Was Barack Obama’s call for offshore drilling a strategic play in the climate-change game, a sop to the right for a nonenviro reason or a wholesale sellout? Aunt Ruth doubts the latter and won’t guess at the rest, but the fact that he placed the drilling offshore from Sarah Palin’s Alaska, George Bush’s Texas and Jeb Bush’s Florida, well, that’s what Aunt Ruth calls bipartisanship—Democrat says, “Drill here,” Republican gets to clean off the little birdies. And as grim as that is to say, it’s grimmer to note such maneuverings are the only bipartisanship Republicans deserve lately.
The machinations of enviropolitics will come and go, but it will be those institutions that beat the environmental drum daily that will make all the difference. Think back when you were 8 years old—how visible, insistent and obvious was environmental education?
For an environmental education to take root, it can’t just be in school; it has to be in the really cool places—places with sharks. Because if it’s cool, an 8-year-old will learn it. And nothing is cooler than sharks. Link environmentalism with sharks now and today’s 8-year-old will, 20 years hence, simply not tolerate eco-terrorist Meg Whitman. And that’s a beautiful world.
Therefore, yer Auntie doth hereby wax second-grade-teacher on y’all in encouraging a field trip to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Never mind the sharks (Hammerheads! Dude!) or the jellyfish (the ocean, not LSD, is the best source for psychedelia—not that you need share that with your 8-year-old) or some incredible sea dragons (some dressed as shrubbery, which, at Auntie Ruth’s age, is shark cool). Never mind the 35,000 creatures there for the viewing every day. Go visit the computer-generated lady who speaks from the middle of the stir-fry pan—then from the microwave oven—showing how much energy an average house uses, and the resulting environmental cost. Watch how kids are transfixed by the Seafood Watch display (how eco-uncool is fish and chips?), and then go download the Seafood Watch app for your iPhone.
Because, fess up, you’re still 8 years old, and the iPhone has picked up where sharks left off. The environmental thrust of MBA is resolute and astute, articulated well for the young and old, and unswerving in its understanding that change must happen now. With 1.9 million people in attendance last year, well, that’s a beautiful world.