With the annual Earth Day celebrations set for next week, environmental consciousness seems to be all the rage . Personally though, there are few things that provoke such utter ambivalence in me than environmentalism and its status as a growing force in the global zeitgeist. It’s not that I don’t agree that something needs to be done. I think anyone with any shred of common sense realizes that the current model of â€œmodern livingâ€ does not pencil out in the long run when you factor in the finite nature of not just our resources but also with the space in which we are working. However, acknowledging that â€œinconvenient truthâ€ is one thing, but actually coming up with a solution, not to mention implementing it, is entirely another. Some people say the solution is to start â€œliving green,â€ which is definitely a nice little slogan. And at face value, it has some merit. But in practice, it’s basically become nothing more than another way to do the same shit and feel better about it. It’s sort of like Christianity: It was founded upon a noble enough principle, but once the idea started to become the institution, shit started to get all fucked up. I mean, how many years did it take after Jesus supposedly taught everyone to love everyone else before dudes were killing people in his name? How many years has it been since the idea of â€œliving greenâ€ came about before Wal-Mart changed their logo from blue to green, or Clorox started making Organic Bleach?
Another trait common amongst organized religions definitely shared by the Church of Green is the penchant for those who â€œbelieveâ€ to merely select the parts of the church doctrine that they can most easily adhere to and blatantly ignore the rest, all while maintaining an air of piousness. It’s like the militant bike rider, railing against SUVs and cars as greenhouse gas-belching pollution machines, who doesn’t bat an eye about flying home three times a year to see the folks, spewing pollution directly into the upper atmosphere. Or how about the eco-conscious housewife, who makes sure to turn off the lights when she leaves a room to conserve energy and bought herself a Civic hybrid to cut back on emissions, but then serves her family burgers for dinner, the production of which released more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere than three hours of driving, and used up more energy than leaving a light on for 20 straight days, not to mention that disproportional amount of localized pollution created by large-scale meat farms and the role of overuse of antibiotics in the beef industry in creating antibiotic-resistant bacteria. I guess it’s the thought that counts, right?
I guess the moral of the story is, however popular the green meme has become, its actual utility is questionable at best. For now, living green will continue to be something you can buy at the store, use in your marketing campaign or learn as a college internship: an ideal. Carbon neutrality will continue to be something you buy on a Web site, like a Christian indulgence. It’s gonna take a lot more to kick mankind’s addiction to consumption than a few melted ice caps, killer hurricanes and deadly droughts. We need to hit rock bottom, man. I’m talking Old Testament style shit. People are too lazy and stupid to do what they actually know is right until they literally have no other choice. We’ll just keep building malls and damming rivers and jacking up our pickup trucks until our eyes are melting out of our fucking skulls and even then, we’ll just invent some better sunglasses, made from 25 percent post-consumer recycled plastic!