Tuesday, September 23, 2014

It Takes Everyone - The Hypocrisy of the People's Climate March

The streets of New York were jammed with hundreds of thousands of people over the weekend. They came by cars and planes and charter buses and private fuel-guzzling jets to participate in the "People's Climate March" leading up to the United Nations' climate summit.

An estimated 400,000 people, among them big-time celebrities like Leonardo DiCaprio and Sting as well as dozens of politicians, flooded the streets with their cardboard signs and paper fliers and Starbucks garbage to prove a point: Nobody wants to make personal sacrifices to save the planet.

From Leonardo DiCaprio who owns five big-time natural resource-devouring mansions (not to mention the fancy shmancy atmosphere-damaging private jet he flew in on... can't you sense the tears of the polar bears clinging to Al Gore's rapidly-shrinking icebergs?) to Robert F. Kennedy Jr. who was adamant about how people should not have to sacrifice quality of life in order to save the planet, the whole dog and pony show leaves me wondering what the march was actually trying to accomplish.

Oh yeah... not personal responsibility, but legislation and regulation.

It takes everyone. Not just big companies and governments.  Even you and your fuel-consuming jet, Mr. DiCaprio
These demonstrators want government intervention, not in their own lives but for big ethereal super villains like Exxon and the Koch brothers and the coal industry.  Let's force these powerful entities to heed our desires by the sheer power of our numbers, witty chants, and fabulous signs!

And yet, they each individually supported big oil with their pilgrimage to New York via machines that consume the products of big oil. The Guardian reported that over 500 buses had traveled from all over the United States and Canada to bring demonstrators desperate to get their hypocritical point across: "We want everyone else to do something about this!" Actor Mark Ruffalo criticized reporters who asked celebrities and politicians about their personal carbon footprints.  It is apparently inappropriate because that line of questioning defies "the spirit of what this is all about".

Which proves in my mind that the spirit of the event isn't about exacting change. It's about whining and fuming about everything the other guy is doing without taking any personal responsibility for how each individual person contributes to damaging the planet.

Change always begins in small ways.  Change always starts with the person staring back at you from the bathroom mirror.  We shouldn't expect big corporations or developing countries or even freakin' China to work to reduce their carbon footprints if the little guy doing the screaming isn't willing to make the same changes on a smaller more personal level.

If you want to save the Earth, here are some things that each of us individually can do that might make a bigger difference than making the resource-consuming trip to New York to hold hands, carry signs, leave behind a trail of garbage, and demand action. Because really... the only people we should be demanding take action are ourselves.

1. Don't drink bottled water. The amount of energy used to manufacture, fill, and ship plastic water bottles has a major environmental impact.  Buy a good water filter and filter your own tap water.  And if you must take your water with you, carry it in a reusable bottle.

2. Reduce your commute. Live close to your place of work.  Carpool with co-workers.  Walk or bicycle when you can. If we can reduce the amount of time we spend in our vehicles on the road, we reduce our dependence on big oil companies and reduce our greenhouse gas emissions.

3. Ditch the plastic bags.  Not only do they junk up our planet and end up in the stomachs of marine animals, but plastic bags are made from petroleum. So when your groceries are packed in plastic bags, it's like a double whammy right in sweet Mother Nature's gut.

4. Eat local.  Not only is it a great idea to support your local economy, but when you purchase locally, your food travels fewer miles.  When food is transported in, (sometimes from other countries.  Ever wonder how we can have access to "fresh" strawberries in the middle of February?  They probably came from Argentina.) it requires extensive fuel use and considerable amounts of carbon dioxide emissions.  Buy food in season from local sources... or grow your own.

5. Recycle! I can't even believe that this still needs to be said, but I cringe whenever I see a plastic bottle or newspaper tossed aside in a trash can.  Instead of throwing out that plastic bottle or old newspaper, offer it for recycling.  Recycling uses less energy and saves more resources.  Remember that plastic bottle was once oil that needed to be pumped from the ground and that newspaper was a tree just minding it's own business and filtering carbon out of the air.

And if you aren't willing to make these small, fairly painless changes to your quality of life, please stop marching and complaining and demanding action from anyone else. Just flush the self-righteous attitude and drink your bottled water in silence.

1 comment:

Bird of Paradise said...

I bet the signs their carrying are made from petrolium and the paint their ising as well the trash they left behind as the usial liberal wanks Al Gore,Robert Kennedy Jr and Leonardo DiCaprio they sure did'nt come by flying carpet and they did'nt leave the same away Typical DO AS I SAY NOT AS I DO liberal eletists and arrogant pompous old peacocks thinking their better then us avrage birds sitting lower of the roost