Toby's Issues: The Environment

Our planet is in peril. You know the writing is on the wall when oil companies start marketing themselves as “Green.” I hear them on the radio and see them on the subway ads, talking about energy efficiency all of a sudden, which is pretty annoying cause they make it seem like, “hey, this is a really important issue we been workin on for the last hundred years or so. Isn't it about time you did your part?” To me, this is like a pit bull with blood-stained lips starting a holisitc health center, and telling you, “come on, fellas, get with the program!” But I digress.

People talk a lot about global warming. Personally, I don't know if it's getting warmer or not. I can't tell. Can you? I mean, I remember August in New York was always hot. Still is. Is it hotter now? I don't know. Are weather patterns more extreme? I can't tell. Are the tides rising? Is the hole in the ozone layer (whatever that is) growing? I don't know, let me go out and measure them...That last comment is supposed to be sarcastical in nature, but my point is real. There are big changes going on in this world, and not only do we not have direct control over them, we can't even see them without the help of scientists. And this is a big problem.

You know who scientists work for? Oil companies. Chemical companies. Drug companies. Tech companies. Military industrial companies. Yeah, some of them work for univerisities, and you'd think SOME of them at least would be more objective, but even there you gotta be careful, cuz all the sweet jobs—the endowed chairs, the research grants, etc—are funded by those companies. Does the funding affect the outcome of the scientific study? That's a good question. An even better question is, “does the funding affect the choice of what is even studied in the first place?” We don't know, but did you ever wonder why so much more money and time is spent on drugs that treat AIDS that you have to take for the rest of your life, as compared with research on a vaccine that you take one time and never have to worry about again?

So, while we can trust science, we can't trust scientists. What are we to do? We do what we can: we recycle, we use mass transit. These are pretty easy, cause New York is already pretty good on that score. But we gotta reduce the carbon footprint that we leave. Now, how're we gonna do that?

Who is the richest country in the world? Us! Who leaves the biggest carbon footprint in the world? Us! Whose is the biggest responsibility to reduce the carbon footprint? Us! It is high time for us to take a stand, or, in this case a sit. Let me ask you a question: do you normally think of rich people leaving footprints everywhere? No. Why? Well, do you normally think of rich people walking everywhere? No. Rich people are taken places in limousines, on corporate jets, on private helicopters. Rich people, in other words, leave NO footprints to speak of. Now, we can't use limos and jets and the like, cuz those take fuel, but before there were engines, there were other, more environmentally safe options. The rickshaw, for example. Or the Roman sedan chair, carried by foreign slaves. America can totally eliminate its carbon footprint if it allows others to do the walking for us. Then it'll be their footprints, not ours. This is not a new idea, by the way: it's called “carbon offsets.” No more footprints. No more guilt, and maybe even a little closer relationship to mother nature. I think it's time we all sat down for the environment, don't you?