Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Environmental Ditz of 2008

For the final night of 2008 I thought it only appropriate to present, who I consider, the Environmental Ditz of the Year, but first must put forth a disclaimer that I am feeling cozy on Veuve Clicquot and may have stronger opinions than usual. But what the heck. It's New Years Eve for God's sake.

Drum roll, please. Since the Bush's, Cheney's and Palin's have all had their 15 minutes of fame in their defamation of the environment I am giving the award to Minnesota Congress Member Michele Bachmann. Now, I'm not sure if she has kids, or if they play hockey, but this chick is a drill-baby-drill, lip sticked pig who was separated at birth from Sarah Palin. According to Bachmann, climate change is simply fanaticism by Nancy Pelosi and liberal extremists trying to save the world. "We all know that someone did that over 2,000 years ago, they saved the planet- we didn't need Nancy Pelosi to do that." What the %$&# is she taking about?! Is she telling us that God saved the planet 2,000 years ago? God saving the planet makes as much sense as Sarah Palin calling herself a feminist (by the way, congratulations Bristol on the arrival of Tripp-y). Yeah, I'm sure that God is real proud of Hummers, Walmart and Nemo drowning on plastic bags floating throughout the hydrosphere. If you really think that God saved the planet 2,000 years ago then I'm guessing he's pretty pissed off at what we've done with all his hard work.

Additionally, Ms. Bachmann believes that she is the reason that our gas prices have taken a dive. Wow. I wonder if she also walks on water. Again, what the %$&#?! I'm sorry to keep comparing her to Sarah Palin but there really does seem to be a vein of familiarity in these two congressional sorority sisters. Can't ya just imagine Palin throwin' out a "you betcha" at Bachmann's comments? I'm thinking that there is a God after all since Obama managed to beat the skirt off Ms. Waisila and her running mate.

Well, that's all I have to say about that. Here is to a new year. A new start. A new president. A new hope of changing where we are heading. I truly believe we are at the tipping point. We either get our shit together or we eventually go down. In the end, the earth will win. She will flick us off this planet like lint off a bad suit. But maybe, just maybe, we can pull it together quick enough to scale back on the damage we have done. And just maybe we can spend 2009 heading in a new direction.

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Ho Ho Holiday Waste

I had what I considered to be a great idea this holiday. Instead of wrapping gifts in the typical Christmas wrap I instead put them in lovely reusable bags made from post-consumer plastic bottles. They even had a nifty drawing and endorsement from Sheryl Crow. I mean, who wouldn't love a bag that declares one's love of their home, planet earth? Well, turns out I got a fairly neutral response. While some receivers said nothing of the bags, others simply remained silent. Then there were the few who gave away the bags like they were Texas fruitcakes past their prime. My own father even brought it back to me stating that he had no need for it. Granted, he is a guy. And, he's a guy who has probably never considered using a reusable bag, let alone one made out of plastic bottles. I'm thinking that someone oughta come out with some manly bags sporting logos by Peterbilt or Craftsman Tools. Maybe then we can get a few more takers in the bring-your-own-bag movement. It wouldn't be a bad idea given that half of the paper that Americans consume is from wrapping and decorating all the tsotschke's we buy.

So getting back to the holiday waste. While I did my part in reducing my gift wrap usage I was guilty of mailing out holiday cards. According to RecycleWorks of San Mateo Americans buy an estimated 2.65 million cards each year which can then fill a football field 10 stories high. Ya know, I'm as up on holiday cheer as the next girl, but that's a lot of damn cards. Next year, my friends, expect to find some dazzling good cheer from the likes of BlueMountain or when you hear you've got mail.

As we exit the year and begin anew let's wrap a ribbon, a 38,000 mile long ribbon, around the planet and commit to reducing our consumption so that we are not left with 40,000 miles of waste next holiday.

"What is bought is cheaper than a gift." - Portuguese Proverb

Monday, December 29, 2008

Reduce, Reuse, Re-huh?

So, one of the topics, or shall I say, excuses, that frequently comes up when discussing recycling is that it takes the same amount of energy to recycle as it does to produce a new item. I find this to be an easy justification to toss that white zin bottle straight into the trash bin. Well, it turns out that it actually does not take as much energy to recycle as new production. In fact, by just recycling aluminum alone we can save up to 95% of the energy that it takes to produce new aluminum. That zin bottle, however, does not have quite the same status at only a 40% energy savings, but still a considerable reduction, nonetheless. Given that it can take one million years for a glass bottle to breakdown seems like a reasonable excuse to aim for the recycle bin rather than the trash. Besides, consider your recycling endeavor as justification for indulging in post-consumer glass delights such as Green Glass Products or the beautifully handmade creations by Kathleen Plate at Uncommon Goods. We can all wish away the numbers as we cram our waste bins so full that they are literally bursting at the lid, but the facts are the facts. There simply is no justification for not taking a bit of effort to recycle. Now, reducing and reusing are entirely separate topics best left for another rant. So head off and enjoy that pink wine of yours, but be sure to think a million years down the road before carelessly choosing the wrong bin.

"Listen up, you couch potatoes; each recycled beer can saves enough electricity to run a television for three hours." - Denis Hayes

Sunday, December 28, 2008

One Green Step at a Time

I recently had the pleasure of spending the holidays with my relatives, which were filled with both pleasantries and the much anticipated political debate, yet what I didn't expect was the stark realization of the vast differences in our thinking. This was most evident when I opened a gift from "Mother Earth" with a card thanking me for doing my part to keep my kin environmentally correct while finding a tube of Chicken Poop lip balm inside.

Okay, so I can take the occasional gag gift as well as the next girl. In fact, re-gift anyone? That's definitely a keeper for next year, but what surprised me most about receiving "the poop" was how hyper-aware I became of my families lack of concern for a subject that I view as somewhat detrimental. I mean, I really believe that our environment is in trouble. I really believe that we can all make it better or worse. I don't look at The Inconvenient Truth as mere political propaganda. There are polar bears drowning for Christ's sake.

So I spent the day wondering how I could educate and persuade a change of behavior among my loved ones who laugh away my actions without turning them off with too much lecturing. I certainly don't need the Monkey Farts lip stuff as a gift next year. Hence, my attempt at a little daily awareness. This blog is dedicated to the Uncle Gary's of the world who laugh away climate change while throwing out "nuke china" solutions with the wave of a hand. My hope is to plant a little seed that one day might become a sprout of understanding; a sprout of compassion for the world around us. So, with one green step at a time, a blog is born.

"The earth we abuse and the living things we kill will, in the end, take their revenge; for in exploiting their presence we are diminishing our future." - Marya Mannes