Eco-sense: The gray area

Back in the 1950s, when TV was new, all villains in cowboy shows work black hats. All sheriffs, and other “good guys” wore white hats, except for Hopalong Cassidy. So – when you tuned in, you knew right away who to favor with your yeas and who to boo. Of course, in real life, there were multiple shades of gray to any question, any decision and even black and white TV gradually grew up to recognize that. Today’s fiction is usually more reflective of the complexities of life. But politics seems to have caught the black and white trend.

It is easy to say you do, or don’t believe in abortion – dependent upon your priorities: black and white. However, in the gray area: At how many weeks is a baby “viable”? And – what happens to the child? What about a newly pregnant 10-year-old rape victim? Or the woman who, at 4-5 months, discovers a life-threatening condition? Whose life is more important, the mother’s or the baby’s?

I believe in climate warming. I believe that human behavior contributes to this calamity. I find it difficult to comprehend both denial of the increasing threat and of the fatalistic approach that nothing can be done, just enjoy the time you have left. However, the gray area surfaces in what to do when. Will voluntary participation suffice OR must we institute legal restrictions forcing a change of habits? Can we afford to wait and see until 2030 or 2035? How do we reduce oil and gas use (and production) without devastating the economy? Should the big producers of greenhouse gases (China, USA, etc.) fund the recovery of countries who did not cause the devastation? How do we survive sustainably, ecologically AND economically? There is serious complexity facing the world in the next few years.

Perhaps the most polarizing issue of our day is the accusations of election fraud. It questions the very nature of our existence. This country was founded on the premise that the common man is intelligent enough to decide the guiding path to future sustainability. This has been proven over and over for the last two centuries. Our multi-party system (and we must remember there are more than two) is structured one single equal vote per citizen, and we, (as a country, state, county, and town) go to great lengths to protect that. Even Colorado’s exemplary system has been challenged, but all investigations, nation-wide, have discovered surprisingly few errors, no effective fraud.

Last Saturday, our family discussed the 12 issues facing Estes Valley voters this year. For each issue, we attempted to foresee the effect on sustainability of change vs. maintaining the status quo. Few of these were “black” or “white”; many resided in the “gray area.” Most involved complexities unnoticed until fully perused. We did not all agree on every point. That, truly, is what makes the US democracy work. We do not need to agree on everything. We consult, we consider; we debate, and we vote. Those who take the time to research, decide, and vote make the decisions in this country, and we accept the decision of the majority.

For Halloween, we dressed as the Gray Area. That is a difficult subject to portray. The costume was subtle. It did not surprise me that only seven individuals guessed the intent without serious assistance. But it proved thought provoking that some individuals did not recognize the term “gray area.” The gray area is all that questionable space between right and wrong, all the guesswork involved in choices, whether deciding what to have for dinner or who will run the country.

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About Pep Dekekr

Pep loves Estes Park, he lives here with his family and hopes to bring people to Estes Park and Estes Park to the people. Along with his wife Paige, they own EstesPark.com.

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