You are a colorful, valueless component of this great project of resource consumption: Celebrate it!
As the Big Day, that greenest
collection of hours, that day when
the unified realization of our interconnectedness in this great web of
overconsumption switches on in each of our solitary socially-networked
lives and you remember that special someone who opened the world to you...
When you talked about doing good and held hands on long walks through the city parks.
You talked about getting mountain
bikes to really boogie
through the chinaberry and hackberry and snorted down those
through over-sized straws.
Maybe the memory of a supposedly better season, a thoughtful season when all you wanted to do was have fun and helps loosens up kinder notions of yourself. Weren't you prettier then? Smarter? Good-hearted?
But then you realize what you are
really. A dirty, stinkin’,
glutton, burdening the world by your very existence.
Nat Geo did their best to show you where we are, with our 2-point-whatever kids and all that conquered lawnspace rolled out over formerly productive native prairie. Were we supposed to feel guilty when we saw the glump of thousands of diapers we each shat into toxifying landfills? And the assortment of pigs and cows we ate on average? Or the mountain of potatoes or sodas or bananas?
Interesting imagery and maybe there
was a message. I got restless with the the value-neutral presentation
that just seemed to go on and on, like us on the planet, apparently. I
quantities were supposed to carry shock value, but if you’ve
your life as a consumer, you wouldn’t have been. Our gluttony
does not surprise
Did the narrator ever get around to
sharing that small
detail: That our American standard of living can not be duplicated
without four more earths to mine for resources? Or that the pace of car
So, here’s an idea. In all of the pull-out supplements, and special issues, and insider reports, try keeping track of the number of times you are beckoned to a new “green” product. If our none-too-smart use of resources got us into this current climate mess, then maybe we can buy our way out. We're being sold a bill of servitude.
Redemption would come a lot easier that way, of course. We wouldn't be contesting with Turner's vision of cannibal Canadians sweeping south in a mapleleaf rage, or with the ruling age of MegaStorms liquidating our kin from the equator out. However, the answer to our condition lies outside our current consumer culture. More specifically, it lies deeper within our culture and in our roots as Producer-Consumers.
Plaudits to you poor inheritors of
this swirling, spinning
Buying a rainforest is cool (as long
as you also solve some
economic issues for those living nearby, or they’ll likely
burn, blast, or fell
it anyway, on the sly); gardening is a big “hell
yeah” that each of us should
be exploring (and likely will as water, electricity, gasoline, bread,
eggs, and whatever it all makes when you stir it up in a pot escalates
but picking up after ourselves? Keeping
I suspect we’ll be falling
down on this slope if prices for
aluminum and plastics and paper don’t keep rising, too. So,
I’m not too
concerned on this point either.
If it sounds like I’m
stating the free market case for crisis
global climate change response, I am. In a way.
Recovering our knowledge of gardening, slimming down on the gasohol, watching that thermostat: it all follows an inflationary economy, which we seem to be well into. It is, literally, the least we can do, the latest we can afford to do it.
It's the worst-case scenario, where we allow econo-climatic leaps force the shift on our behaviors.
In practical terms, this sort of
reactionary living (as
opposed to proactive) means we (and our lima-bean-eatin' children) will
responding to ever-worsening crises with slimmer chances of holding
lifestyles we have been enjoying for so long.
This Earth Day, instead of buying T-shirts to save the rainforest, just buy the blinkin’ forest and pick up a thrift store T instead. Try sleeping in your skivvies instead of shopping for “greener” pajamas (and throwing in a little seaweed face scrub on the side).
Hell. Skip the Earth Day balloon release party and take the afternoon off to break up that water-hungry lawn for a no-water desertscape and a pea garden. It’ll be easier on your wallet and more fun that walking around in the heat stuffing yourself with soda and cotton candy, anyway.I mean, then you'll have to worry about making birdhouses out of your soda cans and paper tubes. What a pain in the ass that'll be.