Friday 02 Dec 2016

Carbon Date this Footprint
Jennifer Flaten

Are you as sick of hearing about your carbon footprint as I am? Those two little words annoy me so. They annoy me so much, that the next person who tells me that I could reduce my carbon footprint by changing the brand of toilet paper that I use, will get a size 7 footprint on their ass.

Before you pelt me with rotten tomatoes and other composting items; let me say that, I believe in recycling. I just find the phrase carbon footprint annoying and pretentious. According to Wikipedia the phrase was designed to be a "measure of the impact human activities have on the environment -in terms of the amount of greenhouse gases produced, measured in units of carbon dioxide".

Simply put, a carbon footprint is supposed to be a way for individuals and corporations to understand their impact on global warming. Instead, it has turned into an overused, hackneyed phrase tossed around by environmentalists and enviro-wannabs with impunity.

I am specifically thinking about the environ-wannab, who corners you in the elevator to tell you the carbon footprint of your breakfast muffin. Yes, that guy will try to convince you that your little breakfast treat can single handedly wipe out the rain forest. Good Grief! We all know industrialization, over processing and chemicals have lead to problems with the environment. So stop badgering me about my snack!

To fix our environmental problems once and for all it is going to take something big. Really big. So, let's agree that bandying about trite phrases such as; carbon footprint and jumping on the green bandwagon by purchasing a T-shirt that is emblazoned with the slogan, "This White T is Green" will not reverse global warming. Not even if every single person on earth buys one.

I will try to break this to you as gently as possible, if you buy said T-shirt you are simply making green a fashion statement. Not saving the earth. The same applies to those of you who bought a canvas bag emblazoned with the local grocery stores slogan. Nice try, but remember some factory, some where produced those big, canvas bags.

To all you enviro-wannabs, here is something to think about. While you were standing in line to receive the latest Apple iPhone; did you ever consider the fact that you are standing in line to replace a perfectly good piece of equipment with a new one, simply because the new one is "cooler". Even if you turned your old phone into a reclamation program, you are still disposing of an item for absolutely no reason except vanity.

On big bump along the way to improving our environment, is recycling. Society as a whole just can't seem to commit to recycling. The problem with recycling is; we want it to be easy (and I include myself in this statement). We want the every part of recycling to be as easy as sorting paper and plastic. which let's face it is a no brainer. Why even little kids can do it.

Recycling paper and plastic is easy. Then you get to the bigger items. Then it becomes a little harder to recycle them. Throw in the fact, that we want to replace perfectly good objects before their time and you have a huge, overflowing landfill.

While we want to be environmentally friendly, our spend, spend, spend culture tells use to get a new sofa, because we want one. Not because we need one. Sure, we should recycle the old one. Yet, doing that can be hard, and we don't want hard, we want easy. Add in the fact, we have been brainwashed to think that once it is old to us, no one else will want it, and you begin to understand why stuff ends up in the garbage.

Here are the options for that old sofa. Sell it yourself, which is inviting strangers into your home, or donating it to a Goodwill type organization. Gee, inviting strangers into your home, not such a keen idea. That leaves the donation part. Unfortunately, donating takes a little effort. You have to call to schedule the pickup or haul it yourself to the recycling center. No, it is just so much easier to haul to the curb for the trash man.

Here lies the crux of the recycling problem. It is our inability to invent some sleek, easy way to recycle our goods. The average citizen does care about the environment and does want to protect it, they just don't want to be put out doing it.

We all know a few recycling nuts. You know the ones who tend to take things a little bit too far, if you know what I mean. They are the ones that recycle everything. Recently, I read an article about an uber-recycling couple. This couple was extremely proud of their garbage bucket. Their garbage bucket that the kept on the counter, their garbage bucket that they threw every single scrap of everything into all day, everyday. Then eventually they would trundled it out back to the composting heap. Can I get an EWWWW?

Admit it, this type of lifestyle is just not for everyone. Yes, I know the uber-recyclers will tell you that you are weak for not wanting to live in a house with a bucket of fermenting garbage on the corner. So be it.

Come on, you can't tell me that we advanced through all these years of industrial revolution so that we could go back to garbage piled up in the yard? We send men to the moon! Why can't we do something innovative and efficient with our trash? We certainly should not have to go back in time to when people showered little and lived in filth to save the planet. We need to find that happy medium between wastefulness and complete weirdness.

Jennifer Flaten lives where the local delicacy is fried cheese, Wisconsin. She writes about family life, its amusing or not so amusing moments. "At least it's not another article on global warming," she says. Jennifer bakes a mean banana bread and admits an unusual attraction to balloon animals and cup cakes. Busy preparing for the zombie apocalypse, she stills finds time to write "As I See It," her witty, too often true column. "My urge to write," says Jennifer, "is driven by my love of cupcakes, with sprinkles on top. Who wouldn't write for cupcakes, with sprinkles," she wonders.

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