I turned on my air conditioning for the first time today and as I write this, it’s getting a little chilly so I eagerly await the sweat warmth of our natural-gas powered heat’s tongue to to lap at the goosebumps on my toes. This while Costa Rica has gone 75 days powering the country purely on renewable energy.
As much as I’d like to think I’m concerned about the environment, I recognize that convenience triumphs over my sense of global obligation. This isn’t just true for me, it’s true for everyone. The most ardent environmentalist, the guy who made a stage show about it and later won an Academy Award for the movie, Al Gore, flies on a private jet. Sure, he could champion a magnet train (probably fund one) or at the least fly on the mass-transit of air travel, a regular freaking airplane. But he doesn’t because air travel sucks and it’s way more convenient to take a private jet if you can afford it. I know the argument of “one person cannot make a dent in a global problem,” but I’d like to think this one person is not contributing to the issue. Yet I am.
The convenience of our current lives is so good that there are people who claim that the mountain of scientific evidence, the visual evidence, the record Winter/Summers, the fact that nations gather for climate summits, and a scientific consensus are all just a vast left-wing conspiracy. (For what? I dunno, to spearhead new industries and ignite a second industrial revolution…or as an evil plot to cripple those altruistic oil companies and hinder economic growth so we have no choice but to turn to Socialism for salvation? I think that’s the reason for not even trying to explore alternative energy.) On the other side, many of us enjoy hot showers, but none of us are taking reclaimed water, boiling it in a basin using a stove powered by a recumbent bicycle, then bathing ourselves, putting that water back in the basin, pedaling that stationary bike, and boiling our pasta dinner in it.
You want to know why the environment doesn’t stand a chance? Because even entertainment triumphs over concern for planetary destruction. Burning Man is a festival that celebrates the culmination of their massive counter-culture movement by sending massive amounts of carcinogens into the air by pointlessly burning a man-shaped tower in effigy. To metaphorically celebrate our collective death?
You know how we encourage carpooling? There are entire sports devoted to the antithesis of carpooling, like these sports are doing donuts on the concept of ride-sharing. I can’t even count how many motorsports are in existence. All of which are staggeringly pointless and anti-environment, yet no one is asking them to smog-check their cars or telling Jeff Gordon to carpool with Danica Patrick (Formula 1 fans, simply substitute the names Michael Schumacher and Fernando Alonso–Thus completing the most research I have ever done for a post.). Greenpeace should be posted up outside of every X-Games motocross event.
For that matter, golf courses are a horrendous waste of natural environment, if not directly damaging the local ecology by destroying habitats, not to mention the waste and chemicals it takes to maintain those lush lawns (the only green lawns in California are golf courses, yet Californians are being encouraged, “if it’s yellow, let it mellow,” in regard to flushing habits. Sigh, remember when California wasn’t perpetually engulfed flames? Ah, memories.).
In spite of all that, our complacency is assured because those boring-ass sports provide a necessary and desperately sought distraction from the ultimate demise we are hastening through lethargy and deep, meaningful love of convenience.
Thank you, convenience, for you will allow me true luxury and comfort as the world burns around me…Oh, wait, I’m wrong, as my child starves to death because crops can’t grow anywhere but our new colony on Mars. Good luck, Mars colony, hope no one re-discovers factory cow farms and the joy of a motor’s hum.
Personally, I think the degradation of the environment is worth it just a little if I can recharge my phone 12 times per day after I burn the battery out playing Candy Crush. Plus, as an added bonus, there’s a chance that, eventually, the climate will change so much that I’ll get to see snow without having to leave the Caribbean. What? It could happen. I’M NOT A SCIENTIST!
It’s true, all true. I luxuriate in my own hypocrisy every single day.
We made our choice. We chose a few decades of really solid convenience over the future of the planet.
When he was in a position of power, Al Gore – that poster boy for the environment – went out and argued FOR trade deals that devestated environmental regulations worldwide. No politician wants to be the one to say (like Carter did) “Just put on a sweater, moron.”
What can I say? You’ve said it all.
Well, I think you have covered all the bases. The news media doesn’t do investigation of things they thing are unpopular, such as Al Gore’s private jet to get him to places where he can make more money off of panic among us. The seasons and climates change over passing time. It might be hot, but it isn’t the hottest day on record, and it might be cold, but it’s not the coldest day on record, and it might rain, but there was more in 1950. The next cycle will be Al Gore out there saying we are headed for an ice age.
Nice comment, Linda Kay. I try to reduce my carbon footprint, but it probably doesn’t do as much good as Al Gore could do by not flying in a private jet.
So basically we’re all hypocrits who’d flip the bird on anyone when the opportunity arises to go and travel in a private jet. Let’s reboot.
Let’s also not forget that a lot of third world countries have absolutely no regulations on this kind of thing, so places like Thailand (which I’ve been) are just one gigantic black cloud of factory waste floating through the air. But, you know, it’s important that I waste my time smog checking my 2010 high efficiency car* at an emissions place because that’s totally what’s wrecking the planet.
*Coincidentally it’s a Ford, but my reason for kidnapping Jeff Gordon has nothing to do with carpooling and everything to do with my hatred for NASCAR.