IS IT just me or does anyone else wonder why they’re busting their balls to make a piss-weak contribution to saving the environment when most of the world, the Government and a fair whack of our neighbours continue to turn environmental vandalism into an extreme sport?
Don’t worry, I’m going to keep doing it, and so should you, but it does shit me at times because it seems so futile. Me and my little green bags and bucket-back, while Hazelwood is churning out emissions 24/7 fagging our way to global lung cancer, and China’s flat out taking 10 years off the human habitableness of the planet every day with their chain-smoking emissions.
People are arrogant. We just think: “The earth won’t fry us. She loves us. We’re humans, we’re the best.” The earth doesn’t care. It’s just an organism with no heart and no favourites. It just heats up and cools down to cope with its conditions. To the earth we’re just insects and if we fry, we fry. She doesn’t give a rats. Humans are the new dinosaurs.
At our place we’ve shifted down to one car, cycle where possible, pack the kids’ lunches in bread bags and reusable containers, buy in bulk, shop locally, reuse wrapping paper and packaging, switch appliances off at the wall, flush the toilet with the kids’ bath water, buy when we need, not when we want, and we even have chooks. Sure, we’re not living in a hessian sack under a tree eating cockroaches but we’re doing our bit. Or at least a bit. But it never seems enough. I vacillate between being wracked with guilt and thinking, why bother?
What good will my little drop in the ocean do when the Government should have had a decent solar-powered energy solution 20 years ago yet keeps banging on about clean coal? Repeat after me: there is no such thing as clean coal, there is no such thing as clean coal, there is no such thing as clean coal. Even I know that and I’m an idiot.
The aspirationals continue to build their McMansions an hour’s drive from where they work and then hop in their fuel-guzzling monster trucks every morning to pay for their five wide-screen televisions, air-conditioning to counteract poor design and petrol to fuel their “lifestyle”, which is basically shopping. Am I the only one who’s a bit happy when the price of petrol goes up? “Good,” I think. “Make those dickheads suffer.”
Because nothing will make them think, or change.
They bleat: “We can’t afford to live closer.” Yes, you can. You just won’t have a double garage, a parents’ retreat, a rumpus room, a home cinema and five bedrooms with en suites. While industry and farming continue to squander drinking water by the gigalitre we had a 7000-litre water tank installed. Yes, I know, we’re legends. I mentioned to the bloke who installed it that we’d need one of those TANK WATER IN USE signs. The bloke said: “Stuff ’em. Just let ’em dob you in and when they come over, show them your tank.” I liked that idea, then I had a change of heart. We put the sign up to show people that you can have green grass if you install a tank. That is if you can afford a tank. So much environmental responsibility is simply a privilege of the wealthy.
If I turn up at a supermarket without my calico bags I’m consumed by so much guilt I want to whack on a hair shirt and self-flagellate. Yet the Government still won’t legislate against plastic shopping bags even though, according to recent reports, a billion more bags were handed out in supermarkets and shops last year than in 2006, which is an increase of more than 40%. Maybe they’re on to something. Why bother when you can walk into a supermarket and buy items such as sliced apple. Ready-to-eat, all cut, with plastic wrap and packaged. Isn’t an apple already ready to eat? If you want it sliced, use a knife. And as far as coleslaw’s concerned, I cut my own. Hopefully it’ll save the world. I was in one of those $2 shops the other day and found myself surrounded by crushing aisles of imported useless plastic crap. And I realised it’s impossible for environmental sensitivity to coexist with capitalism.
We feel guilty and our kids feel guilty. And they worry. I’ve heard about kids who say: “I’m not allowed to eat strawberries from Queensland because the carbon emissions are too high.” We voted for politicians to protect us by consulting smart people and acting on their advice so we could be insulated from this kind of impending catastrophe. They didn’t. And now we feel as though it’s all our fault.
My pointless efforts do make me feel better. At times to the point of smug. When you don’t know what to do, do anything. Unfortunately we can’t do everything. But we can cut our own apples.