always E-mail us at Letters@nctimes.com. But then again, the production of computers is a very toxic business. This is what we call a Catch 22. Once again it seems us monkeys have outsmarted ourselves.

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