Thursday, August 19, 2010

No Impact Marge

In nature there are neither rewards nor punishments; there are consequences.

Robert Green Ingersoll

I once told Clint I wish I could be like Kendra Wilkinson and the Girls Next Door. We were watching an episode of the Girls planning a Midsummer's Night's Dream party at the mansion when I blurted out this guilty pleasure of a wish. While I was sure he wishes parts of me were like Kendra Wilkinson too, he gave me one of the biggest looks of disgust I had seen since I showed him the bunion on my right foot. But I had an explanation for him! I envied their ability to see the world and all the fun in it. I wished I could live a life where my conscience wasn't screaming at me every time I drove, turned on a switch, left a faucet on, or wasted a sheet of paper. I wish my perspective of life were as sequined and feathered as theirs but alas, it is not...

(People with environmentalist tendencies just don't seem to have as much flair as people with porn tendencies.)

I'm not sure if I'm an environmentalist or if I am just a concerned citizen. I have always had weird habits about waste and water usage. (My mom can attest to my hoarding of "garbage" but all those old notes and deconstructed school projects were reusable!) I had a fabulous fourth grade teacher who taught us the importance of environmental sustainability and preservation. Our assignments consistently revolved around the Brazilian rainforest or tropical animals. In college, an environmentalist friend taught me more about agriculture, animal industry, and how it only made sense to be a vegetarian. And my more recent studies of books and documentaries in past years have led to a more holistic understanding of the environment, how our actions impact the environment, and how the results of our impact affect people in other countries, particularly third-world countries.

I have now honed a decision-making thought-process that would blow Kendra's mind.

Take for instance, printing paper. I saw someone printing documents the other day and as soon as I heard the hum of the printer and saw the paper feed through, I was overwhelmed with visions of logging trucks, bare forest floors, paper processing plants, bleach-water running into streams and polluting the environment, large trucks spewing smoke into the sky while transporting reams of paper, until finally all that was there was a single sheet of fine white paper sitting in a printer tray.

It's the same thought process for everything... someone commented on their new iPhone4 and how they quickly replaced their old iPhone. That old iPhone had to be manufactured leading to fumes from melting plastic painted the sky, a trail of smog tracing its footsteps. That old iPhone was probably "e-recycled", which means it ended up in a heap of other old electrical waste in a Chinese village where e-recycling is outsourced and villagers are asked to remove any useable wiring and plating until they are consumed by lead and mercury. (See for yourself or read the article)

But no one wants to hear these things. No one wants to be inconvenienced this way. I would be such a funner friend if I thought like Kendra. But I just don't think that way and sometimes I wonder if I should. Life would be easier, maybe I would be happier, and my husband too.

There is a small percentage of people in this world trying to fix these issues. They have a long hard fight ahead of them. Meanwhile, the remaining 99.95% of the population in the developed world is happy with the way life is; their favorite fruits and vegetables are always available regardless of the season or terrain, iPhones magically disappear when discarded, and the only waste paper leaves behind is in their garbage can. While I know I am not part of the 99.95%, I am also not fighting enough to really be included with the dedicated .05%. But I am trying, regardless of the upstream battle (actually, I think many people I know are in this little huddle with me but for the sake of easy reading, I won't redo the math and recalculate the Kendras vs. Environmentalists).

I recently read a book called No Impact Man. My goal is to acheive a lifestyle where I can be Minimal Impact Marge. My fear though is that my efforts will fall on deaf ears with the society around me.... I was already mocked yesterday for wanting to save paper. (Why are people so mean?) So why is that .05% fighting so hard when 99.95% aren't even aware of the battle? What if the 99.95% don't even care if we win the battle? What will we be fighting to save then?

What if the world doesn't want to be saved? What if my lack of impact isn't on the environment, but on the people (Kendras) around me?

No comments:

Post a Comment