The top three planet saving things you can do. Except you won’t.

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Climate change, everything’s gonna to be alright. Illustration by Christopher Dombres. 2017. Wikimedia commons.

ey Greta pay attention. You didn’t shame people for doing any of the following, as far as I know. So I’ll pick up the baton where you apparently dropped it.

Methane, nitrous oxide, chlorofluorocarbons, carbon dioxide, water vapor, according to NASA these are the main gasses that contribute to the greenhouse effect, along with solar irradiance and lo and behold human activity.

Let’s focus on the last one. According the Fifth Assessment Report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change comprised of 1,300 independent international scientific experts under the auspices of the United Nations, there is a 95 percent probability that human activities over the past 50 years have warmed our planet. (1). To suggest that human activities don’t play a role seems absurd.

“Ok,” you say, “We get it. We care. We told everyone we’re on Greta’s side.”

Great! Then you’ll be all ears to hear the top three things you can do about climate change.

1.) Stop having kids.

Stop having so many kids. Use some birth control for gawd’s sake. Every individual who comes upon this earth contributes to the using up of massive amounts of resources. Human consumption of natural resources has tripled in the past few years. If you’re a first-worlder you probably use more than your share, probably more than ever today before in history.

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The family of Jim Bob Duggar. Image by Jim Bob Duggar. 2007. Wikimedia commons.

But, suggesting people limit their need to boop out babies breaches the bounds for most people. They cite their religion or some idea of free will or self-determination. “I need to protect my lineage,” or whatever. All most of these little pee pants do is consume, consume, consume. People seem to love television shows about breeders because I guess it supports their values centered on some idea of family values, or consumerist ideals, or an awareness of a country’s chauvinistic patriotism, or whatever ridiculousness they justify with. There’s no need to have all these kids and you’re contributing to ruining the planet by doing so.

2.) Stop buying sh*t

I mean just stop buying and consuming sh*t. Americans in particular, but probably first worlders in general, consume ridiculous amounts of crap much of which they don’t even need. Every weekend: a new cell phone, clothing for some justification “for work” or to have the newest trend, stupid amounts of slime to smear on their faces and in their hair. This out of control consumption appears to be a result of brainwashing, most likely by corporations and government.

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A compulsive hoarder’s driveway. Image by Stroz. Wikimedia commons.

Let’s be clear, this consumption supports corporate bottom lines and quarterly profits, but these interests do not particularly align with world sustainability. For example, we’re nearly out of coltan, an ore used to make tantalum that is a component of transistors and used in all sorts of electronics such as cell phones. The mining of coltan may be characterized the way we characterize “blood diamonds.” The point is you don’t give a damn about slave labor or coltan but you do about having the latest phone (how many have you had by now anyway) because you just have to tweet Karen to meet you at American Eagle Outfitters and when you stand next to her in the checkout line to buy that cart full of cotton clothing you just have to show her that funny meme — otherwise your life will be ruined. And you have to own one of, at least, everything. Gawd forbid you set up a deal with the neighborhood to share one lawnmower. Nope. Every home must have their own even though they it’s used only once every week or two. You already know how much sh*t you have: closets full, attics full, basements full, garages full. You rent a storage unit to store more of your sh*t because you ran out of room. It would be nice if you stopped to consider how much energy and resources it takes to produce all this crap you consume. It would be nice if you stopped to consider all the byproducts, emissions, and pollution the production of this stuff generates? You’re the main part of this problem here. The solution is: Just. Stop. Buying. Sh*t.

3.) Stop driving.

I’m not talking about driving versus flying or big versus small vehicles, or cars versus trucks. I’m talking about driving, period. You drive all over the place when you have other options and could do a lot less of it. You could bike. There is this thing called public transportation, which by the way in cities should be free. True we could make public transportation much better. Ah, remember the good old days when there were concerted strategy to devastate the USA’s train system and inner city public transport systems in order to privilege cars and oil. Hey, it worked pretty good didn’t it.

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Traffic jam in Beijing. Image by basykes. 2011. Wikimedia commons.

The research is clear, driving, and it’s supportive industries such as oil, is a big part of the picture of pollution, particles from vehicle tires in the great gyres, climate change, it’s a long list. Stop driving my car you say? You’ll answer, “No way, I can’t change what’s been constructed as the dominant mode of getting from one place to another. And after all I need that herbal moisturizer from that new store in the south of the city everyone’s talking about. Then I have to drop the kids off to those Suzuki baby music lessons or they’ll never live fulfilling lives.” You’ll say, “I equate cars with personal freedom,” not knowing you’ve taken hook, line, and sinker car company advert material. You’ll say, “Actually cars save the planet, it’s the rich who are ruining it by flying in their jets.” Because really you live by NIMBY rules. Meanwhile you already have your eye on that new car or that larger SUV because it will be “just be so useful for carrying sh*t you buy,” and you’ll have it painted green to convey a message to everyone that you really do care about the world when you carry all that packaging from crap you bought to the recycling pit while yelling out the window, “Woo hoo, look at me, I’ve saved the planet.”

So how you doing with this list? Initiating a new plan starting today? Of course not. You’re thinking of arguments against me because you don’t like my items or tone.

As your therapist might say, “You’re transferring again.” Direct your indignity toward the people and corporations that support these supposedly untouchable issues around climate change and the future of the planet. See that they are united by a common theme called capitalism. This is what happens when you develop an economy on a Keynes model in which consumer demand is the primary driver.

But since you want to argue, know that the main argument of people against any of this is the logical bifurcation fallacy (or all or nothing or dichotomous thinking). “I can’t give up driving.” “What if I want to have a kid?” “Are you saying I can’t wear clothing?” Listen dunderheads, it’s hardly ever all or nothing in real life. Now you’re just being stupid.

Yes you can stop driving to work or driving every day. Yes you can have one kid instead of three. Yes you can own two pairs of shoes instead of 15 or three t-shirts instead of 30. If everyone cuts down, even some, you can effect meaningful change.

Let’s be clear: your choices here equate to your ethical stance regarding the future of the world. Right now, you don’t appear to be very ethical, whether you go around saying you like Greta or not.

Shine the spotlight were it should be shown, on corporations, on car companies, on ourselves for consuming and for having too may kids. I don’t recall seeing these on Greta’s “How dare you” list. I don’t see these on your list.

Sigh.

Dear readers, I sigh because I know you won’t change. You won’t agree to spotlight these issues. You’ll justify your lifestyle because let’s be clear, and this is another part of your brainwashing, it’s all about you and your greed and your ego. What’s next? I already know. You’re done here, I’m a jerk, and you and your five kids have to get to the mall before it closes. Ok. Bye bye, hypocrite.

Reference:

  1. The Causes of Climate Change https://climate.nasa.gov/causes/

Novelist, poet, a post-studio visual artist, and the founder of The Invisible Art Collective International. Recent novels include “Sundre” and “Garbage Head.”

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