You’ve seen the bone-chilling report issued by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and boy oh boy, them bones them bones them chilled bones! So what should you do? The internet seems to think that small, incremental lifestyle changes might help turn the tides of human-driven destruction of our planet. But on the other hand, the river is just around the bend, and those smooth river stones would weigh you down so perfectly as you shuffled off this mortal coil. Go green? Or go bloated blue? Let’s find out!
1. Do you need meat at every meal?
Nope! I’m happy to reduce my meat consumption, trying out options like meatless mondays or seasonal, plant-based meals. Even just cutting down on beef can be a huge help in reducing my carbon emissions. Sustainability can be yummy!
I don’t need meat at every meal, but I want it. And if I’m being perfectly honest with myself, I am a greedy, selfish, little person who is desperately seeking some shred of comfort in the unforgiving machinery of capitalism. I know what I do is bad, but what models for good do I have in my life? CEOs? Presidents? Only the soft gurgle of the river promises me any release from this troubled world.
2. What kind of car do you drive?
I drive a Toyota Prius. It’s not perfect, but it’s a step towards reducing my carbon emissions. Plus, it’s got absolutely fabulous trunk space!
I take the fucking bus. It’s green as hell, but no amount of overcrowded public transportation on my way to work can change my complacency in the mechanisms of corporate greed. In my fantasies I smash those mechanisms with stones, but in reality I know my only option is to weigh my beige slacks down with those very stones and let the river wash away my guilt.
3. Have you considered energy efficient appliances?
I just recently upgraded to a smart thermostat (the future is now!), and I’m saving up to get a more efficient A/C next summer. Plus, my new LED lights make for great party lights when I have people over for green drinks!
I have considered many things. But the best choice always seems to be to fill my pockets with stones and walk into the river.
4. Would you rather do a cottage vacation or a European getaway?
I love Europe, but I’ve come to understand that transatlantic flying make mother earth feel super sad. So I’ve changed my habits and have come to enjoy local vacations more. Cottage getaways! A bus down to Montreal or NYC! Or even a fun staycation at an Airbnb in the funky Kensington Market area!
This morning I had to sit in on a video meeting with the CFO of our company while he flew on a private jet to Hawaii for a game of golf. He complained about how it was his third flight this week, and how he was so tired of the filet mignon they serve on board. Beneath his entitled, petty voice, I kept hearing the sound of the river. She calls to me.
5. What do you think about the three Rs: Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle?
I’ve been working on buying fewer things and consuming less in general. Wherever possible I reuse and recycle things. In general, everything I buy I try to find the lowest carbon option: clothes, food, energy. Oh, and I have just the cutest reusable tote bags for shopping at Whole Foods!
A Carbon Majors Report shows that just 100 companies have been the source of 71% of carbon emissions since 1988. What the fuck do my inconsequential little choices have to do with numbers of that dizzying size? The illusion of individual choice and individual guilt obscures the grim reality of capitalism. I know that three Rs won’t change a goddamn thing for those 100 fossil fuel producers polluting our earth. But one R might make all the difference to me: River.
Our "leaders" are going to keep making empty promises. It makes them feel good. It gets the activists to act like zombie kittens. If you want to have some self-respect and perhaps make a difference (actual facts may vary), then find a functioning group that cares about your skills and knowledge - what you have, what you want.
One useful group might be www.climateemergencymanchester.net - you can email them on firstname.lastname@example.org