Earth Day for beginners

Farmer Thorarinn Olafsson tries to lure his horse back to the stable as a cloud of black ash looms overhead in Drangshlid 2 at Eyjafjoll

When Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.



My usually reliable sources inform me that tomorrow is Earth Day (now known as Earth Week, due to the inflationary effects of global warming). In my capacity as acknowledged arbiter of public morals and taste, I take seriously my responsibility to clarify some public misconceptions about this observance.

I am very old, and I remember the first Earth Day. At least I remember magazine articles and people talking about it. I have no memory of the actual observance. I was in college at the time, and I think they gave us the afternoon off. I think the students were supposed to walk around town picking up trash. But I don’t recall it (and, sadly, I can’t even offer drunkenness as an excuse). If I did pick up trash, I don’t remember. Of course, this college was in Forest City, Iowa, which means there probably wasn’t much around in the first place. I suspect I spent the afternoon hiding in my dorm room, cowering with the lights off, fearful of the dreaded knock at the door.

Which was how I generally spent my afternoons anyway.

So how should we observe Earth Day? How should we honor our dear, abusive Mommy Dearest Earth, who sends us hurricanes and earthquakes, harbors our insect and bacterial enemies, and recently threw a hissy fit in Iceland, just because we forgot to call?

First of all, keep that bicycle in the garage. Bicyclists tend to get hit by automobiles, causing unnecessary fuel expenditures for gas-guzzling ambulances and all those energy-sucking operating room lights. Also the water necessary to wash your blood off the street is a drain on the aquifer.

Also, eat a lot. Preferably fatty, salty, high-sugar foods. This lowers your lifespan, you human parasite, and nothing reduces your carbon footprint like death. Also, Mother Gaia loves burials (why do you think she keeps dropping heavy stuff like mountainsides on people? She’s a carnivore). One caution—do not be cremated. Greenhouse gases, you know. Especially after you’ve eaten a lot of fast food.

Hug a wild animal. Preferably a large one with long teeth. They need love too, and your understanding may be just the thing that gives meaning to their dull lives, living out there in the woods where’s there’s no high speed access. And no fast food delivery. Until now.

Join some religion that will force you to live in a pre-industrial age, like Wicca, Islam, or Texas Hold ‘Em. Then give away all your sinful, environment-molesting high end electronics.

I have an address where you can send it all.

14 thoughts on “Earth Day for beginners”

  1. “Nothing reduces your carbon footprint like death.” Heh, heh, that’s pretty good. You’re reminding me of one of my perennial puzzles. Some seem to think that burial in a cemetery is an affront to the environment, but why wouldn’t it be praiseworthy to have 32 square feet of green space perpetually set aside in one’s honor?

  2. I think I want to save the planet by joining the Texas Hold ‘Em faith. Can you tell me some more about it?

    Oh, yes, now I remember its teachings on recycling and reducing car use:

    “You gotta know when to hold

    Know when to fold,

    Know when to walk away,

    Know when to run…”

    Rats. Now I’m going to have that one till the end of the day…

  3. Loren Eaton: We can help the planet in so many ways: Our corpses make good compost!

    Ori: Speak for yourself. My corpse would be full of preservatives.

  4. We went to the zoo in another city for Earth Day, though I didn’t realize it at the time. I’m glad they didn’t have banners everywhere, but it was such a good, coincidental way to spend that day.

    And literary too. The burly raven they had laughed at us with an evil, throaty ha-ha-ha. I half-expected it to speak like a parrot.

  5. Earth Day is kind of silly.

    That said, I have never read or heard any popular conservative offer any arguments for how to protect the natural world. I’ve read lots of foolish insults toward people who eat organic food, as though eating only McDonalds crap is patriotic, and I read a lot of criticism of environmental regulations, but no one ever provides specifics on, for example, how to keep water sources clean. I can only presume conservatives either favor pollution or, more likely, believe they’ll be able to avoid the consequences of a polluted planet and that the rest of us proles deserve our miseries for being born to not-rich families.

  6. Another issue altogether. Conservatives have to breathe the same air and drink the same water as anybody else. What we deny is that the total regulation of our economy is the only, or best way, to protect the environment. Especially when it promotes the worship of Gaia.

  7. Karen: I can only presume conservatives either favor pollution or, more likely, believe they’ll be able to avoid the consequences of a polluted planet and that the rest of us proles deserve our miseries for being born to not-rich families.

    Ori: I didn’t realize that conservatives are richer than liberals. Could you substantiate this claim please? IIRC, there is a positive correlation between level of educational attainment and liberalism, and another between level of educational attainment and wealth.

    Most conservatives I know don’t mind some level of environmental regulation (in contrast to Libertarians who would rely on the courts). But what level is required is very much in argument.

  8. As a conservative I have to admit I was born into a very wealthy family. We weren’t financially well to do. My parents were lower middle class laborers. But they provided a stable home, taught us right from wrong and brought us to church where we learned to believe in Jesus and accept His forgiveness.

    Now that I’ve grown up I am an example of a typical wealthy conservative. As a country pastor I earn $24000 a year plus use of the parsonage. I earn another $4000 as a part time EMT on the local ambulance. With that salary I support a family of 5, feed two cats and a dog, maintain and insure two cars, make monthly payments on $40,000 of school and medical debt, and provide homeschool curriculum for three kids whom my wife stays home to raise.

    By American standards I live pretty close to the poverty line. Compared to most of the world, I have it pretty good.

    I endorse conservative principles, not because I believe they benefit the wealthy, but because they balance freedom and responsibility.

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