Monday, July 31, 2006

I just feel stuck sometimes

Clown nose

Her new hero, Pat Ferri of Wreckage-O-Rama, gave Annabel a clown nose of her very own. And though she won't wear it she also won't let it out of her sight. Her favorite thing to do with her "nose," is to hang it from the dimmer switch in the dining room, and use it as she might a sling shot.

Often the motion of drawing it back by the bulbous red orb and letting go doesn't bring about the desired result. Instead of flying through the air and smacking me square in the eye, the gag appendage just wraps around the post tighter. No laughter ensues.

That's kind of how I felt this weekend when dinner and a movie turned into dinner and a documentary.

Jed WANTED to see this film, and I wanted to AVOID this film, but in the end An Inconvenient Truth won out.

See my husband and I are on the same page when it comes to the science of global warming. We each believe that the way we live now is killing the planet. We each believe there are things we can do as individuals to mimize our impact on this Earth. But where we disagree is our personal reaction to the information as presented.

Even before the film, Jed was ready to install solar panels and a wood-fired boiler to reduce our dependance on oil. Even before the film, we were shutting off lights and recycling. With the cost of petroleum through the roof, we've been cutting out unnecessary travel. He's even considering the consequences of his trip into Chatham with Annabel for an ice cream.

But where he is seeking out the things we can do, I look at what we can't do and what we won't be doing: We can't give up Jed's big diesel engine rigs, after all they are how he makes his money; I am still going to drive more than 50 miles a day (after all, that's how I make my living and keep our health benefits); We are still going to be burning wood, it alleviates our dependence on oil but it still puts carbon into the air; we are still going to live in a suburb where driving is necessary for virtually all trips.

In a nutshell, he is optimistic and I, apparently, throw in the towel.

I don't think that my shutting off the lights and deciding not to go to yoga on Sundays (75 miles round-trip) will do as much to save the planet as the people at the TOP finding alternatives to gasoline-powered cars, not to mention coal- and oil-fired energy plants.

But it's not that I'm throwing up my hands and saying "global warming be damned, pass the Hummer." It's not as if I were saying just let the lights burn day and night. I just think putting the onus on the individual is in the same family as "Just Say No" was in the War on Drugs. It just ain't enough.

So as we bickered all the way home, I just felt more an more helpless. "Look at the mess we're in," I scream. "We have people in our own country who are still homeless a year after Katrina; we have a government that squanders and misuses it's place at the helm and then tells us we need less of it; we have corporations guaranteed individual rights and there are people who can't afford to eat decent food, let alone buy a hybrid car. Why are we pushing hybrids anyway? Why aren't we looking past oil altogether? Why? because there's still enough oil for the people in power to make a killing. They don't care that it won't last forever or that it's killing the planet because it will last for now and when the planet implodes they won't be around to clean it up."

Maybe I'm missing the point. In all reality, I'm sure I am. But I can't help but think the world needs people like both of us: I'll be the letter-writer and he'll be the one who turns off the lights. And we will tip the balance eventually.

Of course, as we agree that we are, in truth, of the same mind when it comes to the issue at hand, I can't help but fume at the nice evening lost in argument.



wordgirl said...

I'm in totaly agreement. How will it help for you and I to give up a mental health activity like yoga (to save gas) while our country's administration is making choices (and statements) which deny that there is any kind of problem whatsoevery? How can we make a dent when those at the top cancel out x10 good effort we put forth?

Mom101 said...

Oh I wish you could spend some time with my stepfather who's an environmental educator and has many thoughts on this. He composts his damn garbage. He won't own a dishwasher. He taps his own maple syrup. But he also drives a pick-up - just never a mile over 55.

And yes, he and I would both agree that the world does need more of both of you. Keep on keepin' on.

Gail said...

I've been wanting to see the film -- did you like it otherwise?

toyfoto said...

After The first few minutes, it was riveting. It's a pretty good film, it has humor and isn't terribly depressing (unless you happen to be like me) but there's nothing that will likely suprise you as far as the information presented. On the other hand, it actually does leave one with some hope. I would highly recommend it (so long as you aren't looking for outright entertainment).

Firestarter5 said...

I drive a diesel Jetta (58mpg), always turn off the lights when I leave a room, avoid taking unnecessary trips, and think those great big windmills should be installed damn near everywhere. Every little bit helps.

"global warming be damned, pass the Hummer."...I agree...wait...wrong kind of hummer...carry on.

Andrea said...

I am so with you. There was a global warming special on the Discovery channel that I watched, and it was very eye-opening. But for my family, making changes is going to be slow going. I will still have to drive 75 miles to and from work for our health insurance and my paycheck. Finding my husband a new job (preferrably one that doesn't rely on deisel trucks running day in and day out) might help, though if he leaves that job, the company won't fold and stop running their trucks daily.

But I felt the same way you do. Other than recycling and trying to cut out unnecessary driving (which we're already doing because of gas costs) what can I do? So I'm watching closely the policy governing the environment and the progress (if you can call it that) made by the automobile industry. I think if we can get an environmentally friendly president in office, someone the polar opposite of Bush and his relaxing of environmental laws, then maybe there's more of a chance to do something in our lifetimes. But it won't be overnight.