Monday, August 30, 2010

Green but not really

In this ever changing climate (double meaning) there appears to be an even divide between those who wish to help the environment and those that don't. The media exacerbates this further by presenting the two most radical sides. You're either hugging trees or chopping them down to build dolphin killing factories.

Why don't we ever hear about the middle of the road people? Are we that boring? Are we contradicting ourselves by remaining neutral? I believe it's possible to do your part and taking a seat is sometimes better than standing up for what you believe. Allow me to explain.

Meet Appleseed (real name: Mike Johnson)
Appleseed is a well meaning hippie who loves dividing his time between flipping off people in suits while protesting and looking through the garbage for "mostly good" fruits and vegetables. After two decades of family trips to Disney World and 5 years at UCLA he decided to sell the Toyota Camry his parents bought him so he could buy a bicycle, a Mac, and an iPhone. He spent the leftover cash on a plane ticket to Washington DC to see Obama sworn in as President. A transcript of his daily conversations reveals words and phrases like "mother Earth," "climate data," and "can you spare a few bucks?" He's viewed by his polar opposites as a freeloader that would rather complain about people not caring about the world instead of getting a job and making a real difference. They're mostly right. He's a douche bag.

Meet Alan Parsons (real name: Freedom)
Alan is a successful Republican who divides his time between working playing golf. After two decades of communal living with hippies Alan escaped and went to business school. After a few years of paying his dues he's finally making a hefty salary and is able to trade up from his pickup truck to BMW. His job provided him with a nice HP laptop. He voted for McCain but has pretty much forgotten about it since all he can think about is how much he hates Obama. A transcript of his daily conversations reveals words and phrases like "tee time," "Vegas baby," and "Vegas baby." He's viewed by his polar opposites as a stuck up consumer that would rather golf and smoke cigars instead of helping his fellow man and protecting nature. They're mostly right. He's also a douche bag.

Then there's me. Where do I fit in? Would I rather help the planet or destroy it? To be perfectly honest I really don't care. I'm certain that to a point it would appear that I'm buddies with Alan. I live in a 3300 sq ft house, drive a 4500lb "SUV," use a PC, and typically vacation at Disneyland and Disney World which are two beacons for consumers. I believe global warming is naturally occurring and I support any war that keeps our oil interests secure. I typically vote Republican and I water my lawn religiously. I eat meat and give the finger to protestors. I would never consider composting. It seems pretty cut and dry to most people.

Upon closer inspection you may notice a few tidbits that even things out. That gigantic "SUV" is really a large station wagon that gets almost 30mpg. I telecommute which not only saves me money but also reduces the amount of C02 I put into the air. I keep my desk near a window so I can work using daylight rather than consume more electricity. When budget allows I'll be switching from a desktop to a laptop for all of my work. Our large home is energy star certified. Every light bulb used in our house is an energy saver as is our appliances. I'll admit I use a lot of water to keep my yard looking nice but I don't water any more than I need to. I run my hoses on timers and waste as little water as possible. I'll be adding some rain barrels to store water that can be used to irrigate my plants. My wife and I plan our shopping so it can all be done at the same time which reduces the need to make extra trips. We cook most of our meals using natural gas or propane.

When it's all laid out like that it's clear I have green tendencies but really I'm all about saving a buck. It's a little selfish but it's also good for the environment. The only difference between truly "Green" people and myself is that I don't set out to help the environment. It's merely a byproduct of my desire to pocket as much of what I make as possible. Maybe that makes me a douche bag. This is about as far as I'll go towards making a stand for what I believe in.

I think if more people would straddle the fence we'd all get along better.


  1. This may be my favorite entry so far! I don't think you're a douche bag at all.

  2. I don't think you're douchey either.

    You do more than most people would. And at least you're concious of the environments situation.

    Matt and I are probably more green than most people around here but compared to a lot of folks in California we're probably horrible. We didn't replace our bulbs when we moved into our house with energy savers but when a bulb goes out when replace it with an energy saving light. We drive a car that's very good on gas for a non-hybrid. We are vegetarians, which, from what I understand is good for the environment. We recycle and try to reuse almost anything that we can.

    I'd much rather see people that are middle of the road than totally ignorant... like most people that live around me.