Thursday, February 14, 2008
Going Green: On second thought, make it a cheeseburger...
Okay, today I want to address one Elephant in the room, that big "global-warming-destruction-of-the-earth-as-we-know-it" thing. Basically, we've passed the point where there is any debate at all that it is indeed happening. The climate is changing, and it's going to equate to a bit more than minor discomfort for most of us. The thing is, I don't think our society locally or globally is willing to undergo a little discomfort now to prevent severe tragedy later.
Don't get me wrong, a lot of folks are doing their parts. You may be one of them. Maybe you use cloth grocery bags, high efficiency light bulbs, or maybe you even drive a hybrid. That's just awesome. Incidentally, when was the last time you had a cheeseburger?
I was watching National Geographic's "Six Degrees Could Change the World" the other evening, and I started to really think about how much we do that we don't even think about, particularly when one expert assesses the carbon footprint of the American cheeseburger, tallying up the energy it takes raise the grain and then the cattle, milk the cows and make the cheese, and then to “refrigerate, cook and serve drive-by burgers by the billions.” I mean, would we really be giving up that much in giving up the cheeseburger? Most people you talk to on the streets of the United States would say "yes"! Hmmm... cheeseburger today... may equal mass destruction and devastating human casualties tomorrow... I really like cheeseburgers... Seriously, even if we were willing to give up the cheeseburger, do you think McDonald's would be? Heck, we can't even get companies to stop sending junk mail, let alone stop serving up profitable products. A lot of people depend on those cheeseburger-generated jobs, after all. (discomfort now.... death and destruction later.... )
Speaking of junk mail, has anyone tried to stop the junk mail from coming to your house? Seriously, it takes $3.50 and 5 minutes to run into the grocery store and grab a flourescant. It may take up to 3 hours of hold time on the phone (with one company) to get them to stop sending their junk mail. The customer service folks just don't have a "stop-the-mailings" index card in front them. They literally have no idea how to do it and are frankly flabbergasted that anyone would ask! NEA (yes, the National Education Association) is one of the worst culprits for junk mail in my Pennsylvania home. Sure, we want "Great Public Schools for Every Child", but can we keep the coastline relatively where it is while we're at it? My wife has spent a lot of time on the phone with them trying desperately to explain that, "yes, we still want to belong to the union, but please stop sending us all of the junk mailings." This shouldn't be that difficult to explain to an organization made up of some of the most educated and enlightened people in our society.
Let's face it, none of us want the destruction of life as we know it on our concience, but none of us want to give up the conveniences of modern life either. Sure, we'll toss in some cloth bags and a flourescant or two, but turning off the computer or unplugging the TV when we're not using it is for most of us asking a bit much. I mean, it's painful enough to wait for the computer to boot up when you want to use it "right now", let alone walk the 5 steps from the couch to the TV because the remote won't plug it in for you.
Man... I'm hungry... maybe I'll go get a burger.