Ever have one of those days where you hate the environment? OK, maybe not hate it, but at least resent it?
Surely, you’ve been waiting on a train platform, or for a bus in mid-February and thought global warming might not be so bad.
Ever get sick of those environmentalists, constantly nagging you to recycle your dental floss and put on a thicker sweater? You know the ones — they’re on the radio and in the newspaper. Ironically, we get sick of them, too.
So, instead of the usual article trying to describe an environmental issue, or suggest ways you might tread more gently, we’ll use this space to admit it can all be kind of annoying from time to time. Maybe it’s even healthy to get it out.
Our latest big “green bill” was a small fortune for insulated blinds to reduce drafts. Next on the list is an in-line water heater, which is more efficient, and, of course, more expensive than a conventional tank heater. Then there are the compact fluorescents at $8 a pop. We never thought to count the lights before we bought the house. The thing is, we do care about the environment, but it feels like we’re putting it through university.
Maybe comparing it to a university student is saying it wrong. A friend had a pet turtle once that he lavished great affection on, but the turtle never made a great and loyal pet. It was no dog. Sometimes it feels like that with the environment. We do our best by it, but the best return we can hope for is less bad weather and maybe some clean water and air. It’s no sloppy dog kiss.
Maybe another way to think of it is as a little brother. It follows you everywhere, you can’t shake it, and your mom tells you to look after it. Somehow, it has become your responsibility. Annoying and pesky, that environment.
But we think a better metaphor is a friend, maybe a distant one we don’t see or think about often. We still care, but we’re a bit out of touch. The thing is, if you heard such a friend was sick, you’d want to help, but probably wouldn’t go to heroic lengths to nurse it back to health. It might be different if you were closer, or knew them a little better. That’s the relationship many of us have with the natural world.
As we head into the holiday season, many of us will have a little time to catch our breath.
Rather than haranguing you to re-use last year’s wreath and buy organic eggnog, we would just like to invite you to become reacquainted. Go for a walk in a park and see how spectacular the natural world can be, even in the relative bleakness of winter. After all, this is a time to reconnect with family and old friends. We’ll have plenty of time to hassle you in the new year.