I have known for a long time that I tend to march to the beat of my own drummer. Maybe that is why I am not surprised to see that such notions as Earth Day, Mother Earth, and Going Green simply do not resonate with me. Of all the things that make me warm and fuzzy, the parade that is all preoccupied with the environment or carbon credits or global warming leaves me rather cold.
Don’t get me wrong. If a Love Canal type toxic waste dump appears in my neighborhood, I’ll be carrying a placard. If we have an industrial threat such as the Bhopal disaster situated in a populated area I am on the bull horn. If the powers that be are so inept, so reckless that another Chernobyl could take place, I will be writing letters and screaming at the top of my lungs. Such threats are real.
If you can see the air where you live, you might have a problem. My city has oil refineries, yet experiences a lesser pollution index than such fellow industrial wastelands as Anchorage, Richmond, Vienna, and Vancouver. Those low levels are but 20 – 30% of what they record in many places in India, China, Romania, and Mexico, for example. If you can chew what you breathe, I would think it time to take action. However, if the United Nations brings up what it claims to be a problem, yet its only solution is for you to pay for carbon credits and the privilege of continuing what you are already doing, while offering much worse offenders a free pass, forgive me for being a tad skeptical.
Being green is becoming the new religion, the new flavor of the decade. Now we have NASCAR touting its own horn about how green they have become. They claim the largest recycling program in sports, Sunoco has its ethanol-infused fuel, and Pocono has a solar farm. It is good to recycle, to have cleaner burning fuel, and even seek out alternative, affordable, and readily available forms of energy. If you can not replace, at least improve. None of it replaces oil just yet, but I applaud their resolve.
Who knows, maybe one day all this might actually solve something. However, I could not care less that NASCAR, its sponsors, or the Arbor Day Foundation plans to plant 8000 trees, at least 90 in each racing market. What NASCAR giveth in carbon emissions these trees are supposed to taketh away?
Earth Day is everyday in NASCAR, or so I recently read. We plant a few trees and spread around some recycled rubber mulch and we want to pat ourselves on the back as if we are really doing something. Shoot a man and offer to replace him with a new baby, and if that rings logical to you then maybe planting that tree or buying that carbon credit might make some sense. It just does not to me.
Plant enough trees and your conscience is cleared of the emissions from a single race, a single season. My wife uses Fabreze to control my emissions, and thanks to her actions I can now sleep like a baby. I am proud of my aboriginal heritage, but Mother Earth? My Mom is made up of flesh and blood, not dirt. One tries to protect me, while the other would kill me if “she” had half a chance through exposure or disease. If I wanted to worship a tree I would have been a Druid.
Here is a thought. How about making sure people count and to ensure what we do in this modern world impacts our fellow man in the least intrusive fashion, without retarding our progress. An automotive industry that might produce and allow carburetion systems that can greatly extend fuel mileage might be a start in showing the green parade is for real. An oil industry that ensures that when an oil well or pipeline springs a leak there is a fast action method of taking care of the problem quickly with only short term damage is another thought. Maybe if we would properly compensate those who are adversely affected by the production, transportation, and refining of fossil fuels, just maybe those who feel screwed won’t be out to screw big oil in return. Do things that matter, that have a real demonstrable positive impact, and just maybe we could be on to something.
Maybe then we can continue enjoying the benefits of oil, such as a longer healthier life or that computer screen you are looking at right now, until such time as a new age source of energy can be developed and put forth. Planting a few trees and paying for carbon credits is just playing pretend. While such actions might make one feel good, imagine what doing something tangible, something that really accomplishes something, might make one feel. You are probably feeling green with envy at the prospect.