Monday, July 09, 2007

Environmental Pledges…

Did you see Live Earth this weekend?

Vicky, Jeff, and I hung out Saturday and, in addition to seeing Pirates III (which, in my opinion was just too long even for as good as it was), watched quite a bit of it. I DVR’ed it, also.

At one point in the show, Al Gore stepped out to deliver what I can only call The Live Earth Pledge.

1. I will change four light bulbs to CFL (compact fluorescent lightbulbs) at my home.

That one’s easy. Vicky and I have changed nearly all of our bulbs to CFLs. (Sadly, they don’t make them in all sizes… yet.)

2. I will shop for the most energy efficient electronics and appliances.

Again, no problem. Vicky’s been terrific about this and I am someone fascistic.

3. I will shut off my equipment and lights whenever I’m not using them.

This one has been tough (some people like to leave lights on… but I won’t mention her name…) but we’re working on it.

4. I will ride public transit or carpool one or more times per week.

This one was…. Ummmm…. This one was…. Ummmmm.

See, here’s the thing. I can’t take public transit. There is no public transit from my home to anywhere near work. And I don’t know anyone who works down by where I work.

Now, the way the pledge is worded, you can opt out of one of the selections – and Vicky kept telling me that, after she had taken the pledge online and forwarded it to her friends. “You can just opt out of number four!”

But could I? Really? Wouldn’t that make me something of a hypocrite?

You see, I don’t need anyone telling me I’m not doing enough (no matter how disingenuous they’re being) because I often think I’m not doing enough on my own! It doesn’t matter how fuel efficient my car is; I don’t have the public transit option! And that kind of pisses me off.

And, I’ll tell you something, that wasn’t the only thing about Live Earth that bothered me. Sure, Live Earth was a very good thing. It raised environmental awareness. It taught people what they can do. (For instance, did you know that your phone charger left plugged in – even when it’s not charging anything – still draws power?) It rocked. But it did very little to change the real polluters: corporations. It has been said that recycling is meaningless as long as huge corporations are allowed to pollute with impunity. One horrible side-effect of the Republican’s removal of all regulations and oversight is that corporations are no longer regulated or looked over; they’re free to pull whatever shit they want, for the most part. So, we’re seeing rivers dying once again and all sorts of illegal activities on the part of those who have the most money: corporations.

What bothers me is that someone should go after them as well. Do the things the government once did and should do: regulate, inspect, TAX. Yes, that’s right. All you mother-fuckers who are so against welfare should put your money where your mouth is and abolish corporate welfare – make corporations pay taxes again!

But, in the meantime, I’m stuck without a pledge.

Then, something occurred to me. For all the good Vicky and I try to do, our greatest environmental sin is Vicky’s car. Compact SUV it may be, but it’s still an SUV. New cars are not cheap but we should be willing to make some really worthwhile commitment to help. So, last night, Vicky and I took a pledge. For Vicky’s birthday next year, we’re going to get her a new car. It will be more environmentally friendly and reduce our carbon footprint. It will, of course, have to be one she likes – so we’ll probably pay a pretty penny – but when we’re talking about the future of our future child (with whom I hope Vicky to be pregnant by then) we need to be willing to do that.

Then, I’ll feel a little better.

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