It all sounds very serious.
And hey, who am I to dispute anything? I’m not a scientist. But I do have some questions …
I guess my first question is this one: does Time Magazine hope to sell a lot of copies of their latest Person Of The Year issue? I mean, do they aspire to sell millions of copies? It’s a legitimate question. Is that in their business plan? Is selling large numbers of this magazine, printed on paper and shipped around the country on diesel-fueled trucks, into well-lit, climate controlled supermarkets, part of the 4th quarter financial strategy of Time Magazine? I wonder …
If that is part of their strategy, it’s fine with me. I hope they sell tons of magazines and all get hefty, holiday bonuses. I’m all for profit and healthy business. But if that is their goal, their own Person of the Year, for 2019, says “how dare you!” to that business plan. And it leads to me to wonder if she wants them to sell a lot of magazines too. And if so, why would she be on the cover? Oh, never mind! It just seems to me that at some point we’re all going to have to address all the elephants in our own rooms.
Greta Thunberg is the young girl who is clearly upset with all of us who haven’t done enough to stop hurricanes and tornadoes. We have not kept it from getting really hot in the summer and really cold in the winter. We haven’t quelled record-breaking temp cycles or stalled the freezing and thawing patterns on both poles. So, we are a big problem to…well…us.
We are killing us. And if we don’t talk to ourselves and get our act together soon, we will not be around to see us. Because if we continue to do what we do, we won’t be around to do it anymore. So, we have GOT to do something else, so that we can continue to do things…but only the right things…because the wrong things have brought us to this point of having to change all the things we do…so that we can continue to do things.
Before you march for something or go to war for something or try to change the world for something, my own personal belief is that you should extrapolate that belief out to its local conclusion. The question I always ask myself, when considering a belief, is this one: then what?
When it comes to Climate Change, a lot of people have talked for a lot of years. But fully buying into the steps needed to actually “fix” it, is a fairly recent development. And in some ways, it’s terrifying.
Cold Play just announced that they will no longer tour, in order to contribute to the “fix.” I suppose you could see that as a respectable position. They won’t be using the trucks or burning the lights and kilowatt hours and the people won’t drive their cars in droves to the stadiums to hear the big sound powered by large amounts of coal fired power plants. But here’s the thing …
All those people who might’ve gone to a Cold Play concert are going to still be alive and driving those cars somewhere. Those people are still going to need lights and heat and air conditioning. And just because they’re not congregating in a stadium doesn’t mean they disappeared from the planet and aren’t still eating food and breathing air and drinking water and, yes, listening to music somewhere.
Those trucks that might’ve carried the lights and sound of the Cold Play show, will still be on the road, carrying something to somewhere. Because the imperatives of business and basic survival demand that they be working. Those people who drive those trucks aren’t going to just stop working because Cold Play isn’t touring. They’re going to drive that truck that week if they can. They have to drive that truck that week. The lighting and sound companies that would be working on the Cold Play tour are simply going to book different tours. Because the the imperatives of survival demand that they do.
So, while Cold Play’s gesture might be a noble one (I say “might” because it might actually be a harmful one…stay with me) in theory. In practice, it’s like asking everyone on earth to hold their breath for 10 seconds, so we can save all that oxygen. Everyone holding their breath for 10 seconds won’t save any oxygen. It’s a ludicrous notion and I wouldn’t participate. Neither would you. It means nothing. Once we all start breathing again, everything is exactly as it was and we accomplished nothing. All that happened was we wasted 10 seconds of our lives. That’s all.
The Cold Play move is only a part of the new climate morality. We’ve been asked not to binge-watch Netflix shows, in order to save kilowatt hours. We’ve been asked not to respond to emails with unnecessary kindnesses, such as “thank you” or “got it” or even thumbs up emojis because that adds memory to main frames, thus making them require more power to operate, thus using more electricity, thus contributing to the killing of the planet. People (we’re talking about people like Prince Harry and Megan Markel, as well as Miley Cyrus. Bernie Sanders has said publicly that abortions in Mexico and South America will also help with this) are starting to opt out of procreation for the express purpose of not putting more carbon-based, air-breathing, water-drinking, electricity-using beings on the planet.
This is getting close to its logical conclusion. And that is this: if you truly believe mankind is responsible for changing the climate of planet earth, and you want to end that, either mankind is going to have to get governed with an iron fist, only allowing certain things to be legal. OR a lot of mankind is going to have to either not be born, or…well…die.
The direction this is moving is terrifying to me for a couple of reasons. The first is this: once we start getting to the point of deciding that human life is essentially a bad thing, it doesn’t take long for someone, somewhere (usually in a position of power) to decide that a person like my daughter is a drain on the planet and that people like her should either be kept from being born or (in extreme cases, but not as extreme as you might think) maybe people like her should even be euthanized. I mean, it requires so much energy – both human energy and natural resources – to keep them alive. And can they move us forward as a species? Can they contribute to the “fix” or are they simply draining us?
You may think this is me being paranoid as a dad, but I’ve read too many posts from too many college educated people, saying things that have made my skin crawl, about this very subject. I’ve seen one too many articles, about countries who are proud to have all but eradicated Down Syndrome from their population through abortion. Yes, I’m a paranoid father.
But the second thing is this …
Let’s say that we can actually end Climate Change by not driving our cars or using plastics or watching TV or going to concerts or even making babies. Let’s say we get rid of the free market (capitalism) and socialize the world; allowing a global governance to decide how much heat we get in the winter and how much cold air we get in the summer. Let’s say we completely do away with fossil fuels and only use things that are “sustainable” i.e., wind and solar (even with the inconsistencies of both). Maybe we even get rid of meat and the industries that produce it.
So, we live in a world where our entertainment is monitored and parsed out, as the dictates of the energy laws will allow. Or we live in a world where we can have a few hours of heat or air a day, as the laws will allow (If that sounds like it’s an overreach, ask the people in California what it’s like to deal with rolling brown outs. California has the ability to have zero brown outs. But their own environmental laws stand in the way of it). Or we live in a world where our travel is governed by need and urgency and frivolous flights to Maui are forbidden because that jet fuel is killing the planet and you aren’t allowed to use it just so you can put your toes in the sand and drink a Mai Tai. And that cheeseburger you want? Well, you can’t have that one. But, hey – we’ve got a plant-based substitute for you over here. Trust us, you’ll kind of enjoy it.
I am a pro-choice Vegan, who recycles everything religiously. After reading the above piece that might surprise you. But I’m also a Libertarian, who isn’t trying to force my beliefs on you. And when it comes to Climate Change, I think we have to do constant cost/benefit analyses.
So we Cold Play didn’t play. What did we get out of that? Maybe we saved some electricity (maybe) but lost a lot of memories and moments and magic. Someone’s greatest night of their life didn’t happen. Someone didn’t fall in love during Yellow.
So people stop binging Netflix. What do we get out of that? A contraction in a business that employ actors and directors and producers and grips and camera operators. Dreams don’t expand. They shrink. And for what? Did we actually save anything?
So people stop having babies. What do we get out of that? Maybe the next Beethoven doesn’t get made. Maybe the mind that will cure Cancer doesn’t get produced. Maybe the next Greta Thunberg doesn’t get born. Maybe my daughter doesn’t get born.
Do humans affect the climate? I can’t imagine we don’t. Everything that shows up on the planet affects it, from a Dung Beetle to a power forward. But I believe life is a good thing. Concerts are good things. Good business is a good thing. Cheeseburgers whenever you want them are good things. People are good things.
Let’s innovate happily, not regulate angrily. Let’s find ingenious solutions through expanding our minds and boundaries, not restricting our consumption and lifestyles. Let’s be for humanity, not against it.
And I hope Time Magazine sells a record number of paper-made periodicals …even if their cover girl doesn’t.
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