Gather ’round, children. Let’s harken back to my childhood, when things were simpler, cleaner, and we weren’t on the verge of destroying our world.
No, that’s not alarmist enough.
Ozone layer depleting! Polar icecaps melting! Antibiotic resistant infections! Oh, and it’s all your fault! News at 11!
That’s more like it.
I lived, perhaps, an atypical childhood. We had a compost pile in the backyard, not because it was globally responsible to do so, but because it made for awesome raspberries and apples.
Our household had a hierarchy of clothing. There were “good” clothes, suitable for events. “ok” clothes, suitable for school. “play” clothes, suitable for schlepping around in the muck, “ecch” clothes that shouldn’t be seen out of the house, and “What is that…thing, that you’re wearing?”-suitable for the rag bag. The rag bag’s contents could be utilized for anything from doll clothes, cleaning up spills, plant stake ties, and so on.
We recycled, reduced, and reused as a way of life. We took it as a point of pride to make it through a winter, wearing sweaters and turning off the heat at night. While I’ve had to embrace certain things as I’ve gotten older, (like Air Conditioning)-I haven’t really strayed far from my roots.
When my friends first started talking about carbon footprints, I figured that it was a trend that would soon pass. I had forgotten about the power of middle class guilt.
Like a Jewish mother, insidious and all caring. Concerned for your well being, while the finger of shame points directly at you. It isn’t your fault that you’re murdering our planet, and that our children will gasp for a single breath of unpoisoned air. You’re just ignorant.
And so on.
We also have the problem of shortsightedness. We cheer as we recycle paper into…well, more paper, not seeing the poisoning of waterways by the chemicals that are required to bleach and process that paper into creamy whiteness.
Why does this have me so irritated?
The problems are many. It’s a complicated issue, most of which is dealing with the lesser of multiple evils, while striving to maintain a balance of sorts. In addition, we have companies who profit greatly from people’s sense of shame for their good fortune.
What a crock.
Who’s governing this booming new eco-business? In 2008, it was projected that carbon offset organizations would ring the cash registers (manual only, please) in at better then 100 million.
Are you laughing yet? I know I did. It’s not only the immediate impact that your direct actions have, but it’s the indirect ones as well.
I’m to take responsibility for the trucks that bring the product to the store, the factories that produce the packaging for the product, the printing company that utilizes the inks on the packaging for the product, the store where I purchased it better have recycling and disposal policies too. That wasn’t so bad was i…
…Ah. Not done yet.
The gasoline in the vehicle that brought the grain to market, the power (unless ecologically obtained) that ran the equipment in the factory that processed it, the farm equipment that harvested it, and the vehicles that brought the farmer the seed to grow my bloody cereal.
Wait. I need milk, too.
Better forget it.
I have a better way. To assuage your guilt, I offer the following exciting opportunity.
Send me money. I will shut down my home, strip myself of clothing, and fast, so that I don’t buy into the harmful karma of the food on my table.