To the Editor:
This will not be another boring article on environmental problems and how writing letters is the only solution. What I respect about Oberlin is that people are environmentally aware and are willing to make a change for the better to help out Mother Nature. It is with this in mind that I would like the Oberlin populous to be aware of solutions to problems about which we already know.
On September 27, 1996, Ian Macdonald, OhioPirg member, wrote an editorial urging us to write or call Representative Sharrod Brown or Carol Browner, head of the EPA. While it is socially responsible to write and call government officials, more direct local action can be taken. Good intentions aren't enough, in the end it is the results that count. I'm curious as to what could arise if all of the environmentally concerned people took an inventory of their household items. These people may find a lot of manmade chemicals located underneath their kitchen sink. In fact, a majority of the world's pollution comes from manmade cleaners and personal care products.
Have you ever taken the time to read labels? For those who buy bottled water, read your label. In most instances, you buy filtered water. And for those people who buy designer water (i.e. from France or Vermont), do you really think the water is healthy if it travels from Vermont or France to Ohio? Scientists say bacteria grows in healthy water within 24 hours of bottling. Question: How long does it take a person, carrying a jug of water, to come from France or Vermont to Oberlin, OH? Answer: too long. Why not solve the problem and save some money? Buy a filter.
Even though I know you're quietly reading, raise your hand if you do the following: breathe. It's a silly question, I know. But there are many companies that feel the Rainforest is not worth saving. We need the Rainforest because it works like a big backwards lung: it produces Oxygen from Carbon Dioxide. I am not advocating we all go down to Brazil, hold hands, chain ourselves to trees and sing Kumbaya. While I admire the strength and determination of people who choose to express themselves this way, we all should realize the Golden Rule is the only rule that works with governments and Corporate America, one of the most influential powers in our society. The golden rule: whoever has the gold, makes the rules. This may seem a little harsh, right-wing and conservative, but however you choose to characterize it, results show that this is fact.
The National Arbor Day Foundation has a campaign entitled Rainforest Rescue. It allows people to donate as little as $10 to effectively "buy" 2500 square feet of Brazil's Rainforest. In conjunction with the National Arbor Day Foundation, there is a corporate entity which has also purchased at least a half million acres of the Rainforest never to be cut down for short term profits.
Instead, this company employs the natives to harvest renewable rainforest resources and uses these natural ingredients in a complete line of personal care products. Read the ingredients of your shampoo and you'll find that most contain manmade chemicals which are unpronounceable, and even a layman can tell you Methylchloroisothiazolinone is probably not healthy for your body. I may be wrong on that, but I'm not willing to bet my life on it. Are you?
One in five people are diagnosed with cancer, and one in three die from it. Do you think it's any coincidence that the rise in the consumption of chemically-based personal care products, food products, cleaning products, in addition to over 2000 chemicals found in tap water, coincides with the rise of cancer, heart disease, and deterioration ailments such as Alzheimer's? Now I can't say using manmade, chemically-based personal care products will have serious long term health effects but you cannot tell me it won't.
Some of you, hopefully all of you, may be wondering, "who the heck is this guy and where does he get off talking to us like this?" My name is Patrick Logue and I used to be almost completely unaware of the environmental problems, and more importantly completely unaware of any solutions. Over the past year and a half, I have come across viable solutions to all the problems mentioned above and would like to share these solutions with you. If you are an action-taker, please call me at 774-5087. I would love to meet with you.
Copyright © 1997, The Oberlin Review.
Volume 125, Number 14; February 14,1997
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