Tuesday, December 01, 2009

blowing in the wind

Over the weekend I was cornered, or called over to the coffee table, to answer for my opinion on Global Warming. I was apparently next-in-line after X had addressed this same query; I attempted a deft escape by replying that we basically believe the same thing and, well, essentially…ditto. That didn’t seem to bat away my inquisitor so I decided to simply break out my big gun-theory created for just this moment: us. What I find most potent about this ideal is that is anchors itself in common sense and simply reaches out and touches our lives. Instead of interpreting and analyzing scientific data, and in place of the skewing of numbers to our own needs or yelling at each other (or using phrases like “Drill, baby, drill!”) why not just look at our house and our life and contemplate behaviors. If you think about your daily life and its influence on what’s immediately around you then you’ll know there are simple changes available. Let’s say you’re at the market and you load all your groceries in shitty little plastic bags. Why? First of all, they are horrible for carrying anything. Second, do you like the idea, or vision, of all those bags floating about your neighborhood and hanging in trees and shrubbery? Probably not. We can go out and buy reusable bags for next to nothing and eliminate that problem. What about when you leave the house and turn the heat (or A/C) off for the day; what’s crazy about that? You save some money and don’t burn up fuel. Maybe you decide to ride a bus, ride the Metro, or walk from here to there. Maybe you decide to buy a smaller car because you’re tired of paying $120 to fill up your truck or van. Who knows? There are loads of things that sit within your own circle that will do all of us some good without even contemplating the larger circle beyond your neighborhood or city. If you think about spending less money, cleaning up your life and home, and trying – even just a bit – to cut back on the obvious stuff then we’re halfway home.

We import about 30% of our oil from countries we seem to label, somewhat blindly, as “terrorists”; most of our imported oil actually comes from Canada and Mexico. If instead of fighting a huge tapestry of ‘eliminating oil usage at all costs’, we started in the backyard and worked toward a 15, 20, or 25% reduction then we’d be well on our way. A small piece in our house, where we cut back by 20%, isn’t at all painful and if we all make a similar decision it’d be better all about the place.

Maybe in ten years we’ll won’t be debating reduction in petroleum usage but celebrating new and renewable sources. What’s weird about global warming is that it’s not actually an argument, is it? It’s not a battle between armies massed against each other, really. Just the common sense around your life and home is a good enough start.

Granted, my answer while sitting on the coffee table wasn’t quite as detail but the gist was the same.

At that point, I excused myself and made a cup of tea.

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