Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Happy Earth Day
Happy Earth Day!
I used to look forward Earth Day. Unfortunately, since the primary goal of Earth Day is to raise political awareness, the community events surrounding Earth Day come off a bit too partisan for my taste.
The partisan line, of course, is that one protects the environment by expanding government and limiting personal freedom. Looking at the scars on the mountainside funded by the construction of public roads, listening to the clanking of Trax and inhaling the exhaust of empty city buses, it seems to me that government ends up doing more destruction for less gain than the free individual.
I believe that conservation is neither the exclusive domain of the peoples government nor the free individual. I believe that free people do a better job maximizing the return from the resources than big bureaucracies. Yet my opinion is obviously a minority.
So, I thought I would spend the day trying to figure out how to save energy.
My big innovation this year came with the realization that pulling the red cord on the garage door opener lets me open the garage door by hand. This saves precious electicity.
I am not sure if the extra effort to avoid using an electric garage door opener will amount to a saved planet. It may be nothing more than an empty symbolic gesture.
I've decided that the compact florescent bulbs I installed were nothing but an empty gesture.
You see, a few Earth Days ago, I realized that there was no need to turn lights on at night in the first place. Simply remembering where things are lets me walk through the house in the dark. If I don't turn on the lights, than my little mercury laden light bulbs do nothing but create waste.
I now feel guilty every time I turn on a light, and guilty for not turning on lights.
Speaking of creative ways to save energy: A wind up flashlight gives enough light to put a dollop of toothpaste on a brush. Since we brush and floss by feel, I realized that there is no moral justification for having the bathroom light on when preparing for sleep. Imagine the energy savings if everyone made the committment to brush their teeth in the dark!
Unless I have a book that I am reading, there really is no need to have a light on when I visit the john late at night. Toilets work by gravity after all.
I am not sure if any of my symbolic gestures amount to anything. The sad truth is that the symbolic gestures simply have gotten me to a point where I lament everything I consume.
For example, in a state of irrational green exhuberance, I bought two extra green bags.
Since I only have two hands, I only need two bags for the walk back from the store. Anything green bags are simply a greedy waste.
Innocent blades of jute gave their all so that I can overendulge in green bags. I've sinned against Gaia and am racked by guilt.
I've tallied up all of the symbolic gestures I've made to save the earth throughout the years. None of them seem to have justified my existence.
Anyway, I am having a hard time thinking of new ways to cut my energy consumption.
I have all sorts of ideas about how other people can save energy.
I've never really liked trying to tell other people how to live.
Perhaps that is why I don't enjoy green events any more. They seem to be full of busy bodies who condemn others.
I don't think we should engage in such nonsense, unless there is an issue of sufficient substance.
For example, right now, I believe that Salt Lake City is facing an issue of substance. The Wasatch Front is suffering a major problem with an invasive weed called Donkey Spurge. This toxic weed from the Middle East is starting to cover mountainsides. It kills the native wildlife and is a true problem that Utahn's should unite against.
Cycling down Wasatch Drive from Pete's Rock to the Mouth of Big Cottonwood Canyon, one finds the weed is completely out of control.
Utahns should never have let this invasive weed in the state. Irradication will take a major effort.
Anyway, I wish one and all a happy earth day. I believe that, if we all sat really still, we might be able to stop global warming.
But, I don't know that for sure. It is possible that the temperature of the earth is not contolled by our conciousness, in which case all of the symbolic gestures I've done through the years were just silly little acts of superstition.