Saturday, June 21, 2008

Sustainability Geek

I was out in the park enjoying the moderate temperature and sunshine an hour ago. There's a church down the street. Someone's getting married, probably as I write this. One of the monstrosities above was parked outside.

It made me annoyed, because the SUV limo is essentially a big "fuck you" to the rest of us. Climate change? Fuck you. Peak oil? Fuck you. Poverty? Fuck you. Blood for oil? Fuck you. See? It looks like an SUV, but really, it's one of these:

I just fucking love that kid.

It put me in mind of this editorial from the New York Times a couple of days ago:

It’s hard to convince most Americans that there is a silver lining to $4-a-gallon gasoline. But General Motors provided a nugget of good news when it announced that it would shutter much of its production of pickups and sport utility vehicles — and might even get rid of the Hummer, the relative of the Abrams tank unleashed on the streets in the cheap-gas days of the 1990s.

It’s hardly the solution to global warming, or the country’s dependence on imported oil, but it’s a start.

...and a related story from the Toronto Star of a couple weeks back. I'm amazed that people think our governments can do anything about the harsh economic realities facing the big three automakers.

And I'm getting a bit tired of harping on this (probably not as tired as you are of hearing it), but not everybody gets it. You, loyal reader, undoubtably do. But many people don't, and think that any attempt to reduce our dependance on oil is just hippies being pushy. I started a fight on the local fishwrap's blog yesterday by asking why us sustainability geeks inspire such venom. One regular responded:

Brett,those crappy jobs that you speak of, are worked by real people, with real families. If those jobs disappear, there is nothing to replace them. Good for you that you are fortunate to work at a job that does not emit carbon, and your workplace will be able to absorb the cost of a carbon credit to keep you employed. It is economic suicide for any city to put its inhabitants out of work. The city coffers cannot absorb the number of people who will be unemployed thanks to the the green hysteria movement. It is fortunate that you have the surplus income to be able to afford to pay higher gas prices to drive your car, to heat your home and to light your home. Without a job, there are many that will be unable to do that.

I made a reference to McJobs being crappy in my comment. And I still believe that those jobs are crappy, nay, shitty, and I wish a sector of the population didn't have to rely on them. It's the job itself that is shitty, not the poor bastard who's stuck doing it (which has been me in the past, and may be me again in the future).

And I don't know how the editor will respond to my link or quote. So don't tell him.

The "stay the course" mentality is disturbing to me. You can deny climate change all you want. Tell that to the people standing neck deep in a river that used to be their cornfield in the midwest. Tell that to people in deserts that used to be meadows. It was 32 fucking degrees here last Thanksgiving. That's not normal. But fine, climate change ain't happening. Knock yourself out. But the ideal that an economy so dependent on one resource is the best plan for North America makes me gape. I have no idea what to say to people who think that oil is limitless, virtually free, and convenient.

I know a petroleum based economy seemed like a good idea at the time. It's only faith, stubbornness, ignorance or fear (and those four things are very closely related) that keeps us on this path.

I see a lot of parallels between being an atheist and an environmental activist.

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