Wednesday, April 22, 2009

My Earth Day Post: We must not avert our eyes

The Management here at The Bicycle Garden interrupt our regularly-scheduled feel-good programming for an important episode of unapologetic spouting-off. This will not be a spout-off in the form of an essay, however. Rather, in the interest of expediency (and our little attention-deficit problem), we will present our rant in numbered and bulleted form:

1) Today is Earth Day. Now, some of you are happy about that and (based on run-ins we've had with a few anti-treehugger soreheads over the years) we know for a fact that some of you are not. Whatever. We don't really feel like getting into a debate over whether we should or should not have a day set aside for the express purpose of celebrating the Earth and touting the many bennies of recycling. Instead, we would like to talk about something markedly less controversial: global warming.

In case you missed our point, here it is again: global warming is not controversial. The evidence that human-driven climate change is upon us is compelling and overwhelming. We don't really understand why it is so hard for some people to accept this, but we suspect it has to do with not really wanting to change the lifestyles to which we have become accustomed.

Listen, The Management doesn't want to change its lifestyle, either. But we are in dire straits right now and the sooner we face up to it, the better. The planet is this really huge ship, see, and it is hard to turn a big ship in a timely manner--and the truth is, The Management thinks we're already too late to avoid the approaching storm. In fact, if we were to let ourselves think about it too long, we'd get all messed up in our heads and depressed, and then The Management would be no good at all in helping to turn the ship. The Management would just be one of those people standing around on deck, sipping a blue cocktail and pretending not to notice the gathering clouds, when what it needs to be is one of the working members of the crew.

The Management thinks the last bit may be another reason people don't want to believe that we have a problem. That is, the implications are so big and scary that it is awfully tempting to dismiss them as media hype. There is a word for this behavior, and that word is denial.

To those still floundering in the denial camp, The Management says: we have no time to waste here, so get over it. We must not avert our eyes from the disaster that approaches. Yes, the storm is big and bad and ugly, and it looks very much like we are going to go down anyway no matter how furiously we bail, but bail we must. We need to stand firm, look trouble square in the face, do what we can, and hope for the best. We must be brave, we must have courage, we must have grit. Let us not speak of fear again. Put on your PFD and grab a bucket.

2) To you who insist on saying that "the theory of global-warming is controversial" simply because it is part of your contrarian nature, we have this to say to you: get off The Management's bus, please. The rest of us have work to do and you are only in the way.

The Management is not going to bother citing the staggering amount of scientific evidence; it is there at the touch of a mouse click, just as the thirteen or so scientists left in the world also in denial can also be found on the interwebs. Citing the scientific evidence, as we have clearly seen, doesn’t seem to change your mind anyway, so let’s just skip it, shall we? We both have better things to do than stand on either side of the ring yelling at each other. You run along and sip your cocktail, and we’ll go try to do our part to save the big ship.

3) To those of you who think that God will save us from this mess we've made of His planet, and therefore it is not necessary to worry about the alarming rate of climate change, we say this: you are free to believe that, but please, get off our bus so we can help Him do his job.

4) To those of you who still believe that God helps those who help themselves: welcome to our bus. The buckets are in the corner.

5) To our friends and colleagues who get all worked up about the nay-sayers: ignore them. We don’t have time to waste trying to change the minds of cocktail-sippers and do-nothing saints. Don’t bother with stunts like chaining yourselves to a tree; in fact, don’t bother with stunts at all. They don’t change the minds of the nay-sayers and they just annoy otherwise reasonable people; as such, stunts are self-indulgent and potentially counter-productive. More importantly, we don’t have time to waste on tree-chaining. We have work to do.

6) Be kind.

To summarize:
  • Global warming: not controversial
  • We must not avert our eyes
  • If you aren’t going to help turn the ship, get off the bus (yes, The Management knows it’s a mixed metaphor)
  • Don’t waste your time arguing with people
  • We have work to do
  • Be kind

Thank you,

The Management.


  1. Excellent post. Goes back again to that "theory of anyway". As in we should take care of the earth anyway...because it's the right thing to do.

  2. Amen! Well said. I'm still laughing at the mixed metaphor... hehehe!

  3. Couldn't agree more! I am always looking for ways to do more to offset my impact on the planet. I could definitely do more but I feel like maybe helping people who aren't doing anything to get started would be good too. How does one go about that without being deemed a treehugging psycho? Seems like we need to help those people do better or we're all doomed, you know? They're on the bus too, for better or worse, sadly. Well, Happy Earth Day, sorry to write sometime depressing!!

  4. I've given up trying to make people see the truth. They just keep pointing to that -15 degrees this winter. It's so much more obvious than the melting ice caps, which people do not experience first hand. We are stewards, we've screwed up, & we need to fix it. It's too bad that most people are stuck in crisis mentality & can only be reactive. I've got my buckets to hand, let's start bailing.

  5. I read, l laughed, I agreed. Also, if you're still suffering from the aj sending you papers, maybe you should send this one in as a letter to the editor. They might discontinue your free subscription. Two birds with one stone.. kind of.

  6. Pamela: yes. Let's do it anyway.

    Nola: Amen, sister!

    Karen: that is the $64,000 question. How do you budge the immovable object? I say this: the bus is moving forward. If they don't won't to get on, then they should at least step out of the way.

    MMD: Amen to you, too!

    Eileen: hmmm, do you think it might work? Could be worth a try. I'm encouraged, though, by some of their recent articles on enviro issues. Shocking to admit it, I know...I might even have to start reading the AJ on a regular basis if they keep this up.

  7. "To you who insist on saying that "the theory of global-warming is controversial" simply because it is part of your contrarian nature, we have this to say to you: get off The Management's bus, please. The rest of us have work to do and you are only in the way."

    Love this!

    And yeah, let's do it anyway. It always shocks me that there are people who won't do the commonsense thing unless you can prove, beyond a shadow of a crazy doubt, that disaster is otherwise imminent. The mental energy that gets expended fighting the facts could be put to much more productive use.

  8. Casey - I think someone has tainted our water with a virus that makes us want to argue pointlessly all the time...and stop short of doing anything worthwhile/productive, yk?

    Susan - Again, this is such a great post. I kept thinking about it last night. Kudos again.

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  10. The Management has removed its own post owing to numerous typos. Here is what we meant to type:

    Pamela and Casey: yes, The Management has decided that arguing bores us and accomplishes nothing, therefore we will not participate in thst pointless exercise anymore. Contrarians are herewith invited to leave the bus.

  11. I'm with you all the way. Where's my bucket?

  12. Brava! Brava! We have already wasted too much time. Great Post! I recommend putting congress on one's auto dial and calling often. I keep trying to share knowledge and ask friends and family to think of each action multiplied by millions. Love your blog.

  13. My daughter-in-law said, "Sustainability - what's there to sustain?" I responded, "Well, if we continue to deny we have a problem there won't be anything to sustain."

    Lead, follow, or get out of the way ! Yeah team! :-D

    Lindy in AZ

    PS - Love your blog :-D

  14. I can see what the ship is . . . what is the bus?


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