News that’s not about healthcare

by Patricia Draznin

This week we’re exploring the exciting new fad of GOING GREEN, no matter how much energy it takes to power my Optiplex workstation with Pentium Dual-Core Processor, my 47-inch LCD monitor, and my EMF-neutralizing keyboard with turbo wrist-massager. Let’s face it. We Americans have ravaged our environment for so long that it took a polar bear rafting down the Mississippi to get our attention. But now that our country has become so darn ecology-minded, it’s not unreasonable to expect everyone to change their habits and reverse centuries of damage, all by this Halloween.

But wait. (Hmm… does waiting produce emissions?) Cleaning up the environment is a long process. It begins with each of us reducing our carbon footprint closer to zero, from say, a size 47 Wide. And we can start by asking ourselves important questions, like… do I really need to buy a faster quesadilla-maker?

A carbon footprint is GREEN-speak for greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs). And these days carbon dioxide is the greenhouse bad-boy. CO2, as it’s fondly known, is a natural part of the atmosphere, vital for plant photosynthesis. It’s really a cool chemical compound. Honest. But as CO2 levels increase in our polluted atmosphere, carbon dioxide becomes the scary perpetrator that can cause drowsiness, dizziness, headache, and excruciating documentaries by Al Gore. Hey, don’t shoot the filmmaker. Plant a tree. Manually.

For decades, conservation-minded people were marginalized as a fringe subculture, tree-huggers who bicycled to work, shut down their computers overnight, and thawed their TV dinners instead of baking them. (Hmm… does hugging produce emissions?) But now that we’re all putting the environment first, or thinking about putting the environment first, or listening to other people talk about putting the environment first, here are some nifty GREEN gift ideas for happy polluters: (1) re-useable tissues, formerly called hankies; (2) recipes for making Hummer fuel out of deer doo-doo; (3) for low-lying topography, a battery-operated wind turbine.

Let’s face it. No one wants to give up their comforts, even if they were knee-deep in glacier water while waiting in the Starbucks line. And to prove it, 100 heads of state gathered recently at the United Nations conference on climate change to present their earnest vague plans. Being the #1 emitter, China’s Hu Jintao promised to cut emissions by a “notable margin,” probably the same reduction he proposed for the DVD pirate industry. India’s environmental minister objected to the target year 2050 saying none of them will be around to be accountable, which raised concerns from the younger leaders who worried that they MIGHT be around. President Obama offered some proposals, but the U.S. can’t commit globally until we resolve environmental policies at home, which can’t be settled until we figure out healthcare, the economy, and why we broadcast the MTV music awards.

Let’s face it. Until we’re driving solar-powered Chevy Suburbans, everything we do is polluting. But for now we can at least be environmentally correct by saying the word GREEN as often as possible. Hmmm… does talking produce emissions?

Copyright 2009 Patricia Draznin


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