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Friday, April 20, 2007

Fuck Earth Day

posted by on April 20 at 10:16 AM

This Sunday should be “the last Earth Day,” says Alex Steffen* of WorldChanging, the ordinarily sunny-side-up sustainability web site. His argument: Earth Day accomplishes virtually nothing, and lulls us into a sense of complacency about the very large, very real changes we need to be making in our everyday lives:

The biggest problem with Earth Day is that it has become a ritual of sympathy for the idea of environmental sanity. Small steps, we’re told, ignoring the fact that most of the steps most frequently promoted (returning your bottles, bringing your own bag, turning off the water while you brush your teeth) are of such minor impact (compared to our ecological footprints) that they are essentially meaningless without larger, systemic action as well. The strategy of recycling as a gateway drug — get them hooked on it and we can move them on to harder stuff — has failed miserably. We can do better.

[…] What may be worse is the recent plethora of “green issues,” “green guides” and special Earth Day sections that have blanketed our media. A decade ago, we would have been excited to see green ideas (even lame ones) given such prominent play, but these days, such editorial eco-ghettos strike us more as an admission of skewed priorities, with ecological sanity presented as a product feature, like a well-designed cupholder, rather than as a fundamental strategy for avoiding widespread collapse.

Much more, including ideas for what you can do to make more than a symbolic difference, here.

*AKA my significant other, hence the conflict-of-interest tag.

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What good does it do to have one day a year that is for the planet? And remember to count the number of SUV's that are out on Sunday with no passengers.

We are SOOOO screwed with the shit that is coming our way in environmental destruction.

Posted by Just Me | April 20, 2007 10:25 AM

tis more important to make a symbolic difference than a real difference,
thanks erica

Posted by Confuseus | April 20, 2007 10:33 AM

This is the only environmental website (other than Clark Williams-Derry's) that makes any sense at all. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Posted by Grant Cogswell | April 20, 2007 10:43 AM

Keep promoting veal and bacon-wrapped hot dogs, baby!

Posted by DOUG. | April 20, 2007 10:45 AM

I was getting depressed about Earth Day, because it just seems so worthless and pointless. Now I know why: it is!

Thanks for posting this. I actually feel inspired. What a weird emotion to get from Slog.

Posted by Buck | April 20, 2007 10:54 AM

DOUG.: Keep promoting veal and bacon-wrapped hot dogs, baby!

DOUG. You beat me to it. Erica comes as a self-satisfied hypocrite for being having a holier-than-thou, puritanical attitude about cars and an "isn't this a cute, little joke?" attitude about meat.

I read recently -- I don't know where -- that Americans' eating habits contribute as much to global warming as Americans' transportation habits. The fundamental reason is that animal consumption requires eight or 10 times as much crops as cutting the middleman (the animal) and eating the crops directly. Forests -- the lungs of our planet, our planet's first line of defense against global warming -- get torn down to produce grazing land for cattle. And industrialized agriculture is fuel-intensive.

The imbalance we're encountering today isn't so much about how livestock get raised, though, as it is the simple fact that there are so many humans on the planet and, worse, so many humans are eating animals at grossly unprecedented levels. Humans evolved eating meat (that's why we have canine teeth), but until the advent of industrialized agriculture meat has been a luxury.

Now, am I saying that everyone should become a vegetarian or even a vegan? Not anymore than I'm saying people should ditch their cars. There's a huge difference between eating meat two or three times a day and once a day, just as there's a huge difference between driving everywhere and driving just some places.

Posted by cressona | April 20, 2007 11:35 AM

Get this: Outside Westlake Center they have an Earth Day Expo going on. There are a bunch of little kids there who are getting one message driven into their heads. BUY BUY BUY!!! Fighting the destruction of the environment via SHOPPING!!! God I hate America....

Posted by Just Me | April 20, 2007 11:54 AM
Posted by Dan | April 20, 2007 12:17 PM

The great thing about the Earth Day Expo at Westlake is that there's a Starbucks tent giving out little caramel something lattes. Because lattes come from the earth.

Although there is a Smart Car down there, too. People say it feels much bigger from the inside.

Posted by MvB | April 20, 2007 1:50 PM

If we got rid of everything that "accomplishes virtually nothing," we wouldn't have blogs on which to post rants like this.

Posted by J.R. | April 20, 2007 2:15 PM

So, are Alex and Erica really making the argument that Earth Day is counterproductive? It is bad that the media publishes green guides?

Of course Earth Day has become less radical over the years and has been co-opted by big business. So fucking what. Unless you can convince me that Earth Day actually reduces people's willingness to think environmentally, I think you are just being cynical so you can look down on those American idiots who simply recycle. Attacking naive people who try to do the little things is at least as counterproductive to real environmental change as Earth Day.

I know it is easy to be discouraged at the lack of real change, but Alex and Erica simply make an argument without any evidence.

Posted by tiptoe tommy | April 20, 2007 8:16 PM

The whole thing is a bunch of bs. The only way to abate the growing damage to the biosphere is to depopulate the earth. Unfortunately, this is exactly what our perverted Illuminist leaders are planning.

Posted by anon | April 22, 2007 2:59 AM

If the only benefit of "Earth Day" is to bring curbside recycling, planet saving, SUV driving,IV Starbucks users out of their cushy "the outdoors are for animals" fog, I mean lives to work on a trail or pick up garbage (probably their own)then so be it. Maybe they meet someone who inspires a change, stop whining and get out there and teach some monkeys to use tools.

Posted by Phoenix's mom | April 22, 2007 8:35 AM

Fuck earth day. You fucking hippies.

Posted by Troll | April 22, 2007 2:37 PM

and up jumped the swagman and sprang into the billabong while watching how his penis patches got wet at

Posted by penis patches | April 30, 2007 11:40 AM

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