I’m probably goring a sacred cow here, but this Earth Day should be recognized for the fraudulent crazyness that it is. All day today across downtown Calgary well intentioned companies were handing out paraphernalia associated with greener living. The offerings ranged from reusable bags to free coffee coupons (not printed on recycled paper), to fluorescent light bulbs. People, none of this means anything in the unholy mess of impact that we are creating on this planet. I’m going off a bit of here, so bear with me.
First lets briefly recap global warming, oh excuse me, climate change. If you’ve done any research on the subject other than opinion pieces, you are aware that our planet is normally much warmer than it is today. That dinosaurs roamed the earth for millions of years in a more temperate climate. That we are currently exiting the little ice age. More to the point is that all the carbon humans have produced since the beginning of time would not match a good volcanic explosion even a bit. The earth goes through climactic shifts owing to sun cycles, geological phenomena, oceans and orbital rotation and all the carbon and methane in the world cannot match the cycles that it goes through. But what this hand wringing about carbon emissions DOES do is take all the focus off the real critical issues our planet is facing. Some of which are truly horrifying like the great plastic continent in our ocean, the loss of habitat and extinction for species OTHER than ourselves, our genetic engineering of food, our deforestation, all the chemical pollution from our fertilizers, pesticides, factories and industries. These very important issues get shoved aside while some very smart people in legislature propose capping carbon emissions and implementing carbon taxes. Why smart? Because they’re increasing taxes (read raking money in hand over fist) on a non-existent problem while ignoring all the real ones.
Secondly I’d like to take on the fluorescent effing lightbulbs. These atrocities have been legislated into existence via a Canada wide ban on incandescents coming into effect by 2012. Aside from the fact that the government should not legislate away my right to choose, the whole ban smacks of political stupidity -it’s green washing at its finest. Even if the whole world switched to these ugly flickering monstrosities the overall effect on climate would be less than miniscule while the impact of all that mercury from improperly disposed of/broken bulbs likely will. Add in the fact that Health Canada is currently investigating the safety of CFL’s to determine their UV and radiation levels and you have a whole ball of stupid. BTW they last nowhere near seven years, they’re just seven times the cost.
Finally, if we are ever to get out of the environmental mess that we’re in, it’s going to take a lot more than turning off your lights for an hour or whatever other measure some retard suggests doing to ‘raise awareness’. It’s going to take a holistic paradigm shift in all areas of our lives – how we raise our food (not on factory farms and conventional agriculture), how we build our dwellings (not full of toxic paints, off-gassing carpets, with oversized footprints and a chemically weed-free lawn), how we produce clothing (not in China with child-labor and chemical dyes), and so on. Virtually every human endeavor to date has ended badly for our environment, either through our ignorance of messing with complex systems we don’t understand well, or through the sheer corruptibility of human nature. From the way we meet our energy needs to our entertainment there are very few pursuits that don’t harm the earth in some way. If you think turning off the lights for an hour and patting yourself on the back for the rest of the year is the solution, then nothing will ever truly change.
If you’re serious about doing your small part for the planet, then make a year round effort to put your money where your mouth is. Buy your food from local farmers who care about the earth and farm organically. (I don’t support current organic standards, but that’s a complex discussion for another day.) Buy meat in bulk from local farmers that don’t torture their animals before slaughter. Choose non-toxic components like paint and furniture for your home, remove toxic cleaners from your house and get simple with basic soap and vinegar based products. Support companies that want to revamp their products from the ground up ala Cradle to Cradle. Read Cradle to Cradle. If you have the business acumen start a company that does business not only without harm, but is actively good for the planet and its citizens. Remove chemicals from your garage and yard.. Buy a water barrel from Clean Calgary for outdoor uses. Grow some tomatoes and carrots and re-discover how screwed we are by the grocery stores. And remember “A small daily task if it really be daily, will beat the labors of a spasmodic Hercules” – Anthony Trollope.