Friday, April 23, 2010

What Did You Do To Celebrate Earth Day?

I haven’t done anything to celebrate Earth Day this year just like I didn’t do anything to celebrate 420 Day .

Getting myself to work this morning was all I could manage. And no, I didn’t take the bus. I don’t deserve that much penance for my sins.

But sometimes, maybe doing nothing is the best thing, especially when the something you would have done can only be more harmful to the planet than any helpful thing could have been helpful. Does that make sense?

Like this for instance: All day I've been hearing about a 13 year old boy's attempt to climb Mt. Everest, making him the youngest person to ever summit Everest.

If the boy wants to do this and if somebody wants to shell out the enormous amount of money for him to do it, then fine. But don’t run the story on Earth Day as if this were some kind of celebratory event. What resources were expended in getting that boy to the top of Mt. Everest? How many gallons of fuel are expended each year in getting wealthy non-Nepalese to the Himalayas?

How much detritus has the mountain accumulated in the years since this tourist climbing began?

I don’t mean to be a Debbie Downer but this Everest climbing is anything but Earth friendly.

Everest climbing is nothing more than ego. Everest climbing is about fulfilling a fantasy of conquest. Everest climbing is putting oneself eye to eye with the gods, classic Aristotelian hubris. I think we know how that always ends.

I would love to visit the creatures of the Galapagos one day, but I would never suggest that the visit would express my love of Nature or would be in any way more eco-friendly than a trip to London or Rome. If anything, it would be less eco-friendly. At least in London I’m not trampling through the habitat of creatures any more endangered than I am.

To tell you what I think, I don’t think we’re going to make it. It’s 2010 and we in America have just now gotten the idea that we shouldn’t expect to receive a fresh, new plastic bag every time we go to the store? In 2010 alternative energy automobiles are not affordable for the majority of Americans?  In 2010, the 2nd largest city in the US does not have a public transportation system that is acceptable for the majority of middle class commuters?

In the meantime, until we get those little kinks worked out ice caps are melting; the rain forests are still being plundered; bio-diversity shrinks on a daily basis; the hills in my county burn more often and more fiercely every year while those in other parts of the country face worsening hurricane seasons.

All this while a big chunk of our population continues to deny that climate change is driven by human activity.

To tell you the truth, I don’t really know who’s right in that debate. I could be swayed either way. But I’ll say this, it doesn’t matter. Even if we’re not at fault, there must be something we can do to mitigate the impending disaster. Something with more impact than a compostable chip bag.

The solution? I don't know. Cut out waste where you can and enjoy what we have while we have it?

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