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But I finally found something this morning that expressed a feeling I've been having - and felt guilty about having. Or have been made to feel guilty about having? In any event, let me preface all this by stating, unequivocally, that I am not "anti-green". Not that there necessarily is an "anti-green" movement, but I think you know what I mean... I'm not off to club baby seals over the head, I don't think we should be building cars with lower & lower mpg rates, and I'm not in favor of dumping toxic waste into the oceans. I am, however, in favor of clubbing the next person who brags about how “green” their existence is.

Now, having said that...

I do not currently own a car. It doesn’t make a lot of sense for me to own one right now. If it did, and I was looking for a new one, I would probably be in the market for a hybrid, but mainly for their excellent mileage, and because I don't have a family of my own to cart all over g*d's green earth. (pun - sort of intentional) I do still occasionally drive, and I feel zero guilt when I do. I would pick driving over taking the bus 9 out of 10 times, because let’s face it - if you have to be stuck in traffic, you'd rather not be stuck with 40 strangers in an enclosed space that smells vaguely of fast food, industrial-strength air-freshener, and tidy bowl. My ‘druthers aside, like most people, I take the bus when I have to. Public transportation makes my world go 'round in a big way and I'm fine with that. But I live in the epicenter of the best public transportation system in the world, (I'm completely making that statement up - I have no idea if there's a more complex system out there somewhere, and I’m too engaged in what I'm writing this second to go and look it up. But from personal experience, NYC has the best transit systems going, and the rest of the Northeast corridor does pretty well for itself too) and I don't dare to judge anyone else living outside this glorious radius of convenient public transportation.

I don't buy carbon off-sets. When I first heard of them I thought for sure that someone was pulling a fast one on the eco-conscious elite. (Just think about that for a second... maybe it's just the cynical New Yorker in me but come ON, it sounds suspiciously like a snake oil pitch) I'm happy to say that I was wrong - these offsets appear to be perfectly legit and I get, even respect, what they aim to do. Personally, I think there are charities that deserve my limited funds more, but to each their own, and more power to anyone who chooses to donate to any worthy cause - green, red, purple-polka-dotted or otherwise.

My problem with the big green wave is that it's becoming (or really, has already become) FAD-tastic. The Media is all over it, Madison avenue is all over it, and Hollywood seemingly started it - which makes the whole thing reek of insincerity to begin with. It's an inconvenient truth in a town built for convenience. Hollywood is so full of existential guilt that it cannot function without a cause to anoint, and this is it. And I don't think I'm alone when I say that the advertising campaigns for this holiday season alone make me want to scream "ENOUGH ALREADY!". This whole practice of labeling anything and everything even remotely close to being environmentally-friendly "GREEN" and promoting it as if it might literally be the next messiah ("save the earth!") is nauseating. The air of smug self-righteousness that the movement seems to have developed in the last two years is equally awful.

There is no "saving the earth". One day, the entire planet will be consumed by the sun & that will be it. It would be nice, in the meantime, if we could manage to get along a little better, preserve some quality of life, and manage not to slowly kill off all species entirely before the sun finishes the job. There are things we can all do to encourage our survival as a species. I’m all for recycling, reducing our dependence on oil by making sustainable energies more practical, preserving what’s left of our more “untouched” wilderness, even planting new wildernesses… but nothing we do - (including extinction) is going to stop "global warming". Slow it down? Possibly. Stop it? No. If every human on the earth vanished tomorrow (ala Will Smith's new apocalyptic thriller) the earth would still get warmer. No matter what we do, the weather will get crazier, certain countries and shorelines will end up under water, and then it's going to get really really cold. Elephants will start growing fur coats & the planet will change again. Because that's what it does - and blindly accepting the words of marketing geniuses and kowtowing to the altar of "Green" in order to satisfy some existential crisis and feel somehow universally significant and superior to those who cannot afford the luxury of sustainable living - isn't going to change that.

This hasn’t necessarily been very cohesive, convincing or even coherent for that matter. By now I’m probably coming off like some bitter, raving lunatic. But here is a tidbit from the article that (along with every billboard/store window/news story/magazine feature I’ve been subjected to over the last 6 months) sparked my little rant:

In terms of the great green ledger in the sky, there is no way for most of us to know whether expending the energy to produce 6,000 pounds of shredded paper topiaries is really a “better” choice than just flying in crates of carnations, or whether making tables and chairs out of recycled cardboard makes more sense than just renting them. As Mr. Stark pointed out, what you’re really dealing with are symbols.

James B. Twitchell, a professor of English and advertising at the University of Florida, agrees. “It’s all about symbols and sensation,” said Professor Twitchell, whose many books deal with how marketing shapes a society. “That’s what I find so fascinating about our Prius culture. We know things are wrong. We don’t know what we can do. We can’t know. And so we do what marketers encourage us to do to get those feelings we want to have. We buy the Prius, we recycle at the party, pretty much overlooking the fact that what we know about these objects and these actions comes from their marketing.”