Friday, May 25, 2007

Why I feel so out of touch…

Sometimes, I feel like I should have never stopped acting, like writing just isn’t right for me. (No pun intended.) People loved me when I acted. I was adulated. I was admired. As a writer, I piss people off. I even make my wife tell me to shut up.

Let me give you an example.

I started doing research for the new book this week by looking into the state of the birds and the bees… and the frogs. As you probably saw from yesterday’s blog, the information I learned was not encouraging.

So, I told Vicky. I mean, after all, we’re interested in bringing a new life into this world. You’d think she’d want to know what kind of world we’re bringing this new life to, right? I thought so. So, I told her about how the West Nile Virus is killing off the crows. I told her about the decimation of 2/3 of domestic honeybees and 90% of feral bees. I told her about how the frogs will all be dead in our lifetime.

But she didn’t want to hear about it. She’d rather not think about those things.

And I was dumbfounded. I thought she’d be different from everyone else – because it seems that the entire world would rather go on with their suicidal ways, ignoring the obvious dangers. (Dead bees = less or no pollination = less or no food = less or no people!)

It’s making me sick.

Which is one of the reasons I want to write this book. I don’t know if anyone will want to read it, of course. I feel like a madman shouting from rooftops… or, worse still, tilting at windmills.

Look at how we chose to spend our money.

If we decided to skip one movie this year – one of the hundreds of movies that came out every year – we could make the world a better place. If those who invested in movies spent their money on causes that helped the earth instead of funding one, single film, the world would be helped. You want numbers? Spiderman 3 cost $258 million dollars to produce. With that budget, you could fund:

Friends of the Earth
Environmental Defense Fund
The Wilderness Society
The Earth Liberation Front
World Wide Fund for Nature
Earth First

You could fund all of these groups – and then some – for an entire year! How’s that for a choice? One movie – a single movie – two hours of your life – or funding to help save your children’s lives for one year!

Can’t get away from your movies?

Okay, how about this, then: Each day, Las Vegas uses 6,000 megawatts of power to power all of its dazzling lights, its casinos, shows, and attractions. The US DoE provides an average cost for each kilowatt at 9.86 cents. It took me a while to get the math right – Kw hours versus days, etc – and when I did, I did it again. It couldn’t have been right. But it was…

Every hour, Las Vegas uses nearly 25 million dollars. That’s not counting the water or the gas or the pollutants that come out of the cars the drive out there just to gamble for that hour – that’s just the electricity. Every day, it costs over 14 billion dollars to light the town. In one half hour, visitors to the Strip (just the Strip) spend tens of millions of dollars in gambling alone!

Now, imagine for just one second what could be done if you didn’t go to Las Vegas for one hour. Imagine what could happen if you didn’t go for one day. Imagine what the world would be like if the investors who got filthy rich off of Las Vegas said, “We will shut down for one day and put that money into cleaning up the environment.”

Just one day.


But when I mention this to Vicky – my love, above whom I hold no other – she gets mad at me as if I’m trying to take something away from her. Just suggesting that we miss one movie or don’t go to Las Vegas for one hour and I’m suddenly Jo Stalin. And it’s not just her. It’s everybody.

We live in a society where people stopped suggesting sacrifice a long time ago, where selfishness is indoctrinated from the toys we give our children that costs hundreds of dollars apiece, where greed is the highest virtue and to even question that is the greatest sin.

It was once suggested that the goal of a parent is to provide a better life for their children than they had, but today we leave our children nuclear waste, the waste of war, deforestation, climate change, extinctions, and on and on – and we teach them to leave it to their kids, should the world last long enough. The last laugh, it seems, is on the people who get here last.

How the hell are we ever going to protect our children when we won’t even give up a half hour of putting our money in a machine that blinks for us? (Yes, I’m talking about Vegas.)

I can hear it said that it's probably better just to ignore it all. After all, ignorance really is bliss. But where would that leave us?

So, yes, I feel completely out of touch. Maybe I am. Maybe I’m a latter day Cassandra.

But I hope that's not true.

1 comment:

Jenn from WA said...

I can't help but wonder if the mass majority of people, myself included, are so calloused by the lack of response/respect from our political leaders, that we just have given up. Because as I read your blog, while it made sense and I got a go get 'em attitude, the back of my mind was thinking cynical thoughts. Nothing's going to change. Which, I know is the wrong attitude. But that makes me do we change that attitude?

And while I have no love loss for bees, I do understand their importance. I hate the little critters, but they play a role. I read an article that suggested that this type of thing happens every few years and that we shouldn't worry.