Okay, put your hands down now, you filthy conservatives who are only concerned with raping the planet! That's the picture the Left paints, isn't it? As long as you can make a buck, it doesn't matter how many streams you pollute or how dirty the air gets, because...well, I'm not exactly sure why, because no one I know likes dirty air or water. It's been said that the anti-capitalist Left became "environmentalists" so that as they destroy our nation's economy, they could say they're doing it to "save the earth".
Balderdash! Capitalism has enabled the technology to keep our emissions down and keep the environment cleaner, because we can afford to! Back in the days of the old Iron Curtain and a partitioned Germany, some of the filthiest spots on the planet were in Communist countries that did not have the wealth to afford safeguards on pollution.
Obama's recent rescission of ludicrously high standards for "parts per billion" of ozone in this country, where even the air above our national parks might not meet the standards, got me to thinking, what would individuals who want to "save the earth" be willing to give up personally to make improvements in air quality that are nearly too small to measure?
(Think: Al Gore with his limo idling outside one of his global warming speeches, so he doesn't have to get into a cold car, to drive to airport where a private jet is waiting to take him back to his mega mansion with all the lights burning while he's gone, but on a smaller scale.)
And I thought, what can a good, honest (stop laughing!) green weenie do personally to improve the environment? First thing? Unplug the 'fridge. Your refrigerator runs 24/7 and is probably the largest energy consumer in your house. Unplug it and don't buy anything perishable that will not keep unrefrigerated.
Some of you will find this to be an inconvenience. (Talk about your "Inconvenient Truths"!) You may find that you need to go to the store a little more often. Perhaps daily. But, don't drive to the store. You cannot waste what precious little ground you gained by unplugging your 'fridge, if you pollute the air making multiple trips to the store. Find a store within walking or biking distance. Or work on those calf muscles, because you're not going to let a little thing like this deter you from saving the planet, are you? Think about it!!! The WHOLE PLANET!!!! That's better! Must keep things in perspective!
Buy locally. A typical modern supermarket has a wondrous assortment of fruits and vegetables from around the globe. My last trip, I noticed some wonderfully fresh rhubarb that had been grown in Canada. DO NOT BUY IT! Do not buy anything that is not in season where you live. Some diesel belching truck brought those here and in good conscience, you must avoid contributing to that mindset.
Unplug your furnace and your air conditioner. This is a way to stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in the third world.
Think of those poor, benighted people burning cow chips for cooking and heat. Of course, you could fire up the woodstove or a fireplace or a barbeque grill, but you know the prodigious amounts of soot put into the air by them, so you forego them. Wrap your self in a nice quilt in the winter (so long as all the fibers were grown and sewn locally) and console yourself with the fact that you are SAVING THE PLANET. Not just a portion of the planet, but the entire freaking planet. Feel free to shake your fist at your neighbors who are oblivious to the planet's plight.
Boycott "Big Water". Daily showers are overrated. It takes power to pump that water into your household. Try digging a well. Buy water from the store if you have to (whatever will fit on the back of your bicycle) but be sure to take a reusable container. Preferably not plastic, since those are made from byproducts from the evil petroleum industry. And you can turn off your water heater, too. That also runs 24/7 for most of us, whether we're using it or not. You can get a solar shower from most good camping stores. How often you take one is up to you, but, we are saving the entire planet!!!
Sit in the dark when the sun is not shining. Living off the grid used to mean using candles and kerosene lamps to avoid using electricity. No more. Light a candle sometime, invite your friends over (if you still have any after not showering so much), and watch the smoke that comes off them. Sometimes, people who burn a candle repeatedly in one place may notice a darkening on the ceiling above it. This is pollution. Your fireplace pollutes, your candles and oil lamps pollute (and just where did you think that oil came from, hmmm?). If you live in a city where there are streetlights, petition to have them turned off. In these tough economic times, cities are on a budget, too. This will lower their carbon footprint and might even save you a little on your property tax (or your evil Republican landlord's taxes, as the case may be.) Of, course, it will be a little harder to ride your bike to the store at night, but they've got these tiny generators you can attack to your bike's wheels to power a light. Some nights, you might even want to bring it inside and treat the family to a few extra minutes of carbon free lighting?
And since I'm sure you're going to unplug your computer and sell your TV right after you finish reading this, one last thought:
A large, coal fired generating plant, generating power for 10,000 homes, puts out far fewer emissions than 10,000 homes with woodstoves, candles, and oil lamps. So much less, that you can even plug in your 'fridge, if you want, and enjoy a few of the creature comforts we take for granted. Like the glowing screen you're staring at now.
No one wants dirty air or water, but some of us realize that regulations that cripple our economy are actually counterproductive to keeping the environment clean. I think our cities can live with the same amount of ozone found naturally over our national parks. I seem to recall a story about a small Alaskan town where they actually had to introduce small amounts of pollution into their waterways to keep them in compliance with what the federal government required of them. (Please don't ask for a citation, I've slept since then!)
We have made great strides in reducing pollution in our country over the last several decades. At some point, the diminishing returns of larger and larger investments for smaller and smaller gains should provide a wake up call for the green weenies.
Sometimes good is good enough. If not, I look forward to your reports on what you are doing personally to turn it around. Hand carried, of course, on paper made locally from locally grown fibers. Because, I'm sure you want to be consistent.
Cross posted at Proof Positive