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November 10, 2008

Albany Times Union
Letter to the Editor

Can we finally turn toward responsibility?

How wonderful to read Dr. David Krischer's Oct. 26 letter suggesting we purchase hybrid vehicles not to save ourselves money individually, but because it's better for the environment. We are part of something larger than ourselves, and we should act responsibly. It's the same reason we should pass the "bigger, better" bottle bill — not because the state can make money from unclaimed deposits, but because all that trash needs to be recycled for the good of the Earth, something bigger than ourselves.

There have been some letters recently suggesting the we should take responsibility for our actions, both individually and corporately. This is one of those "old-fashioned" beliefs that seemed to have disappeared in the last 50 years, as we've placed blame everywhere but on ourselves.

I've found it terribly difficult to teach my students to just say, "Yes, I did it, it's my fault" (or more likely "No, I didn't do it ..."), to take responsibility and then to do better next time, when they see pop stars and government leaders blaming everyone else for their errors in judgment.

It's always someone or something else's fault. ("I couldn't get my file to print" is the modern version of, "The dog ate my homework.")

Could it be that we are ready as a nation to go back to the idea that we are responsible for ourselves and our actions? Can we turn the tide?

We might feel helpless to make major changes in our country, but we can start by buying hybrid cars, driving less, lowering our air conditioning or heat, recycling cans, drinking tap water (for gosh sakes, do we really need millions of bottles of water daily when the stuff comes out our faucets?), and putting paper in the recycle bin.

It's time, to quote Dr. Krischer, who said it so well, "... to take personal responsibility for making our nation and our world a better place."

David Janower



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