Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Minimizing environmental impact

Well, now that it’s a foregone conclusion that the entire global ecosystem is going to crash and burn and destroy most life on the planet within about a decade, my liberal instincts are making me feel a little more guilty (groan, beat chest, heap ashes on head) about my environmental footprint. Having just taken an “ecological footprint quiz” at Redefining Progress (www.myfootprint.org/), I am vaguely comforted to learn that my footprint is roughly 63% of the national average, but considering that the national average is scandalous and a crime against humanity, that’s cold comfort. I eat most of my meals out, which is supposed to be a horrendous drain on resources (but supports local labor); I refuse to freeze my ass during winter or fry my ass during summer, which entails horrific energy expenditures. But I do walk reasonable distances to places most other people drive to, and I use a lot less water than most people because of personal hygiene standards which some would consider less than optimal. And a lot of my deficiencies are simply due to the fact that it requires more or less money to correct them by various sorts of technological fixes, and I can’t afford to. I mean, let’s face it, strict environmental conscientiousness is a luxury of the moderately well-off because it costs money. This is, of course, one of the major sticking points at all the international conferences on climate change where profligate wastrels in the developed world tell the poorer nations what they should do to reduce global warming and the poorer nations politely tell them to take a flying fuck at the moon. And if one becomes overly scrupulous and a little paranoid, one can start self-flagellating over such things as using a computer, which some sources say consumes vast amounts of both energy and resources; or eating tofu because of the horrible waste of resources involved in raising food animals, only to find that growing soy beans has its own environmental impact; or even farting too much because of the contribution of methane to global warming. It is, in fact, ultimately impossible to be totally pure environmentally. Living as simply as possible has its own unavoidable impact.

So, I have finally reached the only logical conclusion. You may remember (of course you do) a post on this blog back in 22 August 07 entitled “Save the planet: Kill yourself,” which was about a satirical (we hope) cult called the Church of Euthanasia which recommended just that. Its defining principle was population reduction, but the same logic applies to reduction of environmental impact. The only way to have zero impact is to kill yourself. Unfortunately, your one last impact will be the air pollution involved in cremation, but after that, you can congratulate yourself on having made the ultimate sacrifice to save the planet. Not that it will work, but at least you can feel smug and self-righteous about it up in Heaven while looking down and watching Earth continue to collapse in apocalyptic cataclysm, as well as feeling immensely relieved at having gotten out of it in time.

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