Friday, November 02, 2007

Step It Up 2 'Morrow

I'm on the e-mail lists of a bunch of organizations which would prefer we didn't cook the planet.

This week, besides my daily cute-but-often-petty "Green Tip" from the Sierra Club, it's been reminders from Bill McKibben and Al Gore and the movers and shakers at Step It Up ( that Step It Up 2 is happening 2'morrow. There are dozens, scores, hundreds, maybe THOUSANDS!!! of events large and small happening all over the country to get us jazzed and inspired and moving about global warming. Some will be coffee clutches in suburbia. Some will be university-hosted, like the event closest to me on the lovely campus of Trinity University in San Antonio, 68 miles away.

Maybe it's time to step up the calls to our elected officials and do less driving to rallies. What more do we really need to know? Frankly, most of us who have ever attended a "green" rally of any sort know enough already to act. What are we going to do? Drive 68 miles and hit the big stores and a movie, too, to say it was a worthwhile 150 mile day? To show how "practical" we are?

And therein lies the rub. Sooner or later, we're going to have to stop gathering and really get going on global warming, which of course means GOING LESS. The best thing to do for global warming is to stay home (or very close to home) and take a walk or a bike ride. And not drive for a day or even a weekend, yep, a whole weekend. It's not so much that Americans are great travelers; our epic treks are few and far between. We are not often on the DIQ, the Deep Immersion Quest. But we sure do like to keep moving. We are "get there" kind of people, get there home bodies, really. Piddle at home, run the house ragged in fact, then jump in the car for the slightest thing. I've done this plenty myself. Sometimes, I've got cabin fever so badly it seems it could be fatal. At home, I can pace like a leopard in a cage at the zoo. I start to glaze over. There is a big world out there. But do we tend to go grab on to the Big World? No, we often settle for going to some other cage, like a big box store, to wander the aisles in a daze not too dissimilar from the daze we left at home. We make the stores our homes away from home. We prowl the neighborhood, meaning the SALES. That's the territory for most Americans.

Well, that all adds up to a cooked planet. I don't think it is reasonable to think (make that "believe") that we will be able to keep this up AND have a healthy planet. So-called "green" goods will never be the whole answer, not even close. Less really does mean more: less stuff means more health, often for ourselves but definitely for the planet. Just think of the horrible pollution China is churning out to make stuff as fast as they can for us to buy as fast as we can. And their Pacific Ocean is our Pacific Ocean. Their air is our air. We buy the legacy of (and often ingest) the pollution along with the products.

And so maybe the best thing to do for Step It Up 2 Day is to do some real treading lightly. Fix a fresh salad and read a book. Or ride a bike.


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