February 01, 2007

So here at last is Taki’s way to save the planet without pain. But before we begin, a warning: don’t try doing it all at once. Melting glaciers, violent hurricanes, flash floods, terrible droughts, the threat to polar bears in the shrinking Arctic Sea ice, and the real possibility of fires in the Amazon rainforest cannot be reversed overnight. Certainly not by turning off your engine at a traffic light, the way the wise Swiss people do. (Mind you, it helps.) The trick lies in small domestic savings and not listening to neocons. The unmentionables want us to believe that climate change is liberal propaganda, but unlike WMD in Iraq, climate change is real and very scary. Although Miami and Palm Beach are places I wouldn’t visit even if I were sober, none of us would like to see them capsize under rising water. So here we go.

Lesson number one: we must keep the carbon dioxide emissions at present levels, which means dressing for the weather and turning down the heat five degrees, reducing CO2 emissions by half a ton a year. It’s simple common sense. Why lie round watching TV—which kills your brain and expands your waistline—wearing a bathing suit? Put on a sweater and presto, you have saved half a ton.

Lesson number two: turn off the television when you’re not watching. By this I mean get off your seat and push the button. Don’t click it off, turn it off. It is as simple as that.

Number three: use a gas oven.

Number four: buy local. Purchasing local vegetables saves miles of transport, and transporting goods produces emissions. Elementary, as a certain famous English detective used to say.

Lesson number five: change the way you drive. Never go above 60 miles per hour. This will not only save your life, it will also help save the planet. Driving at 60 mph or below reduces emissions by 30 percent. Even better, drive a diesel. And while you’re at it, force Detroit to become responsible. Gas addiction is an American macho disease. Hummers are for those who are penis-challenged. Hollywood types. As Thomas Friedman wrote, “The more Hummers we have on the road in America, the more military Hummers we will need in the Middle East.” Hummers average 9 miles per gallon. This is why Toyota is worth $199 billion and GM $15 billion.

Lesson number six: force those bums in Washington to find carbon-free choices of power. Back nuclear power, however controversial it may sound or feel. It will cut down emissions by two thirds.

Number seven: use solar and wind power. A rig off Norway traps carbon dioxide, turns it into liquid, and buries it in vast empty spaces beneath the earth’s crust. Wind and solar power may be expensive, but not as expensive as the blood money we pay those camel drivers in Saudi Arabia who pass themselves off as princes while cornering the market in high-class hookers, mega yachts, private planes, and Las Vegas casino gambling.

Lesson number eight: think big, like the aforementioned Norway rig. Technology can work for us and can save our children’s children.

Number nine: wake up and do your part. Every little bit helps, like encouraging tree planting. Next, time a fast-talking real-estate developer comes near, plant one on his kisser and then plant a tree or anything green.

Lesson number ten: don’t waste. Turn off a light in an empty room. I remember the first thing I noticed when I came to America was that no one—except my mother, that is—ever turned off a light. Insulate. Is there anything easier than insulation? It’s cheaper, healthier, and helps save you know what.

In the past, we had an excuse. We dlid not know what we were doing to our planet. Now we do. We can easily reform this by following these simple steps. They are painless and do not change our way of life.

I drive in Switzerland, where drivers are heavily fined for excessive speed and for failing to turn their idling engines off. Some foreigners complain. Too bad. Tiny Switzerland is doing her part. Do yours and you will one day be able to tell your grandchildren that you played a part in not dooming them. The purpose of human life is not only to make money and to have a bigger car than the next person. Mass production of junk is a bigger threat than al-Qaeda and twice as destructive. Think small, take your business to local, family-run businesses, try not to pollute. And don’t forget to plant a right cross on real-estate sharks, neocons, and any corporate type who tries to tell you this is a left-wing conspiracy.

The American Conservative,
July 17, 2006


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